Will event chatbots be saving you time in 2018?

The makers of a chatbot that has been specifically developed for events have won the IBTM Tech Watch Award.

‘Concierge Eventbot’ by Sciensio is designed to improve attendee interaction, enabling event organisers to easily share information and logistics in a “valuable and accessible way”.

Judge Corbin Ball said: “Sciensio and its Concierge Eventbot highlight two important event tech trends: the emergence of artificial intelligence to provide better and more efficient services to attendees in the form of chatbots - a direct and very useful means of providing event information.”

Does this sound like a good thing do you or do we risk de-personalising the relationships organisers have with attendees?

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Very interesting

Is there an example of this in practice?

How would I use this service? through an app i’d need to download?

And what would a specific use case be? (Could you ask "which bar is there not a queue at?)

No need to download an app - it’s all done via text message. I think it’s more for the organiser to push info to attendees but it says attendees can make requests for real human assistance too.

That sounds good.For visitors if it can handle the FAQs I think that would help greatly. Sometimes people can’t be bothered or don’t have time to read the FAQs so may prefer to text a question/submit by email. I think this could come across as really good customer service and having key information in a text on your phone when you’re heading to an event could be really handy. May help with getting people quickly into the event too.

I think it could help with communications to exhibitors too. In my experience the organiser teams get bombarded with calls about information which has already been provided in the exhibitor manual such as staff passes, build/access times, stand services etc. Often the exhibitor just calls the person they can remember the name of or who was on their last email regardless of whether they were sales, ops or marketing and I’ve lost count of the number of people ranting at me because I can’t order electricity for their stand (I’m only ever responsible for marketing otherwise everyone would get fairy lights!!) If the chatbot could handle all those queries that would free the team up to do other stuff and assist exhibitors in getting them to the information they need without being passed around.

Sciensio has delivered on about 40 events so far this year. Some of our more notable bots are Frank for IMEX Frankfurt, and Betty for BizBash Live. I don’t want to violate the community standards, but I am happy to send you information about trying our demo EventBot.

As Belinda said there is not app to download, you event audience can use WebChat, SMS, Facebook Messenger, and Twitter DM to talk to the your branded bot.

While we could probably work with you to answer your question about a short queue, it would take some additional technology. What we find today is that most attendees want details on the basics, >80% of questions to the bot are around about 10 topics. In the future as Event Planners and Attendees get more comfortable with bots and the technology continues to advance we will be able to answer the queue question. However, you may just order your drink from the bot and be alerted when it is made and what bar to pick it up at.

Hi Chris, great to have you with us! Congrats on the award and thanks for the extra insight. I love the fact the bot gets a name. What are top things people enquire about? What are user satisfaction levels like? I tried the demo on Messenger - it’s very cool!

Thank you, it was a real honor to win the ibtm Tech Watch award this year. I also am glad you like DB, our demo EventBot.

The top subjects are likely what you would expect, Directions, Parking, Wifi, but the variety of ways people ask for those and the other 100+ topics our EventBot handles is really the interesting thing. We support > 2.3 million ways to ask for the 100 plus topics. In fact I think there are about 33,000 ways people can ask for Wifi information alone.

We do not ask event participants specifically about the their satisfaction levels with the event’s bot, we prefer to keep the focus on the overall event experience. What I can say is the number of ‘Thank you’ the bot receives is much greater than the complaints by about 50 to 1. Our average participant usage rate is ~57% with average user asks the event’s bot > 4 questions. Of the complaints we do get most are about something else with the event like too noisy in a breakout session, food quality, and long lines at registration. The good news for the event planners is the complaints do not go on Twitter, we find by having another channel public complaints at the events we have been close to zero.

Chatbots if done well and courteously will work very well but I can see people starting to use them as a replacement for email marketing.

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I think it’s a great value add. Completely agree with Melissa. We are taking inputs from event organizers on product roadmap for our event apps and this is one of the common takeaway. A chatbot kind of a feature that can answer most FAQs.

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Wow, you must have done some research! I love that people thank the bot. Do they say ‘please’ too? I hope Frank and Betty appreciate the good manners :grin: Very interesting that you can decrease public complaints too - people just need somewhere to vent, it seems.

I must say, I do like the idea of a chatbot on the website. The amount of times I get emails from people asking questions that are all fully answered on the website’s FAQ page!
It’s not a massive problem, but with someone like me that runs these events as an unpaid sideline, the time spent sending people the same link over and over again can get wearing!

Do these chatbots require very specific setup, or do they generally work like plugins on a WordPress site for instance? (Also, what kind of costs are they?)

I used a chatbot for a corporate event, to make sure the attendees will be assisted on basic queries, while we handled the more urgent issues.The interesting findings were that most of them preferred human assistance.In addition there was a delay in the chat bot response time causing delays.

Next time I will include a user manual or directions of using the chat bot.

Do you think there would have been higher satisfaction levels if you hadn’t experienced the technical difficulties? Shouldn’t usage be intuitive - i.e. just send a text and get a response?

Can bots also be use as a marketing tool? So people can subscribe to a newsletter or view videos, to get more information about your company, in return they can be added to your database.

If you had the chatbot set up to answer people’s questions on your site, you could probably conclude any conversation by asking if the person would like to subscribe. If they answered ‘yes’, they could be directed to the relevant sign up form.

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Thank you, I’ll have to organise that. now it’s deciding on the right things to add to be of interest.

There will always be users that prefer the human touch, but your experience has not been the same as most of our customers. I would be curious what platforms you used and what your discovery plan was. I am happy to provide some tips if you would like to try it again. Also you mentioned delays, could you share how long they were? Depending on the channel (Facebook Messenger, Web, or SMS) the responses should range from almost instantaneous to < 5 seconds for 90% of messages. (large images can take a bit longer on SMS)

Chatbots can absolutely be used for marketing. There definitely are some considerations though. Both Twitter and Facebook have the ability to have an ad drive people to a chatbot, Patron had success https://marketing.twitter.com/na/en/success-stories/simply-perfect-how-patron-tequila-drove-interest-in-its-bot-tender-chatbot.html. Marketing over SMS has additional FCC regulations that need to be followed closely, but can be successful.