The brand new Ad formation already wrote about it last week. In a survey by DVJ Insights, 55% of MarCom professionals surveyed indicate that they have high expectations of Artificial Intelligence (AI). And when you think of AI, you quickly come to the phenomenon of 'chatbots' when it comes to online.

Chatbots allow customers and visitors to connect with your company 24 hours a day. What are the advantages of a chatbot? And is there a future in this technology?

15% sometimes use a chatbot

Recently, Drift conducted a study among 1051 US respondents in the period October-November 2017. Respondents were asked how they had contacted companies in the past 12 months. 15% of respondents indicated that they have used a chatbot for this.

Of course, 15% is not very much, but what is the potential for the chatbot in the future? The survey also asked what problems respondents encountered during their online experiences. The following answers emerged:

The problems that most respondents experience online are “Sites hard to navigate” (34%), “Can't get answers to simple questions” (31%) and “Basic details about a business are hard to find” (28%) . At first, these seem like problems that could be solved by a chatbot. A perfect match!

What does the user expect from a chatbot?

When asked what users expect from the solutions that a chatbot can offer, a slightly different picture emerges.

Most users expect a chatbot to provide them with a quick answer in an emergency (“Getting a quick answer in an emergency”, 37%). That in itself is a remarkable answer. In an emergency, common sense would say that you would like to speak to an employee of a company and it does not make much sense to start a conversation with a chatbot.

The second expectation is more in line with the possibilities of a chatbot, “Resolving a complaint or problem” (35%). Chatbots are already widely used for this. With BlueBot, KLM has given the user an option to help book a ticket or answer questions. And the bot is used extensively: In 2016 alone, more than 1.7 million messages were sent with the bot, reaching 500.000 customers.

The third expectation is again a difficult one, “Getting detailed answers or explanations” (35%). Detailed answers or help is exactly something that a chatbot cannot yet (really) help with. When users are looking for details or very specific information, you would say that it makes more sense to contact a company employee.

Where are the opportunities for the chatbot?

Although respondents in this study have expectations of bots that may not be met, there are still plenty of areas where bots can play a significant role. For example, making a reservation, paying a bill, requesting contact information from an employee or using a chatbot as a refined search function to obtain information that you cannot find 1-2-3 on the site. These are clearly areas where chatbots can, and often do, play a role. If a chatbot is used in addition to all existing contact and interaction methods, that 15% use could easily increase further in the future.