08 Dec Chatbots: The Future of Customer Service?

Everyone knows the frustration of calling a service provider and cycling through multiple automated options before reaching a representative. Though these robotic menus can be helpful, they don’t offer the same nuance of speaking with an actual person who isn’t stumped by full length sentences or follow up questions. But what if this technology could learn from user experiences and adapt to provide a higher quality of customer service? Digital companies are looking to answer that question with the use of chatbots.  

Chatbots are computer programs designed to communicate through text-based or aural mediums. These bots are meant to converse with human users in a way that is indistinguishable from a conversation with another person. Numerous companies have implemented chatbots into their consumer interaction strategy with various levels of complexity. Some bots generate responses to customers using a set of pre-programmed answers. Others utilize machine learning technology to respond in real-time based on the customer’s needs and the bot’s artificial intelligence.

One of the most important aspects of chatbot technology is the ability to imitate human interaction. Finding the answer to a customer’s question is just as important as letting them know their concerns have been heard and your team cares. Chatbots need to be able to provide personable, quality levels of communication to properly capture this key component of human interaction. That means having the ability to pass the Turing Test. The Turing Test was developed by Alan Turing, a computer scientist, who was seeking to answer whether machines were capable of demonstrating intelligent, human-like behavior. In this test, a human judge is tasked with determining whether they are talking to another person or a bot. If the judge believes they are conversing with a human, but it’s actually a bot, the machine has passed the test. In 2014, a computer passed the Turing Test for the first time.  

Where do we go from here? Though only one machine has successfully emulated human interaction in front of a judge, companies have let their chatbots loose in the digital landscape and many consumers interact with bots every day without realizing. The ability to utilize these responsive bots can improve customer service and build up a brand’s reputation as fast acting and helpful. The advancement of chatbot technology, and its ability to closely emulate a human touch, should continue to positively impact business strategy and customer interactions in the future.  

Bruce Freides