What is a chatbot? 

You have most likely used a chatbot or some type of Artificial Intelligence (AI) at one point. In our modern age, Siri, Alexa, Cortana, and Google Assistant have been incorporated into our daily lives through mobile and household devices. They make mundane, tedious tasks such as finding a song on a playlist or looking up information about your favorite restaurant much more straightforward. Hundreds of chatbots are implemented in platforms like Facebook, Slack, or SMS messaging. 

Chatbots are becoming more popular as businesses see their potential to boost response time and engagement. The purpose of a chatbot is to stimulate conversation or answer frequently asked questions to a human via platforms such as the web and messenger apps. 

The basic chatbot automates answers to simple questions that have been preprogrammed into its system. The more advanced bots use AI and natural language processing (NLP) to create the most human-like bots that can perform tasks, personalize messages and even keep a person company. 

The Turing Test 

The development of chatbots isn’t a recent invention but has been in the making since 1951, when Englishman Alan Turing created what we now know today as the “Turing Test.” At the time, Turing worked with the English to help decipher the German’s Enigma messages during World War II. He called it “The Imitation Game,” which looked at machine intelligence. If a machine could not be picked as either human or computer, it was deemed “intelligent” because the computer must be a passable imitation of a human, hence the name “The Imitation Game.” An award-winning movie showcases Turing’s journey during the process of cracking the enigma if getting some entertainment is on your to-do list. 

So how is the Turing test relevant today? Chatbots are trying to pass the Turing Test every year but have yet to pass the test as recognizably human fully. Instead, chatbots have been winning Loebner Prizes, which Dr. Hugh Loebner introduced in 1991. He pledged $100,000 to the first contestant to pass the Turing Test. And so, the crickets keep chirping, and the bots keep winning small cash prizes for most human-like, but none have fooled us yet. 

The Big Deal 

There are many reasons why chatbots have been rising in popularity. The first one being artificial intelligence in machines has rapidly been making breakthrough strides in advancement. And, of course, people like immediacy. They don’t like searching for an answer and don’t like waiting for one. According to the 2017 Ubisend report, nearly 70% of people want instant answers to their questions, and over one-fifth (21%) see a chatbot as the easiest way to contact a company. With the force of social messaging apps, digital marketing, and the demands from customers for more interpersonal relationships with a company, chatbots have the potential to provide all those needs. 

A study of 7,000 people from this Salesforce report says that 80% of business buyers expect companies to respond to them in real time. For this report, Business-buyers self-identified as employees having purchasing power on behalf of B2B companies. Chatbots are a reasonable solution for companies that want to provide that experience for their consumers. However, companies must be careful when incorporating this technology into their business. Ubisend found that the majority of British consumers (68%) say ‘reaching the desired outcome,’ closely followed by ‘ease of experience’ (48%) and speed (44%) are the most important factors for them. As marketers or any company, we must ensure that the technology we use with our customers will make customers continue to use us. Expectantly, 70% of customers say that technology has made it easier to take their business elsewhere. The marketplace is quick, and customers don’t have time to deal with inconveniences. 

Say you are on a clothing website, and a chatbot pops up on the screen and asks to help you. Captured by attention and the idea of having a conversation, you decide to tell the chatbot to find a size small white shirt. And then a purple shirt appears in the messages. So, you tell it again. “Find a size small white shirt.” And again, a purple shirt appears on the screen. 

Now, the buyer’s experience has been tainted, potentially increasing the chance for them not to return. By customizing and optimizing your chatbots, you can reduce this friction and add value to your customers.


Get started developing your chatbots with the GROWL team today.  

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