What is a bot ?
A bot is an automated software agent which responds to customer queries. We consider bots pretty basic things. Their ‘domain’ is small. In our case, the bot helps do two things primarily. It assists in visitors finding a plan and it provides access to some of the most useful content we have on the site.
There are more complex things like Virtual Assistants which also help customers but do so over a broader ‘domain’. We don’t have one of those and we don’t intend building one.
Why did we build a bot ?
Partly, we built the bot for fun, to see how hard it was. If you try swearing at the bot, you will see it swears back. We have been surprised at how civil our visitors have been. No one has sworn yet.
It was harder than we thought to build the bot. We also built it to help customer do what they came to our site to do.
We think there are going to be a lot of bots in the future. They could represent a new conversational interface to the internet.
What does the bot do ?
The bot is largely ‘just’ tied in to the existing web assets that whatphone has. Remember, our view is that bots are just taking their first steps and will soon take over the world. The primary purpose of the bot is to help users work through the chooser (a web tool we built which helps users sort through the plans they want.)
The bot also has these ‘skills’.
Version 2 for release September 2016
Why does it get things wrong sometimes ?
Ours is a very simple bot. It is somewhere between version 1 and 2 at the moment. We will continue to refine the bot based on the things visitors say to it. If you asked the bot a question and it didn’t reply or it got the answer wrong, come back to see us soon. We may well have programmed the bot to get the answer to your question right!
We love bots and we think they’re a big deal. If you do too, drop us a line.