To bot or not to bot… ???

To bot or not to bot… ???

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That is the question weighing on the noble minds of marketeers and mortals alike

I love bots; always have, always will. Not the creepy, AI, make your bed or police the streets kind – that is for a different time. No, I mean those cute little chatbots where it almost feels like you’re talking to someone who cares and wants to help.

There are times when I want to talk to a human, for instance, when desperately trying to find a thoughtful gift the day before a 7th wedding anniversary. In this instance I need to talk to (or plead with) an unsuspecting Etsy seller, to get things back on track. I suspect a human interaction will also be required during legal proceedings when the seller can’t fashion something out of copper for my wife in time.

Most of the time, though, I just want clear answers or directions, without being sold to and without the nuances needed to politely end a conversation. At Peppermint, we also use bots in daily tasks, to automate project processes or simply to tell us what the future brings, in the form of weather updates or calendar items. This kind of time saving for clients, colleagues and consumers can really add up:

Forecasters say that chatbots will be responsible for cost savings of over $8 billion per annum by 2022, up from $20 million this year.

The possibilities are endless, but not limitless, and this is perfect for a company needing to funnel customers to the correct path until the point when human interaction is needed – if, indeed, it is needed at all.

The big hitters are getting in on the action; Whatsapp for business is aimed at the small business owner, but dig a little deeper and you’ll find larger companies using the API to deliver tailored customer and client services at key touchpoints where human assistance is, well… pointless. Facebook Messenger Business is also offering a more openly robotic experience, with multi-choice paths wrapped in nice conversation filler.

53% of people are more likely to shop with a business they can message directly

Ironic that I now ask Alexa what the weather is like, and soon enough she’ll be making small talk with me when we’re awkwardly alone in the kitchen of my future studio flat, copper lily from Etsy on the corner table: ‘So…’ she’ll say, ‘…weather’s terrible at the minute, isn’t it?’. ‘Yes Alexa, whatever you say Alexa.’

The good news is that, whether you have big bot budgets or you just want a nice convenient way to chat with one of your customers on a platform they know and love, there are many options out there.

But, there’s the rub, for where do you start deciding whether to bot or not to bot? We can help with that decision – and, if you do decide to bot, we can plan, setup and manage code or no-code solutions to make your and your customers lives a little bit easier.