The Anti-chatbot?

People often have the same complaints about chatbots:

  • Chatbots don’t seem very smart
  • Chatbots don’t actually answer my questions
  • Chatbots seem like they are just contact forms
  • I typically have to wait for a human to answer my question (and they take too long)

The most successful brands engender passion and loyalty from their customers; they accomplish this by putting customers first. Whether you are B2B, or B2C, mega-brand or small niche, there are too many options for buyers in every category for companies to simply rely on good marketing and sales. It’s not enough to have a great product anymore. Your customers have to feel prioritized at every step of the experience.

So what does this have to do with chatbots? Buyers spend more of their time researching than ever before. For B2B, 75% of the buying cycle is done before a potential customer engages you directly. With B2C/DTC, self-service preference is closer to 95%. The new reality is your prospects prefer to self serve, avoiding sales interactions whenever possible. These potential buyers want good information on demand, and they don’t want to have to hunt or wait for it. Traditional chatbots don’t solve this problem, and these bad experiences often make customers feel commoditized, not prioritized.

Traditional chatbots rely on live chat to actually provide any value, which requires the following 4 things to be true to deliver a positive ROI:

  1. 30 seconds or less response times. Historically, you’re going to lose greater than 80% of your customers if you don’t respond in 30 seconds or less. Anecdotally, in an on-demand world people are getting more impatient, not less.
  2. Live chat agents must have good information. High converting live chat solutions occur when the agent knows a lot about your products.
  3. 24x7 availability. The people who can buy your products are probably working during business hours - there’s a reason hardware stores and supermarkets are busiest on the weekends! If you want to catch your prospects when they are online, you have to be available around the clock.
  4. High purchase value/ACV. If you take standard conversion rates (2% website conversion rate, 20% sales lead conversion rate) you have to have an ACV (annual customer value) over $40K to deliver an ROI for a live chat rep.

We visited 1500 websites that have live chat or chatbots operating in the United States during normal business hours to see how many of them fit these criteria. 84% of them didn’t pass the first metric - after waiting more than a minute, we had to abandon chat on almost 90% of websites. Not all of these were small businesses; in fact, one of the largest SaaS companies had the worst chatbot, involving an epic list of questions and at no point could you ever reach a person.

And yet, human behavior isn’t changing - your customers (or potential customers) want answers on their terms. Brands that simplify the research process are easier to buy from. Just like a successful e-commerce site makes it easier to complete a transaction, automated sales and support makes it easier to make the purchase decision.

Conversation is still the most efficient way to deliver personalized information. The best website design isn’t better than just allowing your customer to ask their question naturally and get an accurate answer.

What is an Anti-chatbot?

Traditional chatbots provide the opposite experience your customers desire. The way to turn your potential customers into new customers, or keep your current customers happy, is to enable their preferred behavior:

  1. Respond instantly.
  2. Provide accurate information.
  3. Be available 24x7.
  4. Engage all customers, whether they are spending $50, or $50K.

Imagine a conversational system that knew everything about your product catalog, or had read and learned from every prior conversation with sales and support. Wouldn’t it be great if you could have automation handle all your level 1 sales and support questions, so your human teams could focus on higher value conversations? Wouldn’t the people currently handling these repetitive tasks also think this was great? Imagine a system that learned every day, and continued to learn over time; not just another dialog scripting tool, but a resource that made your customer feel informed and confident in their purchasing decision.

This is Gamalon

Gamalon was founded as part of a DARPA-funded joint research project between Gamalon, Stanford, and MIT to create explainable AI. This research solved a unique problem in natural language technology. Businesses don’t want unpredictable, black-box machine learning to talk to their customers; they want to have control over the customer experience. Businesses want the automation and machine learning benefits of AI, without the pain of having to script every permutation of dialog. They want an easy interface to manage the AI, and to have good customer conversations increase the AI’s knowledge.

The painful reality is most companies don’t have tens-of-thousands of clean conversations to train an AI; even if they did, they would want an interface that provides visibility into what the AI knows so they can edit and curate responses. Rather than scale up around-the-clock level-1 sales and support agents, you can instead optimize the conversational experience like a new kind of SEO; one in which your customers tell you what’s important, and the AI automates delivering the response exactly how your customers expect: instantly and accurately.

The best human reps ask contextually specific question to guide the customer to the right solution. To solve for this in an automated conversational experience, Gamalon had to solve 3 interesting problems:

  1. Context - Gamalon keeps track of everything the visitor knows about from the conversation, so it can provide relevant information.
  2. Proactive Dialog - Gamalon not only answers questions, it asks them whenever possible in both sales and support conversations.
  3. Next best action - Gamalon knows the goal of any conversation is to reach an end, such as solving a customer’s problem, recommending the appropriate next-step in the sales process, or simply recommending a specific product.

These aren’t standard natural language understanding problems, but they are critical to delivering a better conversational experience.

Here is what one of our first customers said about Gamalon:

“It doesn’t feel like software, it feels more like a new employee.” Lars, CMO @ AskCody

Our vision at Gamalon goes beyond being a new employee - we want Gamalon to be your most informed and helpful employee.

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