Do we need to pump the brakes on chatbots?

In the last decade, chat has become the most popular platform for customer and technical support. Support is a huge cost for business. With the hype around Artificial Intelligence and deep learning, there’s a lot of excitement about the possibility of replacing live support with chatbots. But a deeper look shows the technology has a long way to go.

Text by France Baril


Do we need to pump the brakes on chatbots?

Technical communicators, especially those who work with structured content or other tools that support multi-channel publishing, can play a big role in providing high-quality content for chatbots to draw answers from. But before we jump headlong into the wonderful world of chatbots, it's important to take a step back. We need to understand two aspects of this technology in order to proceed successfully: Why people love live chat, and how chatbot support fits into their experience as a whole.

Live chat is well-loved

The following stats show clearly that live chat is growing in popularity and adoption:

  • Chat adoption rates have risen from 38 percent in 2009 to 58 percent in 2014, which is a compound annual growth rate of 8.8 percent over that time. (Forrester)
  • 53 percent of customers would prefer to use online chat before calling a company for support. (Harris Research)
  • Chat has ...