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How Bots Have Become Part of Startle's Day-to-Day Operations

It’s safe to say that bots are everywhere. They’re predicted to be one of the biggest technology trends we’ll see in 2018 - in fact, the global chatbot market is expected to reach $1.25 billion by 2025 - but the concept of artificial intelligence has been around for decades.

As described by Tech Advisor, bots are “like virtual assistants which can answer questions and help you get things done faster without needing to speak to another human.” With the previous go-to solution for many day-to-day activities being defined by software rules set decades ago, things are starting to change. Improvements in chatbots such as Natural Language Understanding (NLU) and interface redesigns are making headway, meaning consumers can become growingly reliant on various forms of chatbots to book their flights, call Mum, and much more, and the need for a keyboard or touchscreen is lessening.

At Startle, we’ve recently seen the benefits of using bot automation in our day-to-day customer service. It has encouraged our customers to interact with our team and product more, enabled our RELENTLESS Support™ team to close tickets more quickly and efficiently, and provided more opportunities for communication with website visitors. This has all been achieved through simple rules that facilitate automation and personalisation.

While we’ve always been proud of Startle’s great standard of customer service, supporting a fast-growing customer base solely via email and telephone became not only more challenging, but unnecessary. Consumers have already adopted bots as part of their daily lives, and with a host of great new platforms enabling equally good timely, targeted and automated communication, expanding Startle’s use of softwares was a no-brainer.

Now, Startle customers can interact with our online chatbot to report issues, discuss queries, and give general feedback. Perhaps the biggest benefit of this is the sense that there is always someone there to assist. While this may not always mean an instant response (although we’re proud to average a 7-minute response time), customers will receive automatic suggestions of support articles that may help them, and be assured that one of our team will respond personally as soon as they can. This means that, often, customer queries are resolved without the actual need for a personal response, resulting in greater time-efficiency that benefits both our customers and us.

Our basic automation involves sending both in-app and email messages during a customer’s onboarding journey, recommending actions to take at certain stages throughout their subscription, and setting behavioural triggers such as a lack of interaction with the product for one week. This has provided improved communication with customers and eliminated the need to perform various tasks manually. In addition to this, Startle now use this bot technology to interact with new website visitors and profile leads before they are then handed over to the most appropriate sales member, making the buyer journey smoother.

We can also now take better advantage of Big Data - another concept set to continue dominating in 2018 - setting rules and conditions that determine who should see what message and when. While basic demographic and company information is the general foundation for this, it is the behavioural analytics that facilitate our business intelligence through the use of bots. For example, turning data such as a customer’s micro usage of their Startle products into insights that indicate, say, a risk of churn or opportunity to upgrade subscription, is highly useful when combined with basic information such as industry, company size and contract length. This provides the foundation for Startle’s chatbot strategy, which is essentially making our operational processes more efficient and gradually decreasing costs.

Embracing bots in our own business has aided Startle’s understanding of their place in technology and how we could build this into our own offering. With the resources to do so, it seemed an obvious decision to build our very own bot that could integrate with our music and quiz products.... So that’s what we’ve done!

Keep an eye out for the Startle bot, coming to users this March!

If you'd like to discuss any of Startle's products or services in more detail, don't hesitate to get in contact any time!