Recast.AI is a collaborative platform that allows its users to implement conversational interfaces. This technology is mainly used to create chatbots. Recast.AI enables its developers to easily create conversational assistants in just a few days. The idea is to simulate the conversation flow and identify elements which developers can work with: who will answer? When will they answer? On which platform? etc.
Patrick Joubert is the CEO of Recast.AI: he leads the team, fosters new ideas and recruits talent.
Recast.AI has been created in September 2015 and its beta version launched in February 2016. More than 5,000 developers have used the platform and 8,000 bots have been created.
Patrick discussed the importance of artificial intelligence and the role of chatbots:
What have you observed about conversational commerce?
Conversational commerce is maturing even though everything is going extremely fast. Companies have moved from being curious about this trend (“why not?”) to wanting to get things done (“we should do something”). It’s a really good thing. Companies now understand that conversational commerce can help them get closer to their customers and advise them wherever they are. It can help brands lead their customers more quickly towards purchasing. And they get a lot of requests.
What advice would you give to a brand that wants to launch its own chatbot?
You need to be aware that you can get closer to your customers. It’s the first advantage of chatbots: the proximity that chatbots can offer can be put into perspective with the number of messaging app users. Brands have the opportunity to provide their customers with the most accurate and personalised experience possible. But it’s important to know how to get started. No chatbot is capable of solving all your problems on its own. Thus, you have to limit your expectations and innovate by remaining down-to-earth. Brands have to define really specific use cases for chatbots to enable them to provide their customers with a successful experience. Then they will be able to scale it.
Do you think interactions with chatbots imply less intervention from human agents in customer service?
For repetitive and low-added value actions, yes I think so, and it’s rather encouraging! It will leave room for humans to work on tasks with more added value. In my opinion, it’s very important to be transparent and communicate clearly to users that they are dealing with a bot. It’s important to do so because they are not going to replace human experts. I think that humans are valuable in dealing with added-value topics and they will play a key role: they will share very accurate and unique advice which require cutting-edge human expertise.
Bots will help enhance human capacities. The more chatbots will be able to do things, the more humans will be able to rely on them.
What is your latest favourite discovery on the subject?
I really like Citron. It’s a bot that recommends the most beautiful places in Paris. Moreover, the team and the startup are really likeable. They are paving the way: they are innovating around a new touch point that can bring nice experiences.
The Voyages-sncf.com bot is also very interesting. It enables you to book a train ticket on the main lines. It’s interesting to see a popular brand be so advanced and innovative. It’s the occasion to say: you are a powerful brand and you too, can innovate.
That’s what KLM also offers. These companies have a strong culture of innovation.
Can you tell us more about your partnership with iAdvize? Which innovations are you expecting from iAdvize in 2017?
We are very enthusiastic. We are going to create a channel for bots, which we can manage on the iAdvize platform and we’ll offer it to our customers. This strategy represents our complementarity with iAdvize: we aggregate conversational agents, monitor them with KPIs and pass them to human agents if necessary. We’ll always need redirections. The bot connector is the element we should highlight in our open-source project. We want developers to be connected to a maximum of touch points to favour the ecosystem. As for the innovations we are expecting from you, I would say: open iAdvize with APIs and become an indispensable and interconnected solution.
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