Solving the right business challenges

Solving the right business challenges

Sean Riley is CEO van het Zuidafrikaanse Ad Dynamo en Bluerobot. Deze laatste is de specialized zus van BrandDeli in Zuid-Afrika op het gebied van chatbots en AI. Fonk kreeg de kans Riley een aantal vragen te stellen over actuele trends en ontwikkelingen. Omdat het Zuid-Afrikaans ons toch nèt boven de pet ging, hielden we het deze keer op Engels. ‘Brands that argue on cost are perhaps not solving the right business challenges with chatbots.’

With the Bluerobot platform, brands can make contact with customers faster and easier than before through social and chatbots. We notice that creatives in the industry do not always see the relevance of using chatbots, and perceive these merely as tools to easier connect with the customer, but not to enhance creativity in a campaign. Is this a fair perspective? And if not, why not?
Sean Riley
: ‘It’s a common perspective but not accurate.  We’re seeing great success outside of the obvious customer service application of chatbots.  Examples of other applications of chatbots where we’re achieving success include: Lead Generation, Entertaining audiences with games to achieve brand uplift, supporting live events with information and customer surveys.
Can you give an example of a recent, successful Bluerobot case? And explain why this is so successful?
‘We developed a chatbot for KFC in the UK to address the chicken crisis KFC was experiencing.  This was something that we turned around in a day to help customers find their closest open KFC and receive personalized directions.  This example stands out as we actually helped a business in crisis.  97% of all customers that interacted with the chatbot completed the journey.’
What are the pitfalls if you want to use Chatbots and / or AI in a campaign?
‘Many brands are taking advantage of quick replies to manage any risk that natural language understanding (one of the building blocks of AI) could pose.  It’s a great way to test chatbots for your brand whilst completely managing any risk.  AI however, offers a wider opportunity to resolve a far broader scope of customer requests.  Having the user journey clearly mapped out seems to be the biggest stumbling block for many brands, and it’s an area where we work very hard to deliver value.’


Is it advisable to include AI’s/chatbots capabilities in the concept phase of your campaign already? Or can it be more effective to take it into a slightly later phase (minimizing constraints in concept thinking)?
‘Planning for how a chatbot can add value to a campaign from the outset is key to success.’
What are the limitations of AI in your campaigns and how can you circumvent them as well as possible? Is the use of chatbots and / or AI cost-effective or are the development costs currently too high?
‘We believe the costs are fair given the functionality delivered, and when considered as a proportion of media investment.  AI offers a rich set of functionality, but the limitation lies in how this is applied.  For example, most chatbots still treat a user as a stranger each time they interact with the same chatbot.  A chatbot should remember historic context of interaction with a user to provide a more personalised, human experience.’

Lead generation
In any case, do you think the ‘cost’ is a legitimate argument for whether or not to use chatbots (in other words, shouldn’t the ‘discussion’ primarily concern creativity and effectiveness instead of costs)?
‘Brands that argue on cost are perhaps not solving the right business challenges with chatbots.  Lead generation is an example of where chatbots have been really effective – and the fact that your chatbot operates at a fixed monthly cost regardless of the value of leads helps to highlight the value (and return on investment) to a brand.’
What will be the biggest challenge in the coming period when using AI in creative concepts?
‘When using full AI, it’s imperative to work hard to anticipate most customer requests and to have a response prepared for these.  The worst possible customer experience is when a chatbot has been poorly prepped and can’t understand most of the customer requests.’

Do or Don’t?

Sean Riley’s Checklist of do’s and don’ts to use chatbots and / or AI in a creative manner for campaigns:


  • Understand the user journey clearly before building a chatbot.
  • Take advantage of rich message formats (such as Twitter’s click to action message format, images and video).
  • Give the user a menu option to restart the journey
  • User customer satisfaction ratings at the end of the experience to gain insight into how well your chatbot performed.
  • If using natural language understanding, dedicated resource to teach and coach the chatbot to progressively improve.


  • Don’t configure your chatbot to deliver long, text heavy responses. If you need to respond with a large amount of text, break it up into smaller, consecutive messages.  This feels a lot closer to how you would chat with a human.
  • Don’t hide the fact that a customer is interacting with a chatbot. Openly telling the customer that they are interacting with a chatbot helps to manage expectations.

Dit artikel werd gepubliceerd in de FONK editie 237 – Juli 2018