Sites, Apps and Bots
There are three ways to provide self service options to a company. You can direct them to your website, you can convince them to install your mobile app (and use more than twice)… or you can have them text your bot.
You might not think of it this way, but a web site allows you to interact with a company directly. When you order a new pair of shoes from Zappos.com, you are making a request directly to the company by adding your order directly into the information system of the company. It’s efficient, scalable, friendly for the consumer. If you have a browser handy, web sites rule.
And, if you don’t… but you have a smart phone… mobile applications are the rule. Optimized for limited screen real estate and mobility, a mobile app can replace much of the full desktop experience for those of us on the go. It’s somewhat immaterial wether if the mobile app is a real app, or a mobile-friendly site. It allows you to directly connect to a business, with all of the efficiency of the full web site, when you are on your phone.
So, if the browser gives you the best experience, and the mobile provides an anywhere solution, then bots provide you the best anyone solution. In essence, a bot is a translator between a person and program. Bots provide the most efficient channel between a company and it’s customers for two reasons. On the cost savings side, bots are much less expensive to develop, deploy and maintain in comparison to both web and mobile applications. There’s no pixels involved, no apps to install and no training to provide. On the ‘anyone’ side, a bot can attach to any messaging network, speak any language and converse with anyone who happens to have thumbs on them. If you want to canvas the population of the earth to find just one person, I dare you to beat the efficiency of a bot.
So, here’s the cheat sheet:
Use Sites When
Use sites when any complication is involved, either in the creation or consumption of content, lots of choices or when a desktop application used to be used.
Use Apps When
Use apps when the problems are small and easy to solve, or when resources like location or the camera are required. Apps are great for small, packaged solutions.
Use Bots When
Use bots when the budgets are small, time is short, or maximum populations need to be penetrated. Bots are great when you have to stretch a dollar a long way.