Chatbot conference 2019: the highlights

OBI4wan • 5 minute read • 26/04/2019
Chatbots, News
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The 25th of April OBI4wan was present as partner of the second edition of the Chatbot Conference in Utrecht. About 400 online professionals, content specialists and chatbot experts came together to share knowledge on the latest trends around chatbots and artificial intelligence. Inspiring keynote speakers and 15 speakers presented on topics such as flow design, conversation design, NLP, content and voice interfaces. Where you not able to attend the event? Don’t worry! We have collected the most important insights for you in this blog.

Service Chatbots take on new tasks

Customer service remains the biggest domain of chatbots but more and more companies think about new use cases once their service chatbot has been implemented and proved itself. Especially for marketing and sales new opportunities arise – think for example of chatbots that give consumers pre-sales advise and helps them choose the right product. Jorissa Neutelings, Director Digital Development at Nuon and one of the keynote speakers tells how their chatbot Nina, initially developed to answer FAQs is also suitable as a sales advisor. By 2020 Nuon expects an increase of 10% in sales from proactive support by Nina.

Also Samsung quickly recognized that their Chatbot Sam can do more than just service. Sam, who operates on Facebook Messenger has been implemented to offer the best service to customers who have limited resources in time, money and energy. He now shows is added value not only for service but also for marketing and sales, tells Joep de Jong (Contact Center Manager Samsung Electronics Benelux).

Webcare agents important in development process

Webcare agents know the customers inside out, they know how to interact with them, they know what the recurring issues are and they are good at writing at social platforms. Joep de Jong from Samsung advises to make sure that people from the contact center are in the lead of designing flows for the digital assistant. Also in a later stage when the chatbot is live and needs to be monitored, the role of webcare agents is crucial in making him better. Read more about it in our blog “Chatbot onboarding: How to ensure a smooth start”.

Giving your chatbot a personality

Chatbots are interacting with your customers in a similar way as customer service employees do. To make sure they are well perceived by the customers and to make is easier to write the dialogues, many companies give their chatbot a name and personality. Should the chatbot be male or female, how should he look like, how should he behave, what is his tone of voice. These are the questions that for instance Nuon asked themselves when they designed their chatbot.

A good way to find the right tone of voice for your chatbot is using historical, real-live conversations between customers and service agents. Read in our blog “How to develop a chatbot in 5 steps” how to use historical data to create dialogues.

Voice is the next big thing

Smart speakers are currently the fastest growing tech trend. According to Keynote speaker Ben Sauer, we should watch out for changing consumer expectations “There will be a time when it becomes annoying when a consumers can’t connect to brands via voice”. Hearing these predictions it is not surprising that companies that successfully implemented a chatbot see voice assistants as the next focus area. However we should not make the mistake to just re-use the chatbot flow on Alexa. Ben Sauer recommends to do it with care and involve designers. He compares the development of voice with the mobile-first switch we have seen in the past.

“You can adapt voice for screen but not the other way round. That’s why you need to think ahead when producing content”.

Humans cannot be replaced

As Martin Hill-Wilson, keynote speaker explains in his talk on “The Evolution of Chatbots”, the customer journey remains complicated, often involves emotions and the need to talk to a human being.

“We need to ask ourselves, if the things we automate are simple or complicated. “

Routine and predictable tasks can be easily automated but for complex and ambigious tasks you can better involve humans. Or as keynote speaker Ben Sauer phrases it

“Machines without humans suck.”

There should always be real agents behind virtual agents that can take over when the chatbot is unable to help a customer.

Do you want to know more about the Chatbot Conference? You can download the presentations of the speakers here.

Is your organisation ready to start with a chatbot?

During the event a recurring advise of the speakers was to think about the “Why” of a chatbot upfront. Do you want to decrease costs? Do you want to be 24/7 available for your clients? Do you want to increase customer happiness? You also need to ask yourself if a chatbot is suitable for your product, brand and customers and what kind of tasks it should solve. Are the questions you receive from customers suitable for a chatbot? How can your customer service agents work hand in hand with a chatbot in the best way? Answering these questions is crucial for the later success of the chatbot.

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At OBI4wan, we have a genuine passion for customer contact, media monitoring and reputation management. We continuously feed ourselves with new knowledge about groundbreaking technologies in these industries. And of course, we love to share this knowledge! Dive into our whitepapers, ebooks, blogs, industry reports and success stories. Are you already hanging on our every word? Hopefully we can share our enthusiasm with you and start a conversation!

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