7 innovative brand chatbots

From the latest COVID-19-related tools giving health information to smart quizzes for footy fans, CMO has rounded up seven new and unique chatbots.

  • Conversational chatbot example
  • Q and A chatbot assistant
  • Chatbots offer smart virtual help.
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Chatbots are increasingly deployed by brands as another important channel of customer contact. BT’s Autonomous Customer 2020 research found chatbots are one of the new tech tools, along with phone and email, plus real human agents, that customers want when contacting a company.

However, while some research indicates customers have certain reservations about conversational artificial intelligence (AI) and still value human assistance, when developed effectively, chatbots offer valuable and unique way to forge customer connection and develop valuable brand insights.

Conversational AI, through chatbots, gives an unprecedented ability to learn about customers and prospects, experiment with targeted messaging faster than ever before," Unbounce CTO and co-founder, Carl Schmidt, told CMO.

“More traditionally minded marketers will use it to automate knowledge base lookups and provide a simplified interface to canned responses. Cutting-edge digital marketers will embrace the learning potential and use it to more deeply to understand the needs of their audience. 

LivePerson’s Consumer Preferences for Conversational Commerce survey found two-thirds of consumers would like to message with brands, reflecting consumers’ preference to do business with companies that answer questions immediately. And Australian consumers are among the highest levels of chatbot users worldwide. However, while consumers – particularly younger consumers – are interested in convenience and ease messaging offers, they are still sceptical of bots and prefer human interaction.

However, marketers need to avoid over-indexing on brands and the personality side and, in effect, developing a toy that doesn’t do much, according to executive vice-president for enterprise business group at LivePerson, Manlio Carrelli. When it comes to bringing the brand to life through a chatbot interface, focusing in on the personality might be the last thing you want to do, Carrelli told CMO.

He advised against overweighting the personality of a brand and how it interacts with the customer, and underweighting towards the actual jobs the bot would do and the integration of the other areas of the company necessary to do those jobs. Those finding success are the ones focusing on the customers and what they are trying to achieve, and integrating the whole organisation behind the development of a bot.

7 innovative chatbots

From the latest COVID-19-related tools giving health information to smart quizzes for footy fans, CMO has rounded up seven chatbots being deployed in customer engagement.

COVID-19 virtual agent launched by SA Health

Chatbots offer smart virtual help.Credit: IDG
Chatbots offer smart virtual help.

South Australian Health launched a virtual agent going by the name of ‘Zoe’ in response to a surge in COVID-19-related queries to the state’s hospital switchboards and the 000 emergency line.

Available via www.sahealth.sa.gov.au, Zoe can answer a range of common COVID-19 questions and help users find the information they need through guided conversation.

While it was initially developed over just a few days, the company said it will now spend the coming weeks developing Zoe so she can answer a wider range of complex questions beyond the set of pre-defined and event parameters first set, and provide links to additional information. 

Credit: SA Health

Sydney Uni taps AI for new COVID chatbot

The University of Sydney developed a chatbot utilising artificial intelligence (AI) to help it handle the raft of COVID-19-related student inquires it’s was fielding as the pandemic took hold.

As lockdown struck, classes moved online, facilities closed and students became unable to attend university.

The ‘Corona-bot’, as it’s been dubbed, has been tackling between 200 and 400 individual student inquiries every day, with each student typically asking two to three questions. The bot provides the most appropriate answer to the question and, where necessary, directs the student to further information.

Bupa tapped WhatsApp for new customer messaging channel

As more customers began calling health fund contact centres due to COVID-19-related closures of Bupa retail stores, the health fund launched a WhatsApp messaging channel for customers to use instead of waiting on hold.

The WhatsApp service means customers who are on hold are given the option to use a secure WhatsApp message with a real person and instead of speaking with someone over the phone.

Bupa bolstered the numbers of messaging agents and delivered specialised training on WhatsApp customer service delivery and the iInitial results proved promising with customers appreciating the freedom to get on with other things while having their enquiry addressed. The Bupa internal IS team worked with LivePerson to develop the customer diversion service from scratch. The collaborative approach enabled Bupa’s contact centre team to feed its customer knowledge and experience into the process.

Art Gallery of NSW taps Facebook Messenger chatbot

The Art Gallery of NSW created a Facebook Messenger chatbot to encourage visitors to engage with the artworks of Takashi Murakami in its recent Japan Supernatural exhibition.

The gallery wanted a more engaging mobile capability for future exhibitions following the use of a chatbot put its Japan Supernatural exhibition right into the hands of potential visitors.

Credit: Art Gallery NSW

The gallery expected its audience for this exhibition would skew younger, which meant towards the more digitally-engaged visitor than other exhibitions. Seeing an opportunity to try something new and different, it joined forces with Yarnly.ai, a full-size chatbot and voice agency, which supports new channels of communication through new and emerging technology. 

Lifeline launches chatbot to better support mental health issues

Lifeline Australia developed a #BeALifeline Twitter Direct Message (DM) chatbot to help improve consumer well-being.

The chatbot makes Lifeline’s resources easily discoverable and acts as a touchpoint for primary caregivers to discreetly request support in times of need.

To activate the DM chatbot, family and friends can visit Lifeline’s Twitter homepage and click on ‘Direct Message’ to start a conversation. The Lifeline Chatbot offers three options to seek contact details, advice and information during a crisis. ‘Preventing Suicide’ and ‘Self Harm’ directs users to additional resources, while ‘Get Help Now’ provides contact details to get in touch with trusted professionals over the phone or via text, as well as offers places to seek additional services close by.

AFL footy fan chatbot

The Australian Football League created a Messenger-based chatbot which proved capable of not just of answering common questions, but also improving overall fan engagement.

The AFL has a network of over 50,000 fans who have interacted with the chatbot and, alongside news alerts, the bot's most popular in-season feature is the Friday Footy Quiz, which is taken on average by 6000 people every week.

Conversational chatbot exampleCredit: 123RF.com
Conversational chatbot example

UBank’s AI-powered home loan application assistant

UBank is on its third AI-based customer assist and what it claims is the first digital human home loan application assistant.

Dubbed ‘Mia’, short for my interactive agent, the new offering is built on digital human technology created by New Zealand company, FaceMe. It taps into IBM’s Watson AI engine and is built to help consumers answer real-time questions during the home loan application process.

Mia is designed to answer at least 300 common questions posted by customers about home loan applications. These could range, for example, from ‘what’s your current variable rate?’ to ‘what is classified as an expense?’.

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