Contextual Chatbot Powered By Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Its Use Cases

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Raj Joseph - January 14, 2019

Artificial Intelligence

Contextual Chatbot Powered By Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Its Use Cases

As human beings, our brains are hardwired to behave in a contextual manner. We interact with our friends in a different way, build a network with our bosses in a different way, and express our feeling with our families in a different way. Our language and tone changes depending upon the situations we are in. It is impossible to interpret or understand any action or behavior without taking into account any context. This holds true for human behavior, undoubtedly. In the changing technological landscape, this statement has become equally valid in the milieu of customer engagements brought about via chatbots. 

Understanding the context becomes especially challenging and important in the absence of face-to-face interactions and lack of availability of visual cues as in the case of chatbots. So, a contextual chatbot equipped with the ability to perfectly interpret the user sentiments with just the medium of voice and text is highly essential for successful customer-brand engagements. A contextual chatbot is the one which communicates your finest value proposition to your consumers.   

I feel developing contextual chatbots to foster intelligent, meaningful, and personalized conversations between users and chatbots need the utilization of Artificial Intelligence(AI). What sets normal chatbots apart from contextual chatbots is that unlike keyword-based conversations of normal chatbots, the later can even decipher user patterns based on data. By making the use of machine learning and deep learning, contextual chatbots can hone these kinds of self-improvement skills and become smart analytical models. 

To help better understand the usage and advantages of contextual chatbot powered by artificial intelligence, I would like to quote a simple example. We all use food delivery applications to order food from our favorite restaurants. Those chatbots are contextual chatbots because they store your previous order history and based on these previous conversations, they form an understanding of what you like to order and eat. After a few consecutive orders, the contextual chatbot will remember your payment information, your delivery address, and your favorite order/restaurant. So, the next time you place an order, you will just need to confirm these details and your order will be placed!

This basic example shows the power of applying Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to the chatbot models in order to make them more contextual, relevant, and personalized. For chatbots to become customized and satisfy the users, it is essential to think from the user’s perspective and understand what makes them happy. Deep Learning technology lets you do just that. It is a subset of machine learning which comprises algorithms inspired by human brains. Just the way humans learn from experiences, deep learning enables applications like chatbots to learn from the repeatedly performed tasks to improve the performance next time. 

Another component of artificial intelligence which I consider worth mentioning in this conversation of contextual chatbots is that of Natural Language Processing (NLP). It is a combination of computational techniques which give applications the ability to comprehend human natural language just the way in which it is spoken. Highly relevant in today’s world, it forms the backbone of numerous applications that we use today – from simple spell checks to translation apps. NLP enables chatbots to extract the relevant data from conversations with users, thus making them smarter and contextual during the subsequent conversations. 

NLP is the technology of artificial intelligence which helps chatbots process the intent behind the user performing a specific action rather than simply following the orders. This component makes the contextual chatbot more humane by training it about the several interactions it may have to have with the users, thus helping in streamlining the responses. In simple terms, NLP allows the contextual chatbot to understand what is being said by the user and what the expected reaction is. Amazon’s Alexa is the best example of how integrating NLP in applications allows chatbots to understand the messages, interpret them, and formulate an appropriate response. 

To cut the long story short, contextual chatbots powered by artificial intelligence are not just impacting personal lives but they are also revolutionizing the way businesses are conducted and the way in which marketing is done. Here are some of the popular use cases of contextual chatbots powered by AI which I think give a fairly appropriate idea of how they are affecting various sectors and industries-

1. Contextual Chatbots in Food Industry

Numerous popular eateries and restaurants have integrated chatbots in their systems which help customers to place orders via their messaging bots like Facebook chat messenger and Twitter. The list of food giants who use contextual chatbots includes names like Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Burger King, Dominos, and Wings Top. 

Pizza Hut, Burger King and Wings Top don’t just allow you to place orders via Facebook Messenger but they also let you reorder your favorites, let you access the latest promotions, and help you with information such as nearest outlet –  all through the chatbot. Taco Bell uses its own chatbot powered by artificial intelligence – TacoBot – wherein we can place orders directly via the internal messaging app called Slack which is used by many of the business firms nowadays. 

2. Healthcare and Chatbots

When chatbots were introduced in the sphere of medicine, they garnered immense criticism from the medical fraternity. Several doubts were raised regarding their accuracy and authority. However, there are some chatbot applications such as Medwhat, Health tap, UCLA medical center, and Woebot which help patients manage their mental and physical health better by making medical diagnoses more accessible, transparent, and fast. 

