Do you really need a chatbot?

One of the pitfalls with new tech is what I like to call “so ein ding muss ich auch haben”.
It happens to all of us: something bright and shiny comes along, people are raving about successful case stories and theories about Darwinism. We are on our way to the peak of inflated expectations.
You want one. You want one so bad. A facebook profile, a chatbot, virtual reality goggles. You name it.
Resist the temptation. Take a step back. The future might belong to the fearless, but it also belongs to the smart.
Christine Jacobsen chriskja

Let’s start with a hypothetical.

If you had asked me 7 years ago whether all companies needed to be on social media, my answer would have been a resounding NO. To this day, I’m still critical of whether all organizations need to be on every single platform.
Most of us can agree that without social, it’s becoming harder and harder to function. (and yes, my definition of social is becoming wider and wider here. Just like back  in the 90’s when everyone had to have a website, now maybe your local plumber doesn’t need a website as much as just a facebook profile with contact information. That’s a different story though.)
So, do you really need a chatbot? Riddle me this:
  • Do you have the resources and willingness to determine the use case, strategy, design, technology, mindset, and culture needed?
  • Do you consider yourself a first-mover in your industry, and is your industry one where engagement is important? Or, is your department?
  • Can you quickly answer the questions: what is the service this chatbot is providing for my customer, and/or what is the business goal or function this chatbot fulfills?
If not, revisit the subject again in 3-6 months. Chatbots, machine learning, and AI are moving so fast right now, chances are, we’ll be talking about something else by Christmas time. And yeas, I just lumped those together, because without some element of AI and machine learning, you have no chatbot.
(Although, you might as well start preparing for this statistic in some way or another: In 2020, Gartner predicts that 85% of customer interactions will be managed without a human.)
And finally, to send you off, a quote from Amir Shevat at Slack:
The focus as a product or brand should not be to think, “I am building a bot,” it should be to think: “What is the service I want to deliver?”— Amir Shevat, Slack

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