What’s a Chatbot… and Why Should We Care? [The AV Life Episode 69]
By Elizabeth Glau, CMP - March 29, 2018
Chris Colleran, CTO of Sciensio recently joined Julius Moster, Master of Science student at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) for an episode of The AV Life.
A few interesting topics came out of this educational podcast:
Chatbots are revolutionizing the way we interact with data and machines. You will commonly hear about chatbots in conjunction with the term AI (artificial intelligence) but chatbots don’t always use AI.
NLP (natural language processing) is the subset of AI (artificial intelligence) that Sciensio uses. Of the different types of interactions Sciensio could design, we chose customer service because our founders had a lot of experience in this realm.
Chris developed his first chatbot for an event he was hosting. He knew his guests would have a lot of questions and he knew a chatbot could answer many of them. This lead to the design and development of a core chatbot Sciensio now offers, an EventBot.
Here’s how EventBots work: Sciensio integrates with an event registration system and the chatbot sends a welcome message to attendees via text (SMS) (or other messaging app) offering to answer their questions. Attendees get their questions answered by the chatbot and the event organizer can send additional notifications to attendees during and after the event.
Across all events, there are a core set of questions that make the journey easier for attendees. Some questions are less frequently asked but might be really important to some attendees.
Hiring a chatbot is similar to hiring an employee. in that you train them on all of the questions your attendees might ask. They might even seem better than employees in some ways. They are available 24x7x365, they don’t need breaks, they never arrive hungover etc. But they are not meant to replace your event staff. Instead, when attendees use an EventBot to get their logistical questions answered, your event staff can have more meaningful conversations with attendees that support your organization’s goals. For another perspective, read Startup’s article Lessons from Fabio: Why You Can’t Robotize your Customer Service
Chatbots can be passed off as a human or a machine. Sciensio prefers to let attendees know that their EventBots are not human, even though the conversation will feel very human-like. Chris shares a great story on the podcast about how people are more willing to ask a bot questions than humans in some scenarios.
Self-service EventBots and the ability to interact with web pages inside SMS are coming soon. Stay tuned!
Deploying Sciensio's Eventbots solution to improve and enhance a major industry trade show.