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Chris K Leslie

Chris K Leslie Digital Operations

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Chatbots, BDC's of the Future?

Octane AI, a company that offers tools to create chatbots for Facebook Messenger, has developed a tool that packages a predefined message thread into an individual piece of content. Called Convos, these episodic conversations can be distributed as links outside of Messenger.


In November, Facebook provided a way for people, primarily bot makers, to add referral codes to Messenger links. These referral codes could be used to tell the bot something about where the person on the end of the conversation was coming from or what they were looking for.


Referral links remove the need for any introductory rigamarole, as well as any uncertainty as to why someone might want to converse with a Messenger bot. Instead of all the small talk, the links send them straight into a particular pre-programmed conversation.


Which means we now have context into our customers intentions. By knowing this information we are able to start the conversation exactly where it needs to be started without having to revert back to qualifying questions. Moving a conversation forward and in the direction we want it to go. 


All through automation and expanding or limiting the scope of the questions being presented.


Esentially taking those flow charts and scripts we use to train and turning them into a fully interactive experience.


Chatting up a bot is like carrying a conversation with a Westworld host, albeit one lacking a bicameral mind of course.


Convos can be straightforward: bot sends a message or multiple messages, person clicks on one of the predefined reply buttons that triggers a preset response from the bot, rinse, repeat.


In addition to text, responses can contain photos, photo galleries, videos, audio and buttons that people can click to visit a website.


Or Convos can be more interactive than a color-by-numbers conversation. People can be presented with multiple predefined reply buttons that fork the conversation into different directions. Maybe a convo goes into finding out the best scenic drives outside the city for example.


With the abilities of chatbots now and in the future. How do you see this new technology working in your dealership?


Is it possible that chatbots might be the BDC's of the future?


Russ Chandler

Nice post Chris! I'm interested to watch the number of areas of a dealer website that some type of AI (artificial intelligence ) can be trained to produce a better consumer experience. Which in turn produces a better result for the dealership. 

Chris K Leslie

Thank you Russ! That means a lot coming from you as you post some really great stuff yourself. 

I know it's a bit taboo but you can't help but wonder if a mix of chatbots and something like conversica could produce results equal to a human. 

Russ Chandler

It's a great question and is very relevant to the digital retailing buzz going on right now. Clearly consumers want their shopping process to take place online but still desire a physical visit to the dealership to complete the purchase opposed to an eCommerce transaction. 

The most widely known digital retailing solutions in the market right now struggle to produce good results because their difficult to use. Even so, website visitors aren't willing to accept help from a live person from the dealership. 

You could make a case for adding a layer of AI or training the digital retailing solution to react to the user in more of a conversational format. Essentially creating a conversation-like interaction between the consumer and the digital retailing solution. 

My point being that artificial intelligence in the form of a human like Conversica or in the format of 1 to 1 personalization, is likely to take off in the soon future.

Think about what its like to shop on Amazon, you never talk to a real person yet have a very conversation-like experience on their site. 

Sandu Fernando

Interesting article ! Especially the part about bicameral mind :)

But I believe the AI technology is not ready yet to replace the BDC. However, I believe with a chat bot you can certainly complement the BDC department, as the chat bot can work around the clock, 7 days a week, and be available where the user is whether its the dealership website, facebook messenger, or another messaging platform.

As a shameless plug I would like to add, that we, at Pulse CRM are currently working on a chat bot for dealerships, that can communicate with website visitors, facebook messenger, skype, and even via text messages.


Really makes you think... Amazing how technology keeps advancing... Honestly, I am sure there are some dealerships where this might be more effective! 

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