After leading a company which specialized on development of websites and mobile application for more than 9 years, i am fascinated with the idea of intertwining technology and business. For so long, we were able to create great mobile application and website, from selling airline tickets to online TV streaming and news applications.
But one area that i was really wanted to overcome was customer service. Too many times have i got stuck in an automated IVR system when i dialed customer service for support. I know, prices for telephone calls are dropping rapidly but that doesn’t mean i have to get to get stuck for 2 minute just to dial 9 at the end to reach customer service.
& Boy Oh Boy! Do i have to explain my problem..How, when, where, are you sure?Sorry, can you repeat that again??…These questions gives you a nightmares sometime.
Surely there must an alternative way, right?? Facebook!!! Click!!! Ok, I will contact them in Facebook. Easy, as i was on my mac most of the time and Facebook was right there, next to the official contact page of company.Sent a message of Facebook and what do i get??
Thank you for contacting us. Please call XXXXXXXXXX for instant service. Sometime later in the day, someone from the company replied — Yes sir, we are here to help you. Let us know your problem and we will forward them to concerned department. Sigh!!!
Then, i thought, wait a second…Facebook messages can be automated. I just saw that in one public chatbot. How come they never used chatbots for generic questions. It is not like i wanted to know exact amount due on my credit or where is my money going? I just wanted to know what kind of schemes are there. These are simple question which can be pre fed in a system and easily extracted from the knowledge base. Yes, i do love human touch but not if that requires more time and money.
Then we began developing our own chatbot solely based on this idea. Core idea – I don’t want to wait for someone to handle conversation or get stuck in a loop. So, our team decided to work on chatbot. First thought — should we build our own system or use Facebook. Upon exploring idea of Facebook, we thought lets see what facebook has got. And how we were pleasantly surprised. Everything from Image Carousal, quick replies , buttons and simple NLP with access to Wit.ai..Great…Now, i feel like we have everything, not only to build a chatbot for customer service but for businesses as well..
We are currently exploring the idea of selling products via chatbots themselves. And our motto is serving us well here — Whenever there is new technology, nobody tells you how to use it.Just use it as your wish.
This happened to us 7 years back when mobile application started booming and we think that the same case will go for chatbots.
This article first appeared on Medium @ 22 Oct 2017