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Evolving Progression – From Cell Phones to Intelligence-Enhanced Chatbots

Advancing from Text Messaging to Intelligent Chatbots and Other Futuristic Experiences

It is strange that when we started SMS service in my home state couple of decades back with a telecom operator I worked with – we had to jog our grey cells to get all our collective thoughts on how we could make the customer use this service and how we can generate revenues from it! Remember, voice rates were astronomical then.

Moving with the present times when global businesses are getting fast-paced due to the Covid stimulant, we look back and realize that we have come a long way from that meeting when we stimulated our brain cells.

It is evident that the rise of chat was organic, and the next progressive wave would include automation of this interaction.  We are in the right time and space to embark on this next step for textual communication. Statistics also agree with the prospects.

  • 50% of enterprises will spend more on chatbot creation by 2021 than on traditional mobile app development (Gartner)
  • 63% of customers would consider messaging an online chatbot to communicate with a business or brand (Mindshare)
  • 95% of consumers believe that ‘customer service’ will benefit the most from chatbots (Drift)

 

However, we have run into something critical for relevant stakeholders involved to recognize, address and overcome:

  1. In one of my conversations with a traditional mobile app developer on chatbots – the developer mentioned that the bots still have a long way to sound humanlike. This one attribute/current shortcoming makes them the least feasible for the next level of chosen interaction. 40% of first-generation chatbot/virtual assistant applications launched in 2018 are in the process of being abandoned by 2020, further confirms this fact.
  2. Machine Learning still needs comprehensive learning – assisted by humans to reach their potential. How do the spoken words, phrases, sentences, concepts, etc. relate to each other still needs to be learned by machines
  3. Addressing divergent linguistic requirements is critical in this converging world of a global village. All these complex scenarios create a challenging atmosphere for the evolution of chatbots. Inability to reuse assets of one language with another limits further growth of this service.
  4. Digital regulations are coming in thick and fast – and rightly so to protect the end-user.  But these constant changes will keep the bots getting frequent updates and newer revisions.  Adapting to every change and satisfying customer interaction will be a closely watched phenomenon.

 

However, all the above are not obstacles in themselves to the rampaging mode of chatbots. End-customers are constantly improvising and improving their way of communicating when in chat mode. COVID has evangelized the requirements of communicating well, without being in physical contact or face-to-face speaking, conversations based on availability, security and multi-tasking, etc.

Gen Y/Gen Z emote extremely well on textual conversations.  They can validate and express themselves persuasively in a non-voice environment. This is a target segment that will quickly be joining the working class in full force and a solution is crucial to address these shortcomings rapidly to service these new generations of netizens.

But there are a few exceptional situations where chatbots might be a doubtful option. These include:

  • Emotionally charged interactions which might prompt unexpected human responses
  • Continual ongoing learning and upgradation of bits is a must for best results
  • Complex business models might face challenges in utilizing chatbots
  • Chatbots and human interactions must integrate for providing an optimal resolution

These above-specified exceptions need to be handled carefully using the latest technology and intelligent automation. Platform or interaction developers will learn from experienced interactions to overcome the above considerations and move more vitally towards adaptability in 2021.

While conversational AI and chatbots keep enhancing their capabilities, thanks to the progressive technology wonders,  AI systems that can leverage multimodal interfaces to get the best response from each for an effective resolution, emotion-sensing AI in chatbots and virtual assistants are eagerly awaited, as well. The next leap in chatbots would be to develop services that mimic and aid in live trials and help get accurate customer success measurements for better foresight and predictability to help businesses test the impact of situations and visualize what the future would be morphing into.

Soon, all of us – young, old and tech-savvy will be able to adapt to chatbots, accept them as a way of life, and visualize them as the means to get to the final solution that will revolutionize things for a safer and better tomorrow.

 

About the Author

Sai Subramaniam

Sai Subramaniam

Sai heads the Customer Experience Solutions and Contact Center Transformation at Business Process Services. He brings more than 18 years of industry expertise and is passionate about futuristic technology innovations in the customer experience space. Sai oversees various strategies for enhancing Hexaware’s customer experience and keeps analyzing the best techniques to deliver optimal service to the end customer.

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