2nd August 2017

To Bot or Not?

We live in a world where technology is striving to become ever more human. Google is now focused on delivering the most personal and relevant results and not to get all ‘Matrix-ey’ on you but – as we know – robots are becoming ever more ingrained in our daily lives (*buys robot vacuum off Amazon and puts feet up*).

One thing’s for sure, Artificial Intelligence is the future.

As social media has exploded, we have seen organisations invest in communicating directly with their existing and prospective customers. The masses have started to feel valued and empowered. Yes this has given way to some career complainers, but it also allowed people a chance to have a dialogue with brands and from this, become stoic champions of those brands.

But to quote Monty Python – money makes the world go round – and with increased conversation, many brands have looked to tech solutions (bots) to create a cost-effective way of ‘managing’ conversation.

Chat Bots are the new black, the new shiny thing that people are investing in and you might easily be convinced that investment in bots would deliver long term ROI…on paper. But as amazing as the technology is, there’s one fundamental problem…it’s still very much ARTIFICIAL intelligence.

I spoke to a chat bot recently, an experience reminiscent of the ‘computer says no’ Little Britain sketch.

It lacks the ability to converse in a style that brings your brand to life, it isn’t able to comfort, entertain and inspire your customers (and your potential customers) to care for your brand in a way that will make them choose to buy from you above all others, because the machine simply isn’t yet capable of emotion.

The Turing Test (which assesses whether a person can tell if they’re conversing with a machine) has not yet been efficiently and consistently passed. Until it has, using bland and faceless words to communicate with the people you hope will buy your products is one of the last things you should do. Instead, brands should be embracing the mastery of conversation and using the wordsmiths, the people who can charm, amuse and inspire to take the negative/s to a positive and leave your customers delighted, watching you to see what your next move will be.

Step away from the pack of bland, corporate responses ‘your call is very important to us, we’ll be with you shortly’ and move to the ‘hey, sorry about the wait, we don’t rush our customers and so it might be a few minutes or so until we’re with you. While you’re waiting, how about a joke to pass the time.’

That’s the difference between a brand that achieves nothing, and a brand that achieves this….





By Anna Wilson, Head of Digital