When was the last time you interacted with a messaging bot? Ever?
In the past few years, we have witnessed the moon and plummet of the “bot-hype-cycle.” As is with most technologies, there was tons of excitement over the potential for bots to revolutionize a host of real business use cases. Everyone wanted to and expected to see bots flooding messenger, whatsapp, etc. It would be faster, more efficient, easier to use, etc. Humans suck! Bots rule!
But where are they now? Why do we rarely interact with bots?
The truth: bots were not better. They were not better for customers or businesses. And that is why they “failed.”
David Marcus, the CEO of Messenger, had some thoughts on this:
“At first, everyone over-rotated on, ‘This is the power of a conversation and everything needs to be conversation,’” Marcus said. “The reality is, if you can tap on a button that has a word in it, rather than typing it, you’d much rather do that.”
“The intention was never to say to everyone, ‘You need to build a bot,’” he added. “A ‘bot’ is actually a term we use very freely with developers as a means to say, ‘You can automate some of those interactions.’ People, consumers, don’t want bots, they want to interact with businesses or services and they don’t really care whether it’s automated or not automated, whether it’s actually a bot or not a bot. They just want a great experience.”
I think this is a really good way to put it and a reminder that often times the customer does not really care about the “how it’s done.” They just want functionality and ease of use.
I still think we will see more bots in the inevitable future – soon.