business messaging blog
Chatbots: Separating fact from fiction
Scott Navratil

Because chatbots are still relatively new technology, many people don’t know much about them and there are several common misperceptions about them. Here’s a look at some common misperceptions and the reality of chatbots.

Myth: Chatbots will replace mobile apps

When chatbots were first making their entrance many were touting their superiority over mobile applications and some even went so far as to suggest that they would completely eliminate the need for apps and that everyone would just use chatbots to conduct mobile banking, book flights or hotels, complete online purchases, and keep an eye on the weather. So far this hasn’t happened, and in fact, it never will.

The Truth: Chatbots will augment mobile apps

Chatbots can’t completely replace mobile apps because apps have an interactive graphical interface that a chatbot simply can’t recreate. Take a very simple application like a weather app; you could open the application and immediately see the current temperature and weather as well as an hour-by-hour forecast for the area you are currently in. You could also open a messaging app of some kind and ask a weather chatbot for the same info. It would take longer of course to type out the question you want to ask and it would be entirely text-based whereas your mobile app can show you the weather with animations of clouds, rain, or snow. Apps are here to stay but that doesn’t mean chatbots will have no impact on them. Tasks more complicated than asking about the weather, such as disputing a charge on your credit card statement or making a change to your insurance coverage might be better handled by a bot than a mobile app. Expect to see more integration between chatbots and apps in the future where an app user can be seamlessly transferred to a conversation with a bot when the mobile app can’t help.

Myth: Chatbots will displace customer service representatives

If chatbots can simulate conversation with a human, who’s not to say that chatbots can simply take the place of customer service representatives who answer questions and resolve customer’s problems? As is often the case with new technologies, many are afraid that it will take away jobs.

Truth: Chatbots will make customer service jobs better

Chatbots might be able to sound like a human at times, but they can’t do everything a live agent can do. What chatbots can do is automate some of the easy stuff like looking up the account, determining the nature of their issue, providing the appropriate answer to frequently asked questions, and passing the customer off to the appropriate department for a chat session with a live agent. This will remove the more mundane elements of customer service work. Even if do chatbots do lead to a reduction of customer service jobs, the will create many more jobs in chatbot development and testing.

Chantel Fullilove

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