Which industry benefits the most from using a chatbot?
Billions of people around the world use at least one, if not two or even more, messaging platform to communicate. That, in brief, has created an excellent opportunity for companies to interact with their customers through chatbots that operate on these platforms.
Different industries have experimented with chatbots, to varying degrees of success. The idea of conducting business through a series of instant messages with an AI chatbot does not occur naturally to business owners in every industry at the beginning. Yet chatbots have proved to possess a real potential to transform user experience beyond what those industries can currently offer.
So which industry has the most promising prospect for chatbot adoption?
One of the most successful out of those experienced with chatbots so far is the food service industry. In particular, pizza companies are one of the first few who implemented chatbot technology, because who doesn’t want to order pizza at 2 am from a bot?
Domino’s, which has more than half its orders placed through digital channels and generated nearly 5 billion dollars a year from them, is one of the first major brands to launch a chatbot on their Facebook Messenger. Its chatbot is integrated with Easy Order feature, allowing Domino customers to order their favorite pizza with a click or command.
The success of chatbots like Domino’s reflects the fact that food order is usually a simple, predictable process that can be reliably performed without the need for human intervention. Although many factors contribute to the viability of chatbots, the complexity (or lack thereof) and the predictability of interactions are probably considered to be the essential components in these areas.
One of the sectors most affected by digital disruption is finance and many companies are embracing technology as they seek to reconstruct how they interact with their customers. Chatbot is one of the developing technologies that companies in this industry are turning to. In fact, according to Samsung, more than 50% of financial services companies are working on a chatbot project.
ING Direct is one of those companies. Later this year, the company plans to launch a chatbot for multiple platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, and Google Assistant. “The ability to talk to customers is what we call the dialogue bank. That is the next stage we find ourselves going down,” ING Direct information officer Ani Paul told The Sydney Morning Herald.
Customers using the company’s chatbots will be able to perform tasks such as checking account balances, transferring funds to other accounts and alerting banks of lost credit or debit cards.
Thanks to improved natural language processing technology, Paul says that the ING Direct chatbots will be able to communicate with customers in more natural ways. For example, not only will the chatbots be able to answer questions like “How much money do I have in my account?” They will also be able to deal with questions like “Did I break yet?”
More and more airlines are using chatbots to help their customers answer frequently asked questions and get the necessary information about their flights. For example, last year Aeroméxico released a Facebook Messenger chatbot that helps airlines serve 1,000 customers a day at lower costs than two employees typically handle such requests.
As Brian Sumers of Skift explained, Aeromexico’s chatbot is backed by an “artificial intelligence” with 500 popular questions, selected from Facebook, Twitter and the telephone transcript. 500 appears to be a small figure, but in fact 80% of leaflets ask the same question. It is hoped that as technology improves, it may someday be able to more complex process requests such as flight changes.
According to a study published by the Pew Research Center, 67% of US adults receive some of their news from social media, and 20% regularly turn to social media to find out what is happening around the world. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that news organizations have shown an interest in developing news-focused chatbots for social messaging platforms.
One of those organizations, CNN, has developed chatbots for Facebook Messenger, Kik, and LINE. Alex Wellen, CNN’s senior vice president and product manager, believes chatbots have a very bright future and say that his company is “aggressive” in adopting chatbots as a result. Instead of using chatbots to merely distribute individual breaking headlines or links to articles, CNN is creating new types of interactive experiences. For example, on Facebook Messenger, users can ask questions about CNN’s chatbot for news and on Kik, they can “experience news in a ‘select-to-adventure’ format.”
“It’s still early days, but we believe chatbots will ultimately have a profound impact on our digital lives,” he explained. “This technology allows both the intimacy of a one-to-one conversation as well as the mechanism for broadcasting a significant message on a large scale.”
There’s a growing number of chatbots that help consumers cope with health problems, such as a chatbot is run by HealthTap called Digital Health Boot. It was launched initially as a service focused on Q&A but now also offers self-billing feature. Through the chatbot HealthTap on Facebook Messenger, individuals can ask health questions and get answers based on HealthTap’s expanded Q&A database.
For those in need of additional support, HealthTap’s chatbot is available to distribute questions to the network of more than 100,000 physicians who can provide feedback via Facebook Messenger.
Although the use of chatbots in healthcare increases privacy and safety concerns, all indications are that chatbots can play an essential role for a lot of interactions, especially early diagnosis.
As mentioned at the beginning, chatbots did not work in every industry, at least not in their current form. But in what they do, they have the potential to revolutionize the way we interact with everyday services such as healthcare, banking, and communications, in ways that brands will do well to continue.