MoNage held its second fall conference this week, and the chatbot summit brought together industry leaders to talk strategy in the world of AI, blockchain, voice & chatbots.
Essentially, a chatbot is any service that interacts with its consumer using a chat interface. Facebook Messenger, for example, allows for companies to directly interact with their customers about important information such as products, store hours, and promotions. Chatbots are becoming even more conversational, using stronger AI and voice to create a more seamless flow between brand and user. If you want a rundown on what a chatbot is, Octane AI provides a beginner’s guide in their Chatbots Magazine.
This year’s MoNage Chatbot Summit focused on VoiceBots and Enterprise Bots. MoNage founder, Jeff Pulver, gave some great insights to kick off the summit: “chatbots are the end of apps, and the end of the internet as we know it.” Pulver sees blockchains as the next big thing in 2018, as it will disrupt every industry. Additionally, Pulver sees AI becoming so smart chatbots will soon be able to write apps because of their ability to understand user intent. Pulver also added his excitement for MoNage to get more involved in coin-based venture projects.
Everyone was excited to listen to 16-year-old Liam McKinley, who won the 2016 international Botathon when he was 15, making him the only non-adult out of 250 contestants. Liam impressed everyone with his knowledge of chatbots and his SkoolBot, which allows students to interact with their Google Classroom about homework and assignments.
Tokenization was a huge topic, as James Tagg, co-founder of The Penrose Institute, discussed its benefits: “We’re tokenizing human knowledge, so we can put all of human knowledge on the blockchain.” Tokenization is important because it incentivizes people to create the system and rewards them right away. “It boggles my mind where the opportunities are with tokenization,” agreed Jeff Pulver.
Ryan Maynard, CEO of Chat Dynamo, illustrated what he calls “Chatvertising,” which is his approach to marketing and conversion. This model will help companies lead customers to click on an ad, engage them in a chatbot conversation, and convert the user into a paying customer. According to Ryan, brands can do this only if they “master the art of having a good conversation.”
Most of the summit’s speakers harped on the notion that mastering the conversation is exactly what everyone will have to figure out. Phil Gordon, CEO & founder of Chatbox.com, stressed the importance of hyper-personalized experiences. He drew the line between target audiences and targets. The future of AI is about delivering messages to one customer at any specific moment in time. A simple way to do this is by just adding a customer’s name, which according to Gordon “increases engagement by 30%.” Rick Nucci, co-founder of Guru, pointed out that a challenge for the industry is the way we “position bots as replacing humans, but nobody wants to be replaced by technology.” Again, how will we master the conversation so consumers don’t see chatbots as being human replacements?
Stefan Trockel, co-founder and CEO of mercury.ai offered his solution to mastering the conversation saying that “all language is behavior. All language is doing something to produce some kind of effect on some person(s).” Instead of thinking about Natural Language Processing, we should create dialogues using behavioral intelligence.
FRSH CEO, Doug Robinson, had some suggestions for this challenge during his talk at the summit. Doug shared the lessons he learned from working on Alexa skills, and his most significant point was creating natural conversations for users. For Doug, content and context are key. This means considerable time should be spent on developing a conversation flow and testing the skill regularly. The skill must lead the user to the appropriate response through a natural pathway without feeling forced.
Another concept Doug touched on was how intention is created across the customer experience journey. The developer should consider the benefits and how much intelligence can be applied to help you get there. “Our focus on Alexa right now is to have her learn more things, so we can concentrate on the conversation. If businesses are not present where consumers want to be, then they will lose out on this new intelligent agent landscape.”
Doug will be speaking again at the CDX Brand Innovation Summit next week in San Jose, California.