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BizReport : Advertising : February 10, 2017

Expert: The driving force behind chatbots

Over the past year, the term 'chatbot' has become quite the buzzword. Retailers are beginning to integrate the bots, and other marketers are looking at ways these bots might positively impact their business. One expert believes automation is the key to the rapid growth in this space.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: Many brands are interested in chat bots - why?

Giles House, CMO & EVP, CallidusCloud: Chatbots have proven useful at automating parts of the sales process when customers are looking for a self-service option. By utilizing chatbots, companies are able to reduce the number of potential customers reaching salespeople, which means less salespeople are needed and less is being spent on employee salaries.

Kristina: Are chatbots being vetted as a replacement for human workers?

Giles: [The] purpose isn't always to fully replace employees. Automating the response and fulfillment of basic sales requests offloads these basic tasks from salespeople and allows them to bring value where and when it's needed. Think of the financial services industry: chatbots can help walk potential customers through the basics, and hand a more educated prospect off to a human advisor when the timing is correct.

Kristina: Are there potential problems with their use?

Giles: Chatbots may be a useful automation tool, but chatbots can only handle the questions and responses they are most likely to receive. In any selling situation where the buyer is looking for specialized information delivered in the context of the buyer's business, chatbots are unlikely to deliver feedback decisive to closing the deal.

More from Giles and CallidusCloud next week, including how brands can avoid problematic chatbot areas.

Tags: advertising, CallidusCloud, chatbot trends, customer service, mobile marketing

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