C hat Bots Conquer All

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Nick Cotton Apr 12, 2016

When the bots take over everything, remember: it all started with text messages.

Any mobile carrier that used to charge people for text messages is culpable for the state we are now in. They charged users for a service which cost the carrier almost nothing and racked up cash, by charging fees when users went over the plans’ artificial limitations. The most frequent target for this scheme was kids, who frequently texted with abandon.

Kids prefer to text each other over talking on the phone. All those text messages made the monthly phone bill blow up in parent’s faces. Fights happened. Threats were ignored. Kids kept texting and parents remained mystified as to why their 13 year old would complain about writing a 2 page book report, yet had no problem writing endless text messages.

Enter the messaging apps. With a quick download, kids could access software which allowed them to send “texts” via their data plan. The data costs of sending a message were nothing compared to the inflated cost of texting, which meant less parental threats to confiscate the phone. On top of that, these apps provided a layer of privacy. By using apps adults had never heard of, parents had no clue where to look if they wanted to snoop on their child’s communication with friends.  

Fast forward to 2016. A key demographics is using messaging platforms as their primary means of communication. Naturally, businesses want to be where young people are, but how does anyone scale communicating with vast audience, on networks designed for one-to-one communication?

Chat Bots are the answer. Not to be confused with Artificial Intelligence, Chat Bots are little bits of code supported by extensive spreadsheets. Right now they work very simply. A user types in “Hi” and the code looks to the spreadsheet for its designated response, and replies: “Hello [username], can I show you today’s AMAZING sales on [featured product]?”

As these chat bots become more sophisticated, every business will have a bot that will be capable of guiding a user all the way through the payment process. The goal is to make it so users never have to leave the messaging platform to buy stuff. Less friction equals more purchases. Chat Bots are the next generation of sales lubricant.

That’s why Facebook’s announcement has shaken the social media marketing landscape. For the first time, businesses will be given a window into one of the largest messaging platforms which has – until now – sheltered its treasured youth demographic. As of April 11th, anyone can purchase a chat bot, customize its matrix, and set it loose on all those unassuming millennials.

How long will it take the youth to run to the next new thing? That all depends on how smart we make our bots.  

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