17 December 2018

Chatbot Summit, Berlin, 2018.

By: Charlotte Houston

Geomant colleagues; Jimmy Lee, Peter Hóbor and Gustavo E. Perez, joined thousands of others last month in attendance at the world’s leading Chatbot event series, the ‘Chatbot Summit’. Below they summarise the key takeaways of the conference.

 

Highlighted topics: Real-life chatbot deployments, voice assistants, messaging, customer experience innovation, customer service automation, natural language processing and conversational A.I.

 

The Chatbot’s position within the Hype Cycle

A main topic of the event was the Chatbot’s position within the Hype Cycle; the Hype Cycle is a tool that helps CIOs and IT leaders trace essential trends and innovations to determine scope, state, value and risk in their AI plans. The stages of the lifecycle range from ‘Innovation Trigger’ an early proof-of-concept stage, right through to what’s deemed as the end of the technology lifecycle, the ‘Plateau of Productivity’ stage. According to Gartner, the Chatbot is just beginning the climb of the ‘slope of enlightenment’ or the ‘early adoption’ phase as it’s more commonly known. We’re starting to see more instances of how the technology can benefit businesses such as 24/7 on-demand self-service, and its uses are beginning to become more widely understood.

 

Conversational AI

An interesting thought from the event was that conversational AI (the type of AI that simulates human conversation via text or audio messages) is transforming the customer experience. This thought is shared by many it seems, a recent article by Andy Peart even describes AI as having ‘reignited the customer experience with increased engagement, personalised customer service and improved customer satisfaction’. It’s clear that the Chatbot industry has come on leaps and bounds in this area. However, a speaker at the event touched on the fact that we’re still not quite as advanced as what you see in Sci-Fi films, so we need to manage expectations carefully.

 

Demonstrations

Booking.com were at the event. They demonstrated their virtual assistant which was an excellent example of how AI / Chatbots can work as a post-transaction assistant to provide enhanced user experience. The bot helps with things like adding extras to the room booking etc.

 

The Chatbot market

Another interesting thought and one that we agree with is that Chatbot alone is not a large enough market to manage as a standalone channel, it should be an integrated part of the contact centre. It should be combined with an orchestration layer that can manage and blend the various channels. We need future-proof, channel agnostic communications - other channels may come as quickly as the bot arrived and who knows what will be next. What we do know is the Chatbot cannot ‘live’ alone, human touch must be part of the solution.

 

Challenges

There was an interesting panel discussion between business leaders who named enterprise-grade adaption as the biggest challenge in the industry. Chatbots must be able to adapt on an enterprise-grade level as part of the architecture to provide real integrated business value with customer-specific content, self-service and customisation.

 

Uses – providing real value

Finally, another important message from the event was that we need to be careful not to create a yet another “bad IVR experience” that 90% of customers hate. The Chatbot must provide real value to the end customers and should not be seen as a tool to keep them away from human agents. Fergus Kelly,
Managing Director at Capstone has some interesting thought on this in a recent article ‘Contact centre AI: why automation can’t outsmart the human touch.’

 

Geomant & Buzzeasy

Geomant recently developed Buzzeasy, a new orchestration platform that provides real value to clients by adding autonomous CX services to their existing contact centre - without the need to rip-and-replace. The team were really pleased to see that Buzzeasy and its ethos fits perfectly with key trends and messages from the event. To find out more about Buzzeasy visit www.buzzeasy.com.

 

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