Could chat bots be the future of marketing?

Ubisend. From left, Alex Debecker, Joe Dixon and Dean Withey.

Ubisend. From left, Alex Debecker, Joe Dixon and Dean Withey. - Credit: Ubisend

As businesses strive for customer service in an era when consumers demand instant gratification artificial intelligence (AI) could meet the demand for the personal touch.

With customers ready to share a bad experience online a software company is hoping its chat bots could give companies a way to reach there clients instantly without using lots of manpower.

Having started out as a platform for businesses to communicate with customers across a range of messaging services Ubisend, based at Whitespace in Norwich's St James Mill, soon found a demand for bespoke AIs to take on some of the messaging workload.

Chief executive Dean Withey said: 'It is about being available to their customers but also changing workflows and making it easier to give good service.

'I could message my local coffee shop to ask if it is open, the chat bot can then reply tell me 'we are open from 8am to 6pm', ask me my order and what time I will be there.'

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Mr Withey said Ubisend was about to be part of a national campaign for a household name which would launch in the next few weeks.

He said: 'Technology has improved and you can now build AIs with character and that is where it is going.

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'For example we could build a chat bot with the personality of that annoying Go Compare man so customers can talk to a familiar character as part of a campaign.'

Ubisend's messaging platform pushes messages to a business's subscribers through their chosen service, reducing the need to monitor multiple social media streams.

Messaging apps have overtaken social media in terms of global users with 4.4 billion people using services worldwide.

Mr Withey said chat bots had been requested to help businesses keep on top of responses to customers as an extension of the platform.

He said: 'There's two things in my opinion driving it, younger people want results now, they don't want to wait for a query to be resolved in 48 hours.

'And people want to reply on their terms, in their own time and on a platform of their choice.'

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