[24]7 toots horn and sounds out ROI for enterprise chatbot opportunity

Another day, another chatbot company looking to crack the enterprise? Well, this time perhaps the story has a little more substance to it.

[24]7, a company based in California, has announced it has secured more than 500 intelligent chatbot deployments across a variety of industries including banking, healthcare and insurance, claiming it is the leader in the field.

Among the customers include Vodafone, whose ‘Hani’ virtual agent answers 80,000 questions per month leading to 75% of customers being moved away from the contact centre as a result, as well as utility provider BC Hydro, whose bot has answered more than 720,000 questions with an accuracy rate of 94%.

This is enabled through two products; [24]7 Answers, which offers automatic answers to questions through its natural language recognition capability, and [24]7 AIVA Assistant, which is more conversational and can predict consumer intent through history, behaviour, and user profile.

In an eBook released alongside the announcement, the company outlines a series of best practices for securing improved customer engagement through bots – as well as outlining some misconceptions. “If you were to believe all the current hype about chatbots, you’d think that they’ll soon be everywhere, take over every interaction, learn on their own with no help from humans, [and] be so easy and fast to create that anyone can do it,” the company notes.

“While some of this may be true for lightweight chatbots that are built for fun in a developer’s spare time, it’s a big stretch to apply this thinking to enterprise chatbots,” it adds.

The eBook also urges users to define their business case to better predict the ROI a chatbot could provide. Bots could reduce costs, support growth without increasing costs, monetise a self-service option among other revenue streams, and improve customer loyalty. Expecting the project to do all of this may be a stretch for now – so it’s important to bucketize.

“Not all chatbots are created equal, which is why it’s important for enterprise to understand the key requirements that will make chatbots successful in that environment,” said Mitchell Kramer, senior vice president of the Patricia Seybold Group in a statement. “These include natural language understanding, intent models that learn and improve with use, and an analytics package to gauge whether the chatbot is addressing customer needs.”

Speaking to this reporter at Mobile World Congress last week, Beerud Sheth, CEO of bot platform provider Gupshup, argued a ‘decade’s worth of innovation’ is still to play out in the space. “I do believe it’s the next big thing in tech,” he said. “It’s a big paradigm shift that’s going to impact virtually every business.”

You can read the full [24]7 eBook, ‘Everything You Need To Know About Chatbots’, here (registration required).

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