People want to talk to people, not brands. Isn’t that what we’ve been saying for years now on social media? “Humanize the brand!” I’ve never heard anyone say “We need to roboticize the brand!”
That’s why I think, at least for right now, the on-demand, SMS assistants, like Hello Alfred, Magic, and Text Engine (our bot), are a better bet than “customer service chatbots”. These services use SMS as a direct to consumer communication channel to get customers what they want, to ask them the relevant questions, to place the specific orders they want —that’s what we’re focused on.
We employ real human beings on the back end. While we do incorporate some AI, we don’t try to trick our users into thinking our SMS chatbot is a person. The AI is there to make the user/customer experience more enjoyable, to increase user engagement, and most of all to get the user to a human assistant when needed. That’s what’s important to us at Text Engine.
We’ve been speaking to — or trying to speak to — machines for long enough already. Automated customer service; automated phone answering systems; “press 1 to kill yourself now, or press 5 to end your life”; etc. We’ve been there, done that. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t feel like he’s trapped in the Matrix when talking to a machine.