In every industry, there are factors responsible for pushing adoption rates over the tipping point, after which a new trend becomes mainstream. In business communication, two Israeli brothers, Avi and Henri Ben Ezra who founded SnatchBot, can claim substantial credit for helping businesses around the world evolve rapidly to a point where they function successfully thanks to intelligent chatbots. Their platform already served some of the biggest brand in the world including Airbnb, Allianz, iFX by HSBC US and TataCO by Vodafone – and now it has spread the chatbot revolution to smaller businesses by creating a level playing field in the market.
Background to the chatbot revolution:
Chatbots are not actually a new phenomenon, yet recently fear and hype took traditional workers by storm: those who were unable to identify career progression routes feared that bots will replace them in the workplace. Even Bill Gates proposed that robots who take human jobs should pay taxes. This comes, as the sudden revolution in chatbot deployment was fuelled by the ability of bots to reach parity with human performance – and even outperform us in some cases. Indeed more recent advances in artificial intelligence and deep learning changed the picture.
It is a fact that businesses now see huge progress in the areas of cost reduction and efficiency. Early adopters have proven to the world that chatbot deployment is the way to go. It has been established, for instance, that in e-commerce, customer service and banking, deploying bots to deliver 24/7 communication services, led to substantial increases in customer retention and acquisition without the need to increase labour costs.
Whilst the costly elements of research were carried by larger businesses, solutions such as SnatchBot came along and literally made technology available to businesses of all sizes. This was done primarily by eliminating barriers to entry such as cost and knowledge.
How knowledge as a barrier to entry was overcome:
Small businesses would have missed out a lot if their scale prohibited them from hiring a chatbot development team. However the marketplace approach developed by the visionaries of SnatchBot enable the best developers to share their bots on the open market. In the same way that open source technology solutions has led to democratized markets for apps, websites and software, so did the marketplace spread knowledge from highly experienced developers to other users who tap into their solutions.
How cost as a barrier to entry was overcome:
The benefits of crowdsourcing where large numbers of people contribute to knowledge rapidly – and crowdfunding, where large numbers of smaller players contribute funds, are ways in which traditionally prohibitive costs are coming down. This is effectively what happened with chatbots. Now you do not need to hire the best developer at a high rate: simply buy their solution at a fraction of the cost from the chatbot marketplace, known as a chatbot store. Developers can still profit from the large numbers of businesses who are now willing to fund their work – but the proportionate distribution of cost among businesses means that almost no business have an excuse not to embrace it.
The demand for omnichannel communication and chatbots coincided:
All departments, including but not limited to sales, customer service and marketing now fire on all engines when it get’s to communication channels. Omnichannel communication is no longer a question of “if” but rather “how” it is all managed. Imagine a chatbot that operates most of these channels on behalf of your business, just as if it was a well-trained employee logged into 10 different screens simultaneously? Well, SnatchBot functions across most of them including email, Facebook, Skype, Twilio, Slack, WeChat and many more.
Looking at the future of chatbots: More data, more power:
As the business of data and AI has not yet matured, market leaders like SnatchBot, with infrastructure to support multiple industries, are in the best position to transfer their knowledge and learning to others. Every month that passes, more data is collected on that enable chatbots to learn and evolve further. SnatchBot NLP (natural language processing) models are already in place to analyse human language at a deep level. By adding knowledge from various industries, we can look forward to times where the reliability and predictability of bots will become invaluable.
The deployment of sophisticated chatbot solutions across businesses of all sizes is now a reality thanks to the removal of the most critical barriers to entry. Today, you’re able to select a bot from a marketplace or “bot store” for literally any industry ranging from Healthcare, to Banking & Finance and beyond. In addition to scalability and cost reduction, intelligent chatbots are also solving other major challenges such as omnichannel integration, human error and inconsistency. It may be fair to say that if there were 6 Israeli discoveries that influenced the world, what the Ben Ezra brothers did with SnatchBot, may well be number 7.
The author is an outreach media owner and contributor in the Health, Business and Tech sectors. He is a trainer for Linkedin Learning with notable commentary on digital media transparency and key issues in the digital economy.