Customer Experience

Bots in Plain English

By Tara Benyousky, Director of Solutions and Vertical Marketing

The insider language of any industry tends to stray far from the common conversations I see daily on the internet. As a marketing professional with close to a decade of product expertise and a decade more in brand marketing, I know how hard it can be to adapt to what essentially becomes a new manner of speaking, a new way of thinking, a new way of communicating. When you become entrenched in your product, as many of us in the industry tend to be, you sometimes forget not everyone is speaking your language. Not everyone is living in the same bubble. It can be easy to overlook what you know as baseline knowledge to be foreign to others.

Since I started working for I’ve had dozens of conversations about artificial intelligence software, enterprise tech solutions, cloud connectors, backend systems…see have I lost you already? That’s how it happens. I can almost watch the life leave the conversation, as if my listener’s mind is slowly backing out of a reserved room it was never supposed to be in.

Well for those who’ve previously balked at the bots conversation, I’m here to put it in terms everyone can understand – in plain English.

What the heck is a bot?

Well, a bot, or sometimes you may hear the term “chatbot” is basically a computer program that’s designed to talk to you and collect the information from your conversation. Depending on what developer wants the bot to do, or how “intelligently” it’s been built, a bot can use that information to book you a flight, send you reminders, order you a pizza, or any number of tasks and notifications.

You know that really thoughtful friend you have that always remembers your birthday, or your Starbucks order, or your favorite lunch spot? Aren’t they the best? Well, a bot can be like that except without the awkward quirks. Chances are you’ve interacted with a bot before. Ever used Siri on the iPhone, or Alexa on Amazon Echo? Those are bots.

Why are people talking about bots?

Apps are great. They’ve changed our lives in so many ways. But apps, for the most part, are not communicative, and they’re not intelligent. Bots essentially give apps a brain and a voice. The purpose of the app you’re using doesn’t necessarily change, but the way you interact with it does. This presents a huge opportunity for businesses, retailers, healthcare organizations, financial institutions, and basically any company to make their current technologies smarter and more useful. And let’s be honest, everyone loves smart technology. Instead of powering an app at the touch of a button, you can now ask it a question, give it a command, and create a real dialogue that helps you get what you need faster. In the recorded webcast, Bots Are Hot, 451 Research and bring to life in more detail what bots can do for businesses.

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So if Siri, Alexa and other chatbots already exist, what’s the big deal?

Chat bots aren’t necessarily new, but let’s just say the technology is in the process of a major upgrade. Bots like Siri and Alexa only call one place home – the device they live in. Now, bots are embracing a nomadic lifestyle. They can live in email, text messages, messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and Slack, collaboration apps like Skype, and even share a room with Siri and Alexa, too. Bots can live anywhere, which means you can interact with your apps on your terms, not just when you’re in your home or on your phone.

Not only that, artificial intelligence is getting better, which means bots are getting smarter. Remember when you could easily stump Siri? Or when you first found she out couldn’t really do much? Those days are numbered. Bots are gaining the power to process complex requests and multi-task for you to help you do work or complete personal errands. Because new bots remember more, they can anticipate what you need, where as Siri forgets every conversation immediately after you have it.


This is a really exciting time in tech, but before we get carried away with ourselves it’s important we bring folks into the conversation, not exclude them from it. Eventually, we’ll reach critical mass where families talk about their favorite bots during Thanksgiving dinner. But until we get to the point where everyone is speaking our language, we’ll continue to speak yours.

Learn everything you need to know about chatbots in our eBook: Chatbots 101.

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