Changing Trends in the Chatbot Space
By Justin Vandehey, Co-Founder, Disco
• Chatbots are enabling more meaningful interactions between people, both online and offline. We’re not seeing Chatbots take away or replace human interactions. They’re helping humans have more meaningful connections with one another. For example, Disco helps employees celebrate great work together. It’s encouraging and documenting a meaningful and natural interaction between two colleagues.
• Chatbots are becoming more intelligent and taking on more complex tasks. As Chatbots learn more about your natural work and personal behaviors (shopping, browsing), they’re helping consumers and employees become more efficient and free up time toget higher level and more strategic tasks done. This assumes they have context and an opportunity to observe natural behavior, which brings me to last point.
• Chatbots are enhancing native software platforms and applications. They aren’t replacing them. For example, Disco strives to be a recognition platform that meets employees where they work, whether that be Slack, Google for Business, or Microsoft 365. Disco’s Chatbot enhances the functionality of these core platforms as well as our core web service and dashboard, where Disco’s customer, HR and culture executives, experiences the most value.
2. From Amazon’s Alexa to the Echo Dot, large retailers are creating voice assisted bots for making purchases, checking orders, providing product suggestions or extending brand experience with services like style or recipe suggestions. In 2017, brands have increasingly partnered with established Amazon, Google Home.What do you expect to see in 2018?
Disco: I think the most innovative brands are going to strive to use advancements in Chatbots and AI to meet their customers in other, nonconventional or traditional means. For example, Delta partnered with Disco (formerly Growbot) to reward NY based employees as part of their ‘Summer Friday’s’ campaign. Each week, Delta sponsored a special reward for NY based employees that used Slack for internal communication, and they used Disco (formerly known as Growbot) as the means to deliver that reward to employees in Slack. It was great for Delta because they could build on the relationship they had with their customers in a way in which had never been done before, by engaging with them in a memorable way at their offices!
3. Chatbots, the most touted conversational interface will become popular among customers and organizations in 2018. As a social animal, humans are always looking for a personal touch in the conversation. Moreover, they want a quick response instead of delayed automated answers.
What kind of potential do Chatbot hold in different verticals starting from marketing, sales to customer retention and engagement?
Disco: Saving time and personalization seem to be the two largest opportunities across each of these verticals as it pertains to Chatbots.For example, Troops.AI helps sales leaders save time by entering information directly into the interface of Salesforce, saving reps hundreds of hours in data entry each quarter.
Chatbotscan consolidate and condense workflows to help CIOs get more out of the existing systems that they’ve already invested in
Platforms like Hubspot, the maker of GrowthBot, help marketers and sales leaders get information about competitors and prospects to be more efficient in their acquisition tactics. Solutions like Octane.ai help brands and celebrities build relationships with fans and customers by learning more about them and tailoring campaign efforts to address their interests and preferences.
4. Chatbots will be used to gather customer insights as they will improve all levels of marketing and interaction with clients. Storing information will be faster and easier. Each conversation can be stored and used for further analysis. How will this makeschatbot better equipped to answer future questions and helps understand customers?
Disco: I can’t speak to the marketing use case, as I’m in the business of employee engagement. However, I see Chatbots like Disco helping re-imagine the workplace in a way that makes employees more efficient and happier. Again, Disco is focused on employee recognition, so our mission is to help employees identify great work when it happens and celebrate those achievements when it’s contextually relevant to do so. This information can be used to help inform compensation and performance evaluation decisions for employees, or help a HR executive understand the behaviors, skills and traits of top performers. Other Chatbots like Donut.ai or Polly.ai are great solutions for connecting new employees with one another, or getting a quick pulse insight via survey from employees, respectively, within the context of their day-to-day work. Each of these unique interactions, whether between colleagues or with a Chatbot, provide a snapshot into a moment in that employee’s work behavior and history.
5. Along with chatbot, big data has been one of the most talked about terms in the past few years. While big data has enormous potential in terms of analyzing data and providing insights to organizations, it will completely revolutionize the way businesses interact with customers as every conversation will be analyzed helping in business growth and better customer engagement. Your thoughts on this emerging trend?
Disco: Truthfully, I think you need to start with what question you’re trying to answer about your business or about your end customer, and then decide on the best means to go about answering it. A Chatbot might not be the best way to derive an insight that has an impact on conversion, retention, or revenue growth. I’m highly skeptical of Chatbot solutions that passively collect data and promise meaningful insights without any input or guidance from a human to come to a meaningful solution, such as customer or employee sentiment solutions.When you use Disco, there’s very clear intent to do so, and employees and HR executives understand why they’re using it and what question they’re hoping to answer. If you don’t know what question you’re trying to answer about your employees or your customers, a Chatbot likely have an answer for you (literally and figuratively).
6. What are the major tasks for organizational CIOs at this point in time? Is there any unmet need in terms of Chatbotspace that is yet to be leveraged from the vendors?
Disco: I’m by no means an organizational CIO, but I’d imagine one of the hardest parts of the job is implementing technology that my employees love while also eliminating solutions that are redundant or that are not mission critical to my business. I think there’s an opportunity with Chatbots to begin to consolidate and condense workflows to help CIOs get more out of the existing systems that they’ve already invested in, such as enabling software systems to work more effectively by themselves or work with oneanother. For example, what chat solutions allow me to get more out of the investment I’ve already made in Salesforce, Zendesk, or Workday? That’s where I see the biggest opportunity for folks working in and around the Chatbot space.
7. What is your advice for budding technologists in the Chatbotspace? How do you see the evolution few years from now with regards to disruptions and transformations within Chatbotspace?
Disco: First and foremost, focus on one problem and start simple. When we initially launched Disco, we supported many complex workflows and commands that made the experience bloated and LESS valuable. When we narrowed our focus to one use case, recognition, the results were outstanding. Usage skyrocketed and our value proposition became so much clearer. Keep it simple. Second, Chatbots are not a means to an end. They’re one tool in a large toolkit of complementary software solutions or programs aimed at helping you achieve your business outcomes. Chatbots should be a critical part of your strategy, but not THE strategy.