I recently had a conversation about chatbots with a credit union marketer named Kevin. After our conversation, I sent him an email that shows three ways chatbots are being used and five examples. I want to share my email because it has valuable information for anyone ready to embrace this Internet-changing technology. Here’s the email:
I’ve been thinking a lot about chatbots since our conversation yesterday. As I’ve thought about how chatbots are being used, I’ve identified three main use cases:
1. Help users find the right products
Credit unions frequently offer multiple products within a single category. For example, credit unions often have multiple credit card offerings. To help a user find the card that’s best for him, a good solution is to show a comparison table. But in some cases, a more friendly and intelligent way to help users select products is with chatbots.
Here’s a prototype of a chatbot we’re building for Spirit of Alaska FCU: Aurora Chatbot Prototype. Based on user inputs, the chatbot recommends either the Platinum or Share Secured card. The prototype is very simple because it’s only meant to convey the basic concept, but it could be programmed to be as robust as we want.
UPDATE, 18 May 2017: Aurora is now live on spiritofak.com. You can find her on the homepage and a few subpages, too.
2. Answer questions and act as a conversational search engine
Credit union website visitors have lots of questions about all sorts of products and services. Visitors can’t always find the answers they’re looking for, at least not easily. When users can’t find the information they’re looking for, some call the credit union’s call center, but most just leave the site and go somewhere else where they can find answers.
Jenn, Alaska Air’s chatbot, is designed to answer questions and act as a conversational search engine. Jenn makes it easy to find information about all sorts of things, like baggage fees. All you have to do is type your question and hit enter. She’s kind of like a search engine, but better. Better because she’s more intelligent than traditional search engines. In almost every case I’ve seen, she gives you the answer you want without having to weed through search results; it’s refreshingly simple.
3. Guide users through processes
Credit unions have lots processes they want users to go through. For example, credit union websites have lots of applications. There’s an application for almost everything: every loan, every account, and every service. And many of these applications are loooong. Long application forms can be daunting and frustrating; that’s why not every person who starts an application finishes it.
These processes could be simplified and friendly-fied with chatbots. Here are a few examples of chatbots that automate and simplify complex processes:
(a) Jack makes the quote process for business insurance really friendly and simple by using a chatbot.
(b) The homepage of Progressive.com also makes the process of getting a quote intuitive by using a conversational user interface (it’s essentially the same as a chatbot).
(c) At BloomCU, we use a chatbot named Chip to guide users through a multi-step demo of our personalization technology. What Chip the Chatbot does in this demo is really valuable for us because he (1) makes the demo really simple for users and (2) does demos 24/7/365 without any human assistance. As a result of Chip’s demo skills, marketers want to talk with us—marketers like you.
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