This week, Twitter essentially announced what you could call their entrance into the chatbot space, without ever mentioning the word “chatbot”:
Given that spam bots have been a challenge for Twitter in the past, it is not surprising they’re avoiding the term with this launch. Have a look at the video that accompanies their announcement:
— Twitter Advertising (@TwitterAds) November 1, 2016
You will realize that it lists all the value propositions of automation on a customer service channel, such as automating the voice channel via IVR:
- Direct answers to customer questions
- “Help without the annoying hold music”
- Speed of issue resolution
- 24/7 access to help
- Seamless in-channel hand-over to live service when needed
Twitter does not provide an API or platform for natural language understanding themselves; instead they rely on their official partners to build platforms that help businesses with this emerging need. For now, the few bots that are out there rely on buttons:
The list of first brands that have jumped on this new feature is more impressive than what some competitors have managed to line up, including Facebook at their annual developer conference F8 back in April: @EvernoteHelps, @PizzaHut, @AirbnbHelp, @SpotifyCares, @NortonSupport, @Tesco, @TfLTravelAlerts, @WeatherNetwork, @AirTailor.
Twitter is currently in private beta with this feature, and developers can ask for access here: https://dev.twitter.com/build/automation
What they’ve done here is promising for establishing Twitter as a platform for customer service. It should also be noted that they are one of the only messaging vendors stressing the service angle over the marketing or lead generation angle when it comes to the use of their platforms, which is another differentiator that could play out nice for them in the mid to long run.
We’ll see! For now, I am putting this to an already insanely impressive list of moves in the chatbot and conversational commerce space we’ve seen in 2016 so far…