Are you talking to me?

By Teamspirit on Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Chatbots are big news. Earlier this year both Microsoft and Facebook predicted fast growth as they announced new tools to help developers build this new generation of human/machine interface. Between April and September 30,000 bots were built for Facebook Messenger alone.

While some are sceptical about whether or not artificial intelligence can ever replace the human touch (or voice), there’s no denying that this is the beginning of a customer services revolution, and that financial services should pay close attention.

There are clear metrics that justify developing chatbots to assist with customer services. The average cost of a customer transaction via phone is £1.92, but for digital (online or mobile) the figure is just 13p. Similarly, live chat scores the highest levels of customer satisfaction with 73%, compared to 44% for phone.

Developers also point to the potential for chatbots to power transactions in both demographically older and technologically emerging markets, like India, where less than 2% of over a billion mobile users are transacting online but messaging penetration is extremely deep.

But, what’s really interesting is that at the moment people don’t expect the chatbots they interact with to go to too much trouble impersonating a human.

Experts predict that over time, as the AIs powering chatbots become more sophisticated, it will be harder to tell if you’re talking to a person or a computer, but right now it seems that most people are happy to play along and enjoy the increasingly useful novelty of it all.

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