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Bots are a compliment to apps--not a replacement

A lot more people have been talking about bots recently and I keep hearing different views about it from different people. A few think that bots are going to just replace apps (in a few or all areas) wherein all the work can be done over text/chat/voice that is currently done using apps. I have always wondered as to how can that be possible and thought of writing this post to hear what others have to say about it.

There are various products and each product follows a particular protocol to interact with a user. Apps are more of a visual experience wherein bots are a conversational product. Given their different behavior/experience, I struggle to understand how can one replace another. Yes, they can very well complement each other.

Mobile apps definitely changed the way people do their day to day tasks, be it booking a vacation or transferring your share of a drink to your friend’s account in real time. How would a Bot accomplish such use cases wherein I want to book a flight ticket and before I book, I want to visually see all the options with fare, travel time, connections, etc. All this has to be visually presented to a user so that a user can pick appropriate option and book accordingly.

Yes, having a bot, as well, will definitely complement your apps (and will definitely boost your customer experience, stickiness rate, win rate, etc.) wherein a bot looks at your vacation history (using its AI brain) and suggests you to plan ahead in time for your next vacation. In other ways, a bot is a very good idea of providing a virtual assistant in your apps or for that matter, banks can provide a personal banker (bot) to every single of their customers. Other examples could be providing very personalized experiences to each customer and so on and so forth.

There may be a few use cases wherein one tries to convert the visual interface into conversational experience but that will be just for the sake of doing it. Bots are not a new technology, as we all know, and they have been into existence for a while now. Facebook, for that matter, has more than 10,000 bots. There are players like Kik, Telegram, Line, Slack, etc. that are all over into bots, AI and NLP and are doing pretty well. Given that Apple has joined the race as well, the bot explosion is going to be even more intense. I do believe that bots are going to help businesses reach a new growth level, provide highly personalized services to their consumers, reach a new level for customer satisfaction and much more.