Sprout Social releases first non-developer bot-building platform for Twitter
It’s not AI, but the idea is to manage customer inquiries before turning the inquiring user over to a live agent.
Earlier this week, business messaging platform LivePerson announced a version with a built-in bot powered by IBM’s super-intelligent agent, Watson.
The main benefit, LivePerson said, was that this integrated bot could completely resolve as many as half of all user inquiries entirely by itself, without involving an expensive live agent.
Social management platform Sprout Social is taking another approach to automated customer service, with its announcement this week of a Bot Builder developed with Twitter for that platform.
While other developer-intensive bots have populated Twitter, Sprout said this is the first non-developer bot creation platform for that social network.
Unlike LivePerson/Watson and other bot platforms, this Bot Builder does not use intent engines to determine what a user really means, natural language processing or artificial intelligence. Instead, it builds the bot in minutes with a setup wizard, using pre-written messages, a logic tree and Quick Reply buttons. Here’s a sample creation screen:
Sprout VP of Strategy and Brand Engagement Andrew Caravella pointed out to me that his company’s intention here is not to provide bots that can completely resolve many customer inquiries by replacing human agents.
Instead, he said, this bot platform is intended to create efficiencies by handling the initial part of the inquiry, before handing off to a live agent. Here’s the user’s view:
He pointed out that note-taking application Evernote was able to lessen agent time by turning the most common inquiry subjects into buttons. Evernote says results during beta testing showed it could handle 80 percent more customers on Twitter, compared to just a live agent.
A user goes to the brand’s Twitter screen and Direct Messages them with an inquiry. The brand’s bot offers an initial Welcome Message, and then shows several buttons for options. Each clicked button leads to other buttons or pre-written replies. If the user types freeform text because the button/replies don’t meet the need, a live agent steps in. And here’s the agent’s view:
This is Sprout’s first bot-building platform. Caravella said that a version for Facebook Messenger will be out in a month or so.
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