Chatbots Aren’t Dead

February 7, 2018

Chatbots Aren’t Dead

Ethan Bloch, CEO of Digit, a product that helps people automatically save money, has declared “chatbots are dead”, in fact, he questions if they were ever really “alive”. For a long time, chat was the primary interface of Digit, beginning with SMS and expanding into their mobile app. Now, Digit is shifting away from their original chat interface and more towards a graphical user interface, incorporating more buttons to help users manage settings within their app.

While this move makes sense for Digit, their decision should be considered in a broader context.

First, understand that chat might not always be best for whatever job needs to be done. For instance, if I’m holding my iPhone, and need to know how much is available in my checking account, is it easier to type “how much is in my checking” or to open an app and find that information myself? What about if I’m standing in my kitchen next to my Amazon Echo device and I wanted to know “how much have I spent on groceries this past week”? Is it easier to speak to my Alexa Skill or find my phone and open the app? It comes down to the modality of devices accessible to the user at any given time. It’s all about creating simplicity and convenience in a person’s financial life.

It’s all about creating simplicity and convenience in a person’s financial life. #creditunions #AI Click To Tweet

Second, from a technical perspective, creating conversational experiences that feel natural and allow the user to jump back and forth between topics, is incredibly challenging. Before deploying any conversational experience, you must have the ability to design, build, manage, and train dialogue over time. A product must be able to meet user expectations about how they want to speak and what tasks they can or cannot do in the conversational experience. If your underlying product isn’t providing massive amounts of value, like Digit, a frustrating conversational experience will drive people away.

A product must be able to meet user expectations about how they want to speak and what tasks they can or cannot do in the conversational experience. Click To Tweet

Chatbots aren’t dead, however, you need to be diligent in deciding which features of your product can be handled seamlessly by the conversational experience you deploy, it is certainly not one-size-fits-all.

#Chatbots aren’t dead, however, you need to be diligent in deciding which features of your product can be handled seamlessly by the conversational experience you deploy, it is certainly not one-size-fits-all. Click To Tweet

What are your thoughts? Leave your comments down below and let’s start a conversation!