Is Chat staged for a come back?
The last twelve months has seen something of a resurgence of interest in chat. Online services such as Magic offer a human assistant to cater for your every demand at the click of the text. Other apps such as WeChat offer a mixture of human and automation to achieve a similar result.
You might wonder why it’s so popular when you can order a pizza or flowers for your mother easily enough just by choosing the relevant app on your smartphone. And there’s the crunch – which is easier? Wading through a mobile menu full of hundreds of apps to find the relevant app and then select the toppings you want, or just texting what you want: a pepperoni, thick base, with pineapple chunks on top. (Hey, so I have strange tastes, live with it!)
According to Pew Research Centre text messaging is the most used feature on a smartphone. Unsurprisingly usage in the 18-29 year demographic is a mind-blowing 100%, but even the over 50s are up at 92%. Why? It’s easy, familiar and requires no thought or special terminology. In short, it’s totally intuitive.
Just like natural language!
However, whilst it might be appropriate in some business models to use live human agents to respond to natural language text or voice messages, for the majority of businesses it’s far too resource intensive to be viable on a large scale. These need automated solutions but automated solutions that respond in an intelligent, humanlike and relevant manner. And, if this model extends to providing speech-enabled UIs for software applications, then it becomes a game changer.
Of course, whilst even providing a simple speech-enabled UI that mimics software menus can offer some value, the real benefits kick-in when there is no formal structure. It needs to be conversational, free-format and in the users own terminology. For example, it would be so much more powerful to speak to your CRM system saying “I went to see Jeff King today, he’s looking at upgrading his system next year” and for it to understand and action in an appropriate manner.
And this is where Natural Language Interaction (NLI) technology, such as Teneo comes in. Intelligent reasoning, seamless integration into back-end systems, understanding of conversational context, the ability to remember and learn and much more allows Teneo to update sales software or contact management system in an instant, all from a single sentence. It sophisticated artificially intelligence capabilities enable it to figure out who the client is and when the next contact date should be. If there is any ambiguity or a field of data not completed, the interface simply asks another question of the user.
The humble ‘Chat’ is set to establish itself as the disruptive interface in human to machine communications, and to be truly valuable it needs intelligent understanding behind it!
In short, it needs to make technology think.