or how I let the robot into my customer’s lives

Bots are not new. Short for robots, they are essentially small software applications which run automated tasks on the Internet. However over the last few years with the proliferation of mobile assistants like Siri, Ok Google, Watson and Alexa, the world has changed for Bots.

A bot today is an intelligent system which can be trained to understand natural language inputs from users. Supported by systems like web chat, Facebook Messenger, and even traditional systems like SMS, applications can be written which interact with these bots.

Most systems and businesses today are looking at bots as an ideal supplement for their support systems, intelligently offering means to have simple clever conversations with a mobile user who is naturally inclined to chat. Well-developed systems not only take care of providing basic answers, but they can be programmed for the right point in time to direct the user to a human responder.

Supplementing the contact centre with AI powered bots is not only about cost reduction. It allows better customer service as agents are freed from mundane repsonses. It helps run a greener contact centre as some of the costs associated with running a large 24×7 operation can be reduced. Teams can be provided with a better work life balance as well.

However, most bots currently running today / in development miss out on one important aspect of interaction which is possibly the most important – voice. Yes, there are voice-based assistants currently available – Siri, Alexa, Cortana and developing for them is possible, by adding a skill or an app. Interacting with these methods, still has a problem that an app has to be installed, a skill has to be added before a person can interact with the company’s systems.

The holy grail therefore for voice is being able to dial in to a toll-free number and have a well-developed AI answer the call. The thing is – these services can actually be built today, by integrating voice to text and text to speech responses, systems can be built which have a simple and basic conversation with customers using natural language as the medium. The opportunities for contact centres are endless. Specially trained bots can do first contact with customers to understand and confirm intent, before transferring calls to specially trained closers.

It’s a great time to be a bot.