2017: the year of the chatbot

6 Jul 2017 - 11:00


Do you remember the glorious year of 2008 – when the brand-new ‘app’ was the talk of the town? Well, 2017 promises to be the same thing for the up-and-coming chatbot. But what exactly is a chatbot, how does it work – and what are its advantages? We’re breaking it down for you.  

What is a chatbot – and how does it work?

Easily put, a chatbot is an automated system that conducts a conversation with a machine. This software usually works with pattern recognition: a couple of patterns that’ll occur in the conversation will be recognised – and there will be an action linked to that pattern. And this is getting more and more advanced: we went from a couple of pre-programmed menus to software that’s able to recognize occurring patterns in a proactive manner. Basically, this means that chatbots aren’t solely capable of recognizing your question – but they also will be able to look for information that might be relevant and useful for the user, without having to be asked.

So basically, we’re teaching chatbots to interpret our language – a concept that’s called Natural Language Processing. This results in a smart chatbot that’s the sum of a great algorithm and an extensive database. The answer you’ll get, will be formed through the combination of the content in said database and the programmed scripts that trigger the chatbot when encountering specific words.

What are the advantages?

Let’s take a look at the advantages of a chatbot, shall we? Because this (not so) novelty has one main goal: the improvement of customer service and the upping of conversion. But how exactly does the bot reach these goals?

  1. First of all, we have to talk about availability: the chatbot works 24h a day, 365 days a year. And although most website traffic lies between 16u and 22u, this constant availability is a definite advantage considering customer service: after all, we’re living in a world where everyone expects to be helped immediately.
  2. Another important advantage lies within the immediate response time of a chatbot – which is so much faster than even the best manned live chat there is. Considering the fact that a user mostly leaves a live chat 30 seconds after getting no response, it’s very important that the response time takes no more than a few seconds.
  3. Following, a chatbot can answer an infinite amount of different chats at the same time – something even the best live chatter can’t manage. That’s why chatbots are especially useful for companies that have loads of daily traffic.
  4. Lastly, we have to talk about the financial advantages of a bot. Roughly estimated, a site with 100 000 visitors can expect 2000 chats per day. And a chat operator can maybe finish 250 chats per day. So, when wanting to be able to help every single customer, this company will need to hire eight fulltime live chat operators. And that monthly fee will be a lot more than the implementation of that one bot that can handle those 2000 conversations all by itself!

What’s so special about MIA?

Mecoms Interactive Agent, also known as ‘MIA’, is an intelligent helpbot that’s based on Ferranti’s Mecoms software – with an added specialised erp for public utilities. But why is MIA ‘better’ than other chatbots – and what makes her stand out?

The technology is very scalable

Which means: the technology behind Mia works for an almost unlimited number of clients. This is great for companies that’re still growing: on the one hand, they don’t need to keep reinvesting to expand – on the other hand, they don’t need to keep on hiring new employees to man the call centre. Next to this, Mia will also be able to go into detail almost as much as an actual person: you will be able to investigate almost every single line on that bill you’re questioning.

But no need to worry: although MIA will actually render some jobs obsolete, this doesn’t have to be a bad thing. After all, only the more repetitive jobs will be computerised – leaving your people more opportunities for thinking about the core of business: how to grow bigger, how to get better, how to move faster, … In other words: the kind of thinking that simply has to be done by a human brain.

MIA has got a human aspect – which is a first!

One of the most refreshing features within MIA? That would absolutely be its ability to read the mood of the user it’s interacting with. That’s because it’s programmed to recognise certain words that people tend to use when mad or frustrated. So, when MIA picks up these words, it will automatically change its tactic with only one goal: getting the user calm and happy again. Isn’t that neat?


Want to know more about the technology behind MIA? Make sure to contact us!