22% of firms in the United States will use a virtual assistant this year to serve their clients. They report their inventory, process purchases, and even organize work shifts. Its combination with WhatsApp and voice messages threatens the least grateful routines of the offices
Their names are Lola, Vicente, María or José Luis. Some wear casual clothes, others wear business suits and some attend to your requests dressed as if they were going to serve a mojito or a cold beer in a summer beach bar.
Beyond their appearance, they are the most educated generation in the last three decades. Their specialization allows them to answer almost 38,000 questions in the blink of an eye with a very high percentage of correct answers. They also work 24-hour days, 365 days a year, without an approved minimum salary or a collective agreement that regulates their activity.
As you will have understood by now in the article, we are not talking about human workers but about chatbots. They are the new white label Siri or Alexa for companies and SMEs that improve their competitiveness in the market thanks to artificial intelligence (AI).
These virtual robots automate routine and thankless tasks in business. Classic steps that so far many employees resolve over the phone or by exchanging hundreds of emails, one by one, with clients or office colleagues. Actions that may go unnoticed, but weigh down work activity every day.
According to a report by the consulting firm Gartner, which is based in Stamford (USA), 25% of all these operations in American companies this year 2020 will be carried out with virtual assistants. A more than interesting fact since only three campaigns ago this technology was used by a scarce 2% of companies.
The same study also highlights that 30% of the income of US firms will arrive in the coming months through this open business channel from the digital world. Mainly, in sectors such as retail, health or banking.
Perhaps you have already spoken or written with some of these almost perfect workers on a website or through social networks such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Telegram or Twitter.
They are the other face, always smiling, everything is said in passing, from firms such as H&M, Telepizza, Sephora, BBVA or El Corte Inglés, among others. One recommends the clothes that best suit her tastes, another orders her favorite food order, and another tries to explain how to save a little more each month.
In companies, and looking from the inside, this digital transformation with chatbots is also a very useful tool to improve production processes. The virtual assistants already organize work shifts, as is currently the case at the A Coruña University Hospital Complex (CHUAC), or attend to the claims of the clients of the insurer AXA in Spain. They can inform public administration protocols and even facilitate the selection of employees to human resources teams.
1MILLIONBOT: MAKING CHATBOTS ‘MADE IN SPAIN’
One of the pioneering startups in this area in Spain is 1MillionBot. With the former rector of the University of Alicante Andrés Pedreño at the helm, the young company last year raised a round of 1.5 million euros of financing to successfully complete different virtual assistant projects. They are based in the old Torre Juana de Alicante estate.
Its portfolio clients include entities such as Bankia, the University of Murcia, the writer Mario Vargas Llosa or the Alicante restaurant El Portal. A case the latter of reference for the restaurant sector, recently cited by Forbes magazine, whose assistant Eli answers more than 200 questions to his future guests before arriving at the premises. It also allows you to reserve a table or choose the customer’s preferred wine by being connected to the establishment’s CRM.
“The national market has to become more aware of the importance of artificial intelligence in companies. It is a sector that will grow until 2022, practically all large and small companies will have this service […] Chatbots are linked to attracting customers and they are generators of data. This part is very important in companies because in a second phase they have to apply this quality data, “adds Pedreño.
But how do we react to a chatbot?
30% of people in their first interaction with a chatbot usually insult or make an exorbitant sexual proposal. They do it as a proof of concept of man versus machine. Therefore, it is very important in this phase that the chatbot beats the user. That has been understood by the technological giants with their Siri or Alexa equipment. It is an issue that is not yet 100% resolved, but our technology responds correctly in 90% of the cases.