Healthbots: Conversations That Drive Health
Imagine a world where you have a voice interface with an AI-powered healthcare provider with perfect recall of your medical history and a better bedside manner than your own doctor. You can’t, can you? The beauty of healthbots is multifold. First off, you get an on-demand response to your need for health information. Secondly, you can control the way the content is disseminated — in part by humanizing it to make it friendly. And thirdly, it’s always a 2-way conversation that builds a relationship, with the continual dialogue feeding the ability to be personalized as the bot gets to know you, its audience.
Healthbots are what’s next
Chatbots in the health arena have enormous potential because patients and caregivers are actively searching for information, guidance, and support. One night you find yourself googling for health information for your mother and a chatbot pops up in your window offering to be of service. A brand can play a key role in that scenario and be the steward that ensures an informed conversation. The great thing about a chatbot is it doesn’t talk at you; it converses with you, getting to know you and responding in ways that become more and more personal. An advantage of chatbots is they can become your personal concierge, there to be with answers to your specific questions, 24/7. They don’t sleep — so when you’re up in the middle of the night wrestling with a question, you can go online and get a tailored answer and even have a conversation if you’re in the mood. Another advantage is chatbots try hard to replicate human behavior; this means their responses are friendly and supportive, which makes you even more likely to share personal information. This has a circular effect: the more you share, the more the chatbot can personalize its responses because it’s a learning engine. Being a learning engine is yet another chatbot plus — the more they learn about you and your needs, the more they know how to be of the best service to you.
If your brand is the sponsor of a chatbot service, you now have an opportunity to own a new kind of unique conversation. The chatbot will have access to a new level of personalized data that can be continually optimized; it will also be able to further personalize the experience and build a relationship with your customer. Chatbots are not only the future of retail; they’re the future of the health experience. They’ll become your health concierge for dealing with an illness, even your wellness. They’ll be there for your entire health and wellness journey with personalized solutions to your increasing amount of concerns — not to mention they’ll be there to lend their support, too. These learning engines are the new way to build relationships with customers in a way that respects where the future is headed.
So how do we think about healthbots?
It’s essential that we think of them as an extension of our brand offering — a value-added service. That said, from the consumer’s POV, it’s usually “What’s in it for me?” and “Why do I care?” Well, if I know I have a friendly bot by my side, whether I have a chronic or terminal illness, I’ll feel supported by a friendly, caring source instead of feeling alone. It can help guide me through the rough times by virtue of the way the chatbot interacts with me.
Bots of today and tomorrow
The other day I signed up for Poncho, the weatherbot, and I have to admit he’s rather charming and personable — kind of like weatherman meets friend. Now I have my local weather report popping up on my mobile device twice a day from a functional bot with a bit of humanization; he prepares me for the weather with funny interactions the more I engage with him, plus he serves up amusing prompts around wardrobe and hair that make for an engaging experience.
An even more personal chatbot experience happens with OWLY. It’s a friendbot who’s there to offer you advice about life like a friend would, even inspiration and wisdom. The more you interact with OWLY and OWLY gets to know you (honestly), the more intelligent it becomes with its answers to your life situations. This not only builds a relationship with you, the end-user, but it’s sticky and connective; the experience gets more and more personal. Imagine a chatbot that knows enough about you that you keep going back for more advice about love, work, money, really anything — because OWLY is a learning engine.
The thing about chatbots is they, like humans, need time to build a relationship. The more they get to know and deepen their relationship with you, the more their guidance and prompts can be tailored specifically for you.
Chatbots gone healthy
So, as you begin to ponder what healthbots represent, know this: they’re the present and future of health tech and personalized medicine. They have the power to become the conduit from brand to consumer to deliver a personalized concierge health experience, one that has the potential to be meaningful to someone experiencing a health challenge. And you, as a company, have the power to bring this friendly on-demand learning engine to the fore and be a visionary in a new type of value-added service — one of support, understanding, and empathy to your customer. This promises to build relationships, which will ultimately build health and loyalty.