2016 has been the year of the chatbot. Since the feature was announced at F8 in April 2016, the number of bots on Facebook Messenger have grown to over 33,000 on the platform to date.
But how have organizations learned from chatbot issues like Microsoft's Tay to manage chatbot interactions with consumers in 2017?
Chatbots can bring scale for customer interactions They are, however, limited to set contexts and often lack human empathy and connection to customers.
New York based conversation management software company LiveWorld has launched its chatbot management tools for Facebook Messenger. The tool enables brands to scale customer interactions by getting chatbots to automatically handoff to live human agents when needed.
It transfers the conversation and past interaction to live human agents so that the human can engage and provide assistance.
Its tools track, escalate, engage, and manage chatbot interactions, and offers brands and developers an open API to integrate chatbots with Facebook Messenger. The software shows whether the chatbot or human agent is maintaining the conversation.
The tools also manage Messenger, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Jive, custom apps and web sites.
The conversation status is tracked so brands can identify and prioritize high-opportunity and high-risk conversations for escalation where appropriate.
Customer profiles capture previous conversations, social media activity, and internal company notes.
The tool also provides Integration with Salesforce software so that the CRM customer profiles can be updated with each social touch.
Peter Friedman, LiveWorld Chairman and CEO said: "This new solution makes chatbots practical and effective for brands. Chatbots enable customers to interact with brands, but often leave consumers wanting more personalized communication.
Our software fills in this critical missing piece by seamlessly integrating the chatbot and live human agent experience."
Friedman also reckons that 2017 will be a big year for messaging apps to make websites irrelevant.
Although he does not think that websites will become obsolete in a year, he thinks that retailers will be capturing human behaviour in commerce, having a stronger focus on messaging apps signalling the beginning of the end for websites.
Facebook Messenger is the leading messaging platform so it makes a lot of sense for brands to use it to connect with consumers. The problem is that chatbot interactions can only hold a meaningful customer conversation for so long.
We still want to talk to a human when we have a problem. Achieving seamless chatbot and human integration seems like a winning combination for brands that want to improve their customer experience.