Medwhat accurately answers our questions based on its interactions and analysis of human behavior. It is a deep learning based chatbot which also bases its diagnosis on the vast amount of medical data and research that it can access. Woebot is a personalized chatbot that analyses the mood of the user based on the emoticons and texts. It then offers accurate advice and suggestions to the user to improve his or her mental health. Healthtap is a unique chatbot which aims to make knowledge of the healthcare domain more accessible to users. It has a Facebook chatbot through which users can access the company’s knowledge library of articles. 

3. Artificial Intelligence powered chatbots in Travel Industry

I think the travel industry is the industry which can reap immense benefits by integrating personalized, contextual chatbots in their services. There are already a few companies such as Snap Travel, KLM, Skyscanner, Expedia etc which are using bot messengers to interact with customers. 

Snap Travel has an artificial intelligence powered chatbot which browses more than 100 websites to give you the best hotel deal based on your budget. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines offers its customers a bot on Facebook where they can receive all the flight information, reminders, updates, and boarding pass at one place. Skyscanner’s bot on Facebook messenger helps you search for flights online while Expedia’s NLP powered bot helps you book hotels based on your requirements. 

4. Use of AI chatbots in the Fashion industry

Sephora, the popular French cosmetic and Beauty brand, was one of the earliest fashion companies to venture into the artificial intelligence domain when it launched its chatbot on Kik in 2016. The chatbot prompts users to answer a basic quiz about their tastes and requirements. It then provides you with the best product recommendations based on your answers, just like a real salesperson would. 

Similarly, Tommy Hilfiger and Burberry too integrated contextual chatbots in their system, though to serve different purposes. “TMY.GRL,” the Tommy Hilfiger chatbot was developed with the aim of providing users with a concierge-like experience by understanding the context, intent, and habits of the users. The Burberry chatbot for Messenger was developed in order to update the users about the latest collection. Even the fashion brand H&M launched a chatbot on Kik Messenger to allow consumers to access their catalog and purchase products from it. Similar to the Sephora chatbot, the H&M chatbot too begins by asking a few basic questions to the users regarding style preferences and requirements before suggesting products. 

Overall, there are quite a few companies in the fashion industry which are using chatbots to drive user engagement and deliver services that they are seeking.  

5. Finance Sector and Contextual Chatbots

With a large percentage of the population needing help for financial transactions, there is ample scope for artificial intelligence based tools to solve problems and help people. Some financial institutions and banks have already taken this trend in stride and have come up with contextual chatbots that assist people in financial matters.

Bank of America has come up with a digital assistant in the form of a chatbot named Erica which helps users create healthier money habits by communicating with them about beneficial schemes. Wells Fargo has a Facebook chatbot which addresses queries of customers regarding bank/ATM branches and locations, account transactions, and deposits. Similar to Wells Fargo’s chatbot is the chatbot of Capital One Financial which has been developed to interact with their customers and answer their questions regarding their accounts and help them make online payments. Another financial chatbot powered by AI which I find worth mentioning is that of BBVA. Customers of this bank can transfer money through the messenger chatbots of Telegram and Facebook Messenger.   

6. Smart homes with automation

Though the concept of artificial intelligence powered smart homes has been around for quite a few years now, it is only recently that home automation with devices that anticipate and fulfill your demands has started making its presence felt. Revolutionary ventures by companies like Netatmo are taking us a step closer to realizing the home automation dream. With total connectivity and interoperability which can be controlled by a single messenger chatbot in smartphones, such smart homes are surely on the cards soon. 

7. Personal shopping assistants on E-Commerce Websites

I believe that E-Commerce domain has innumerable opportunities to exploit the technology of artificial intelligence and machine learning and integrate it to come up with new features that enhance the user experience. Though quite a few e-commerce platforms like eBay, Kip, Whole Foods, and 1800 flowers have embraced this technology in the form of their chatbots, most other platforms are yet to grasp the benefits it can provide. 

The eBay shopbot is like a personal shopping assistant that helps you with suggestions, choices, and recommendations on which products to buy. Not only that, but it also informs you about the offers and deals on various products. Thanks to the use of deep learning algorithms combined with Natural Language Processing, the eBay shopbot recommends the closest-fit options to your searches. 

Whole Foods chatbot is the application of artificial intelligence on a whole new level. In conjunction with the Facebook Messenger bot, it suggests recipes for meals based on the food products that you have browsed or shopped for on the Whole Foods platform. That’s revolutionary, isn’t it?

Conclusion

Artificial Intelligence is seeping into our lives at a breath-taking pace, and the day is not far when we will fully integrate contextual chatbots in our lives to reap maximum benefits. AI is making life simpler for us in many ways and contextual chatbots are the best examples of how it is being done. 

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