May 23, 2016

OneReach's
Build-a-bot Workshop

When I was a kid I would get the bad-ass erector set or Lego kits. The endgame was always to build a robot. My bot would inevitably roll forward and back. Or spin left or right. That was about it but sufficient for a 10 year old kid.

A few weeks ago OneReach invited Lousy to attend their Botanauts (Build-a-Bot) class hosted by Elias Parker. After a quick presentation and tutorial, we were set loose to build bots. My inner 10 year old was pretty stoked.

In essence - OneReach’s “Communication Studio” allows individuals and businesses to setup their own automated task assistants or “bots”. The bots can be used for both incoming and outgoing communications for SMS, Voice, data…you can even hook it up to the api of your choice - not to mention IBM’s Watson, Google, or Slack.

These bots are structured around a decision tree that you create and manipulate in the Communication Studio tool. Bots are beginning to show promise of supplanting the need for a traditional Customer Service Relationship staff. Or at least reduce the size of them. A user can traverse the logic tree and only be transferred to a live representative if the customer has reached a dead end.

The administrator can analyze transactions in real-time to optimize flows and make the bots smarter. If the bot has a deficiency in language or needs to offer another branch at a decision point, Communication Studio has tools to help out with that too.

Our project that evening was a PizzaBot. We initially developed out the decision tree needed to support a service like ordering a Pizza. A bot would need to know how many pizzas you wanted, what sizes, which toppings for each, whether the order is a pickup or delivery, and where to have it delivered. The bot would then respond with the price of the order and approximate delivery time.

Once we plotted out the customer flow we then programmed in the language the bot was able to respond with. This allowed for some very self-aware dialog between the customer and the bot - and begins to touch on one of the core tenants of emerging bot UX. Does the customer need to know the bot isn’t a real person?

Simple tasks like this could replace the need for the customer download an app, or open the pizza shop’s website track down a phone number and then call someone working in a noisy, hot pizza kitchen. One of the powerful things that OneReach supports is a traditional voice call, allowing us to support every segment of the customer spectrum.

Since our workshop we’ve noticed how hot the the “bot space” is getting - and to know that OneReach has a tool that will allow you to easily automate a portion of your business, support more customers in their preferred method and not break the bank doing so - well that’s a solution that both the digital transformation strategist and the 10 year old kid can both get behind.

For more information on OneReach and their Botanaut Workshops, contact Elias Parker or visit the OneReach site.