The Disruptors: How AI chatbots are democratising digital conversations
- Credit: David Woodcock
AI chatbots are revolutionising customer service, with an easy solution that bypasses pesky out-of-hours hotlines. The latest in The Disruptors series, Dean Withey, CEO of chatbot builder Ubisend, tells us more.
What was the opportunity you identified that led to the launch of ubisend?
We realised that digital communication can be hit-and-hope, and that rather than guessing what someone wants or sending things we hope they'd like, it would be better for both parties to ask them how we can help, and let them pull the information they need on-demand.
How did you use invention and innovation to disrupt the market?
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We're fundamentally changing how people communicate with businesses. Every consumer should be able to find any useful information from any business at any time of the day.
It will become commonplace for companies to have a 24/7 'concierge service' alongside a website and social media.
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What were the challenges you faced along the way and how did you learn from them?
To engage a single person in a machine-led and productive conversation is tough. It's even tougher when you're designing a tool that talks to thousands of people at once.
So we developed technology that enables us to build custom chatbots for clients, to use within HR, customer service and sales environments.
The chatbot might be used to help an employee find out how much maternity leave they're entitled to, or guide someone through a complicated online sales transaction. Our 'machine-humans' are built bespoke for individual businesses to solve their most pressing challenges.
What's been your proudest moment so far?
The first time the Ubisend team had a meeting without any of the founders present. I realised we'd created something others bought into, and they were driving things forward, creating change and deciding on important things for the company. It was invigorating to see.
If you were starting again, what would you do differently?
I'd take fewer risks with cash flow and keep more of a buffer in the bank. It was tough having people basically respond to our requested 30 day payment term with "We'll pay you at some point in the future."
What advice would you give someone launching a disruptive startup?
Iterate and test quickly to make sure you're selling the right solution to the right problem - before you run out of money.