Delivering information to attendees in an efficient and easy-to-digest format is a high-level priority for any event planner. Over the past few years, technological progress has given organizers new options. The chatbot – a piece of software that answers questions and learns as it is used – could be one such breakthrough.
The state of the chatbot
“A bot can serve as an automatic messenger for an event organizer.”
As software provider Weemss explained, chatbot programs have spent the past few decades evolving into their present, helpful state. They are now able to deal with attendee questions sent through many text channels. Whether attendees prefer to work with Facebook, Slack or another option, a bot can step in to provide answers to their queries. Furthermore, instead of just responding when spoken to, a bot can serve as an automatic messenger for an event organizer, pushing updates – such as schedule changes – to all attendees on their platforms of choice.
Skift pointed out that although not all chat channels are currently hospitable to bots, that status quo is set to change. For example, WhatsApp doesn’t currently offer chatbot developer tools, but because it is owned by Facebook, it appears certain this corporate parent will step in and provide help.
As with any developing technology, the bots aren’t perfect. Problem-solving logic for these automatic assistants is still a work in progress, and Weemss urged event planners to work on their bots both before the event begins and once the feedback starts coming in from users. Failure to anticipate some queries may lead to an unhelpful bot that’s unable to give attendees the information they need.
To app or not to app? To use VR or AR? To employ a chatbot or a robot? #EventTech is full of options. Take tips from @meetingstoday to help make the choice easier: https://t.co/hIIcc9ClUn #EventProfs #MeetingProfs pic.twitter.com/NQ2zLbQinm
— FMAV (@FMAVCanada) December 26, 2017
Using a chatbot at an event
Thinking about chat technology in abstract terms can give planners a general idea of how to apply the solutions to their gatherings. However, there’s more specific information available from organizers who have taken the initiative and put chatbots to the test. Sciens.io co-founder Kristi Colleran and Event2Mobile Director of Business Solutions Varun Kashiv gave BizBash several suggestions meant to help companies use chat tools effectively without suffering through a protracted learning period.
For example, Colleran recommended that organizers give names and personalities to their chatbots, with each taking on an attitude that suits its respective event. A chatbot, deployed effectively, is part of the branding and promotion of a conference. An impressive question-response system that suits a company’s brand image can make a positive impression on users.
The experts also told BizBash that despite the automatic power of chatbots, event planners should monitor their information input closely: Attendees may report issues with their experience, and human staff monitoring the conversation can step in and help. At present, using a chatbot as a buffer between staff and attendees can help everyone save time, with questions answered quickly and requiring limited input from event employees.