The world of Bots

We are starting to see the real-world application of artificial intelligence and in particular Bots becoming more common in the business world.  Often when meeting with our clients the conversation turns to Bots and what and how can they help businesses.

In fact, according to Gartner’s top 10 near-term predictions for technology By 2020, “the average person will have more conversations with bots than with their spouse”.

Increasingly we are interacting with bots in digital experiences, and more of these interactions are happening with voice rather than a traditional keyboard.  This shift to voice means it is predicted that in four years, 30% of web browsing sessions will be done without a screen. Users of Amazon’s Alexa voice service, which comes with its Echo device, are already doing this.

In this blog we will explore what Bots are and talk about some of the use cases that we are seeing for Bots.  In our next Bot blog we will discuss a Bot that we have created at Altis to run on our internal systems, some of our lessons learnt and explore the work we are doing with Bots for our clients.

What are Bots?

  • “Bot” is a generalised term used to describe any software that automates a task.
  • The most commonly discussed is the Chatbots, used to automate conversations, at least the beginning stages of the conversation.
  • Essentially Bots are about opening new opportunities to better engage with your clients/citizens and improve the client/citizen experience

Aim for specific scoped bots

There are potentially many use cases for Bots, but not every business needs one necessarily. We’ve been looking at two main types of Bots:

  • Question & Answer type
    • Takes you through a conversation that allows the user to get deeper than a FAQ page
    • Can lead from conversation and steer towards up-selling opportunities using a decision-tree to guide the process
  • Workflow type
    • Useful for automating repeatable, sequential tasks
    • Used for areas like setting up new accounts
    • Might have one for international customers and one for domestic customers

Some common use cases for Bots

Two of the most common use cases we are talking to clients about are how they can use bots to improve the customer or citizen experience:

  • Helpdesk:
    • A helpdesk chat bot can be used to collect key information.
    • Can respond to common requests that are similar to each other.
    • May intercept issue tickets such as “Bob is having trouble with his report” and through guided questions, ask “What is Bob’s last name”, “What is the name of the report”, “Has Bob used this report before”
    • Direct the ticket to the correct person with the full detail to optimise resolution
    • Allows IT and support teams to focus on value add and complex issues
  • Call Desks:
    • Triage the calls and handle certain call centre conversations
    • Reduces the loads for the call centre
    • Interactions can be personalised and feel “human” with natural language processing
    • Allows for greater scale during peak times

In another great example for the use of Bots, one of our clients Auckland University of Technology (AUT) has developed a Bot to help guide students on their learning paths.

To read more about AUT’s win at the 2016 Microsoft Tertiary ICT Innovation Awards click here.

At a recent AIIA Navigating Digital Government Summit held in Canberra a number of the speakers spoke about Artificial Intelligence and Bots and how these new technologies are driving Government innovation.  Several Australian Federal Government Departments talked about the Bots that they have created including the Australian Taxation Office, Department of Human Services and the National Disability Insurance Agency who are all looking to streamline interactions with their clients and citizens.

We only see the use of artificial intelligence and Bots increasing as the technology improves and organisations streamline their operations.

Join the conversation on Bots and how you are using them in your organisation.

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