Here’s a $64,000 question: Is there a chatbot that can actually help get stuff done in your business, like an extra pair of hands?

Until recently, this was kind of a pipe dream. But with better conversational AI models, it’s becoming easier to do and actually quite effective.

At Switchbird, we’ve started to incorporate conversational AI into our business messaging platform. Since we cut our teeth doing conversation design, our approach is different from other chatbot providers. I hesitate to even call what we do a “chatbot” since that term may conjure up images of open-ended, frustrating exchanges with an entity that can’t actually do anything for the customer. Switchbird does not offer or recommend that 😎

Intead, we let you design messaging interventions using automation and AI to move conversations with leads or customers towards your desired outcomes–even when you can’t or don’t have a live body tending to them.

Here’s a quick walk-through:

Conversational AI in SMS: Real Applications

AI and automation are only useful to brands and business owners inasmuch as these technologies can solve your real business challenges. In messaging, that often comes down to challenges in customer communications.

So when we started looking at conversational AI, it wasn’t to power some dubious “live chat” on your business website. It was to bring this technology to all of your customer communication channels–calls, texts, emails, social DMs–in order to help your business better handle common scenarios that maybe you aren’t handling optimally today.

For example, Acme Building Products has a showroom, and the sales staff working the floor are not that responsive to calls. Imagine Acme could trigger a text back to missed calls and engage every lead with a chatbot designed to field common questions and then move that lead to book a meeting in the showroom.

Of course, Acme decides what that conversation looks like using their own business rules. With Switchbird, they define in plain language how a given scenario should be handled, with what tone and what information, and to what end. Those business rules are encapsulated in what we call a “flow” that can be dragged into a flow chart that maps out various events and triggers, such as a missed call or a new inquiry with a keyword.

In essence, a Switchbird flow combines conversational AI with your business rules to create a purpose-built chatbot that can handle any scenario you can anticipate… on autopilot.

Sketch & Share Bot Concepts on Our Chatbot Playground

We’ve created a “chatbot playground” where users can try out our automation and AI tools risk-free. Create bot concepts that you can share with clients or colleagues.

Instruct your bot in regular language about the context of your business and the kinds of messages to expect, different scenarios that may come up, and so on. Give your bot a name if you want, or a personality: “You are Vern, Acme’s virtual assistant. Be enthusiastic, friendly, and always use emojis 😊”

When you’re ready, you can deploy your creations to your Switchbird (or Twilio, CallRail or other) phone numbers, Facebook pages, Google business profiles, and Instagram accounts.

Switchbird exists to help your business be responsive to customers 24/7 and create repeatable success in sales and service. Chatbots are just one tool in the arsenal of business messaging tools we offer.