Anyone who has seen the film 101 Dalmatians will remember one of the opening scenes, in which Pongo’s master has fun noting the resemblances between masters and their four-legged friends in the street.
This is the distant memory that comes to mind when we read, through slightly clenched teeth, the wild imaginings surrounding the wonderful industry we devote our time to here at Do You Dream Up, otherwise known as “chatbots”. As though there were no particular resemblances between a chatbot and its master!
Amongst those commenting on the arrival of chatbots, 3 schools of thought can actually be observed:
- The first wants to know what a “chatbot” is. This is one of the easier ones to answer. A chatbot is a “conversational agent”, a contraction of “chat” (as in a conversation) and the “bot” from “robot”. Our chatbots are particularly useful for maintaining relationships with clients, employees, partners… basically anyone who visits your website or app.
- The second denounce the supposed link between chatbots and Artificial Intelligence (AI) and criticises left, right and centre the “idiotic” nature of chatbots. chatbots are in constant demand since, according to Gartner, a customer will manage 85% of the relationship with a business without interacting with humans by 2020. This school of thought therefore aims to dispel those looking to take advantage of the buzz. And indeed, there’s quite a buzz around chatbots. Everyone seems to want one. We won’t slip into systematic criticism. Chatbots resemble those who create them.
- The third school of thought sees chatbots as the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, coming after our economy, jobs and even the human race itself… There are a lot of doomsayers of this kind amongst consultants. Which is normal, identifying a problem is part of a consultant’s job. Fixing it, is ours.
So, how about we take things down a notch?
Chatbots are very clever and are becoming even more so, but they are also our creations. Since Mary Shelley and Frankenstein, a whole body of literature has devoted itself to convincing us that man creates and gives life to ideas that will ultimately destroy him. In our daily lives as modest and enduring innovators, our one hundred or so clients in France and elsewhere, work hard to give their customers, partners or employees a chatbot able to perform the services the user expects of them.
A few examples:
- The “coach” chatbot can help an employee in their first steps when thinking about career mobility. The “coach” chatbot is not a coach, but it helps the user to ask themselves the right questions.
- The “legal” chatbot can help teams to finalise or analyse the clauses of a contract. The “legal” chatbot is not a lawyer, but it can unload a great amount of excess work in the form of frequently asked questions, thus allowing legal departments to concentrate on projects to which they bring added value.
- The “IT” chatbot is the one you turn to when you forget your password to turn on your computer. The advantage of a chatbot, is that it’s available day and night. It will even interact with you more and more if it can ascertain whether you are panicking, angry or just in a spot of bother. And if your problem was to be more substantial, it would hand you over to a competent computer specialist, along with their specific skillsets, rather than face the dispositions of distracted or even dishonest users all the livelong day.
- The “HR” chatbot is not a Human Resources manager, but it will be able to tell you how to apply for leave, and even do this for you, without you needing to know the procedure by heart. In short, a chatbot can be a diligent and efficient assistant.
All these examples illustrate some of the good reasons organisations, whether public or private, and of course brands, create chatbots. We live in a world of increasingly intense, fast and borderless services and interactions. Chatbots can be resistant, quick and without borders, as long as the organisations or brands creating them carefully consider their content strategy, right from their implementation. Afterall, there’s no salvation without content!