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Microsoft’s goal is to empower every person on the planet to do more. But as our lives continue to get more and more hectic every day what technologies allow us to really achieve that? Bots may be the answer.

Three women and one man standing in a line on their smartphones, leaning against a window. AI in healthcare-chatbot opportunityWe’ve all been there. Sat on the end of a phone. On hold. Feeling ignored. Feeling frustrated. Time ticking away while we wait to solve a problem that should only take minutes. Some of us are even blocked further by language or accessibility barriers.

Meanwhile, it’s no picnic for the businesses we interact with. They are feeling the pain of customers dissatisfaction while they see their reputation drop and costs continue to rise.

Bots may seem like a step into our sci-fi future for many. Something for tomorrow, inaccessible or even unachievable. But the reality is they are here, and many are reaping the rewards already today.

What is a bot?

A bot is essentially a software program that can interact in a conversational way, using data, machine learning, and AI.

Bots let users navigate intelligent solutions and systems in a way that comes naturally. The user doesn’t need to decipher a complicated website or worry about what to do next in an application, they can simply chat as though they were talking to a human and be led to their goal.

Conversations such as

“I need to renew my parking permit”

“Where is my delivery?”

“I’d like to report a pothole”

Bots can take the complication out of what should be simple processes. They’re there 24/7. They speak in a natural way, when the user needs them.  No more waiting on the end of the phone!

What is a bot?

What could it mean for me?

We are seeing more and more businesses and consumers reaping the benefit of bots.

As a customer, a bot could mean instead of waiting on hold to get a question answered or having to start at the beginning every time, you are provided with personalised, anticipatory services and instant access to information – anywhere, anytime, and on any device.

It could mean being empowered to have a conversation in the language most comfortable to you or in an accessible way. All of this means a better, and more personalised, customer experience.

For a business, a bot could drive efficiencies, reduce costs, and allow them to engage more effectively with their employees and customers alike.

The bot could filter the day-to-day repetitive tasks leaving more time for the organisation to focus on the important workloads that require more attention. This could mean customers becoming advocates, a competitive advantage in the marketplace, and no more costly call centre queues.

Benefits of a chatbot

Is a bot the answer?

Bots aren’t a magic bullet. They are great at repetitive transactional problems but will struggle with complex subjective choices so choosing the right tasks for them is key. Success will come from creating seamless interactions between people and bots and tying together the unique values of both to get the best results.

How do you know when a bot is right?

Ask yourself this:How do you know when a bot is right? Could the bot easily solve the user’s problem with the minimum number of steps? Will the bot solve the user’s problem better/easier/faster than any of the alternative experiences? Could the bot run on the devices and platforms the user cares about?

If the answer is yes, then a bot could be the right solution. You could be on the right track to better service. Better value. Better relationships. As a customer surely that’s better than being on hold?

Find out more

Learn how to create intelligent bots

Build a bot in under 3 minutes

Discover how Microsoft Services can help

About the author

Andrew GoodingAndrew Gooding advises leaders in the UK on digital transformation and how to utilise technology to get the best out of their businesses and people. His passion is sparking excitement in innovation and helping customers understand what the future could look like. As well as leading Microsoft Services delivery engagements, Andrew works with customers helping them turn ideas into transformational business results.