Is conversational data the future of analytics?

There’s no doubt that we’ve begun to see a huge shift in the ways we communicate. Messaging applications, like WhatsApp and WeChat, have begun outpacing the social networks in terms of monthly active users. There has been the rise of wearable devices and the “internet of things” (IoT), and we’ve begun to see even newer platforms like VRChat.

Businesses have followed the social model, investing heavily in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and other recent technologies to find ways to give customers more authentic and flexible experiences, while remaining swift and responsive to their needs.

Of the emerging tech, chatbots have been one of the first platforms to be adopted by businesses in earnest. Which leads us to an interesting question; Is conversational data the future?

Just think about the ways we’re already communicating today. You can ask your phone to give you the weather. Command your Google Home or your Echo to play your favourite music, or turn on the lights. we have messaging apps, chat bots, and virtual assistants that take voice commands. Online you chat with human’s and bots through messaging apps, to engage in commerce, and keep up with current affairs.

All of the data produced by these interactions is what’s known as conversational data, and there’s few greater sources of conversational data, than chatbots.

Conversational data is useful because it shows individual users’ interactions and reactions in real time. Web and app analytics can show you a bounce rate, but conversational data can show you exactly what was last said that made the individual user leave the interface.

Whenever a chatbot answers queries, they can also be programmed to create triggers which capture things like reactions. This analytics data is captured automatically, and can be used for purposes of both testing and product evaluation. The cost for programming a bot can be quite minimal in comparison with methods like user tests – often a costly endeavour.

Just look at what the humble chatbot can already do. A vast range of business processes that can be solved via an integrated chatbot. From automating marketing campaigns, lead generation and conversions, handling P2P (peer-to-peer) payment services, or as a quick interface to provide more flexible customer service options.

What about survey response rates? According to research undertaken by German marketing company Skopos, there was no difference between the completion rates of participants who interacted with a chat interface over a traditional survey interface, although they attributed technical problems as the primary reason for this. What was interesting about their research is that it showed participants enjoyed their interaction with the front-end chat interfaces over other forms of surveys, and chatbot interaction surveys provided data of an equal quality to conventional methods.

In fact, research from inbound marketing company, HubSpot, showed 2 out of 3 customers didn’t even realise they were interacting with a chatbot.

They’re a goldmine of valuable analytics. Chatbots produce a rich source of data for companies to allow them to better understand, segment and engage with their audience.

You’d be forgiven for thinking it sounds as if chatbots and conversational data will be rushing to the rescue of beleaguered departments in just about every type of business.

All of this is conversational data. The information born from our interactions with each other and technology, and the possibilities it offers are practically limitless. Just think, using only the information from user interactions, google turned the google translate interface from a joke into an insanely accurate translator, and this year they launched Chatbase.

The basic idea behind Chatbase is to offer developers and businesses tools to more easily analyse and optimize their chatbots. This includes understanding what works to increase customer conversions, improve the bot’s accuracy, and create a better user experience. Meaning that the conversational data chatbots can understand and provide, is only going to get more detailed.

The chatbots and voice assistants we have right now are only scratching at the surface of the tech’s capabilities. But they’re getting better at understanding what you say, at making themselves understood. They’re learning more about your everyday routine, your tastes, your life.

This past Christmas 53% of Singaporean’s surveyed said they were using a chatbot to help them purchase gifts by sending them product recommendations for their friends and loved ones over. More and more people will begin to employ conversational user interfaces at home, at work, in their cars.

The truth is we are only just starting to realise the potential of AI and the flood of data it’s bringing with it. Experts predict that the adoption and use of conversational UI will only accelerate in 2018.This technology isn’t going anywhere. Engineers and developers will continue to refine it, and find more uses for it. Businesses will continue to implement and adapt to it.

Conversational UI has changed the way we interact with devices, whether they be our phones, smart home assistants or any number of connected IoT devices. So long as we keep talking to the machines, we can expect conversational data to a big part of the future.

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