by Ken Dec, EVP, Marketing and Client Strategies at The Expo Group
Chatbots, software designed to simulate a conversation with human users, especially over the Internet, are increasingly the first line of communication between consumer and brand in a host of categories and applications – e-commerce, financial services, customer service, live events and more.
This AI technology has proven highly effective at improving the consumer experience because what experience designers have learned over time, and now put into practice through bots, is that some 85%-90% of what consumers want to know is common – meaning a vast majority of consumers ask the same few questions over and over again – the perfect application for using AI automation, a bot.
Bots also often represent a higher level of responsiveness than humans can because it can
- Answer the vast majority of the most common questions accurately
- Without the variability introduced by humans of various levels of knowledge and experience
- Answer the vast majority of the most common questions quickly
- Often within 3 seconds or less
- Answer the vast majority of the most common questions consistently
- Again, without the human knowledge/experience variable the questions are answered the same way each and every time
- Answer questions 24/7/365
- Bots don’t require breaks, meals or other kinds of time off
And, because it learns over time (AI), the more questions it gets asked the better it gets at responding.
But the MOST valuable contribution bots make is that the data their interactions generate can inform continuously improving, customer-centric experience design in both the digital and physical worlds.
The ‘grail’ for experience designers is building the optimally human-centered design. Until now, that data was available, but often only as samples, anecdotes and through correlation (but rarely causation).
What bots now enable us to do is build THE MOST HUMAN-CENTERED experiences possible because consumers themselves, with their inquiries are telling us what they value most and/or have the most questions about.
For example, if we get lots of questions like
- “How does product feature X work?”, then maybe the product design itself and/or provided instructions needs improvement?
- “Does x do y?” and if it doesn’t, should it?
- If we continue to get the same service inquiries over and over again, maybe we haven’t designed or explained the resolution process very well
- If, at a live event, like a conference, we keep getting asked where X is, then maybe our wayfinding signage or event app isn’t getting the job done
This valuable bot-generated data, and the importance ranking that comes along with it, helps us decide:
- What to work on
- In what order
- With what urgency
So, while bots may be increasingly automating brand and consumer interactions, especially online, its even larger value is its contribution to building more human-centered products, services and live experiences.