By Michael Franklin
Since the announcement at F8 in 2016, there’s been a proliferation of chatbots looking to provide services to Facebook users, with varying degrees of success.
An immediate hype cycle followed with writers proclaiming how chatbots would change the world, before this over-excitement had to be rowed back. Aspirations ran far ahead of the capabilities of natural language technology, and instead of presenting users with broad functionalities that were true to the conversational interface, most chatbots were little more than click-button menus and, if lucky, some key-word driven answers.
Despite this first failing, we believe there is value in chatbots as they allow businesses to go to where the customer is and already spends lots of time; Whatsapp and Facebook have a combined 2.8 billion users who send over 100 billion messages a day! Importantly chatbots also present a UI that doesn’t require the customer to learn a website or app design; conversation is the most intuitive form of interaction.
By partnering with Artificial Solutions and leveraging Teneo, their conversational AI platform, our new chatbot bypasses click-button simplicity or key-word driven clinical responses which struggle to cope with the breadth and depth of a regular conversation, to not only understand the complexities and nuances of gambling languagebut also learn and adapt in order to get better answers faster.
Launched on the Unibet UK Facebook page, the conversational-based interface allows customers to do more; from finding odds and placing bets, to asking about fixtures and getting help with over 100 FAQs. Users are also able to connect to a Customer Service agent to escalate issues and questions. To create real value for customers, build new behaviours and drive retention, it is not enough to just support one or two use cases. If you can ask for the odds on a match, why not ask when it is, what the bet rules are, and potentially receive relevant news about the game?
With all eyes on the World Cup this summer, the Unibet Chatbot allows users to find odds in over 1000 markets across all 64 games and outrights for the tournament. The Chatbot will also be able to support bets on all main European Leagues and Competitions come the start of the new season. The World Cup is only the starting point from which future developments will come, however already the breadth of functionality allows customers to interact with a range of Unibet services in a channel in which they spend increasing amounts of time; creating a faster, frictionless customer experience.
Andy Peart, Chief Strategy Officer of Artificial Solutions, commented “the impact of AI on customer experience is truly significant and an area that is critical to the success of an industry. We’ve developed a chatbot with Kindred Futures that has the ability to add an exciting new dimension to the gambling world through its ability to not only understand the nuances of day-to-day speech and gambling language, but also evolve as it learns, delivering a personalised, engaging and frictionless customer experience”.
All signs point towards the continued growth of messaging channels, however this is still an experimental product for Kindred. We want to understand how users interact with the Chatbot, what other requests they may have, and what future functionalities they want to see. Impactful innovation takes time, and is an iterative process, and this is by no means the finished article. However, through partnering with Artificial Solutions and leveraging their natural language technology, we hope to deliver real value to our customers and see the chatbot as another step towards allowing them to interact with Unibet services through whatever channel they wish.
The chatbot is now available to UK-based users and can be found at https://www.facebook.com/UnibetUK/, and is soon to be launched to Australian customers.