A year ago--after much speculation--Facebook announced an API for bots to come to Messenger (and a week before that Kik launched their bot store), starting what we like to call Chatbot Year 0. Now, as we kick off Chatbot Year 1, we’re excited about all the companies that have made moves into the bot space-many coming to platforms like ours. There is still so much to learn and while the landscape has changed--one thing is clear: Messaging is here to stay.
Big step here in the evolution of Messenger. Few reasons why we’re excited: First of all, because this frames bots more squarely as service providers vs. something out of West World (in case you hadn’t noticed, we feel strongly that bots shouldn’t be tricking users into thinking they’re something they’re not). We’re pumped to see the use cases that will spring up from this, especially as group messaging is a big, very natural part of user behavior on messaging platforms. We anticipate this will open the door for more independent bot creators, too, not to mention the inherently social aspect that will hopefully help overcome the challenge of discovery. Let us know your thoughts!
Excellent read for anyone interested in where this whole “Conversational Design” thing is going. We enjoyed this article because of its “mobile-first” approach to conversational design--vs. what we’ve seen from folks in the IVR world clawing for relevance in chat. This article examines the nuances of communication across the multiple platforms, most notably a user’s relationship with permanence. Could it be that protecting one’s privacy is something parents worry about, and permanence is really the thing Millennials struggle with the most? Great points here, too, about the intimacy that’s possible in ephemeral messaging--just like IRL! Also gamification in the Snapchat experience--from “penalties” in the form of notifications for violating ephemerality (i.e. screenshots), to the “buried UI” leading to “hero moments” for those who know where to find them--harkens back to the days of up up down down left right left right b a start. Do you agree with the writer’s assertion that ephemerality “is a huge advantage to artificially intelligent assistants — as they record conversational context and data for better experiences”?
Yes, there is *a lot* of hype around bots. But this article does a great job of cutting through the hype and getting down to the real reason we’re here. It’s not about the tech, it’s about reaching people better. So many great soundbites here, like “Your business shouldn’t care about what bots mean to the tech world. Focus on what they mean for your customer’s experience with your brand” and “Bots are simply a more natural and authentic way to connect with your customers, employees, and various stakeholders.” We might just embroider them all on office throw pillows. 💕
This article, albeit from a few weeks ago, articulates what’s on a lot of bot creators mind, which is, beyond the use case dilemma--but the “which department within an business’s organization actually owns bots” dilemma. This article explains that, while Marketers have been the first to leverage bots (because of the massive audience, their budgets, and inclination towards new technologies), but bots aren’t the best vehicle for the type of campaigns marketers do. Bots are well-suited for customer support: not for the exploratory phase before a purchase, more FAQs like WISMO that come *after* purchase. So what’s the answer? We think it might be a fundamental shift from Marketers and CS folks as separate entities, one in a fancy office in Midtown, the other in a back office in Tulsa--to a more holistic group, working together as a unified Customer Experience engine. Can organizations make that change fast enough? That’s the real dilemma.