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Chatbot Uptake to Remain Robust as Firms Seek Competitive Edge in Nigeria

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By Olajide Osho-Thomas

Nigerian firms that offer extensive customer support on their platforms are eagerly snapping up chatbot solutions to improve Customer Experience (CX) and drive down costs.

Chatbot Uptake to Remain Robust as Firms Seek Competitive Edge in Nigeria

This technology is becoming simpler, cheaper to deploy, and can be integrated across various chat channels.

Chatbots are rapidly changing the game for many businesses, as Artificial Intelligence (AI) driven bots start to understand human intent and communicate more efficiently and effectively with end users, while giving organisations a better insight into their customers.

What’s more, this technology provides organisations with cost optimisation by decreasing operating expenses, in addition to offering scalability without impacting quality. As a result, this frees up resources for the organisation in order to pursue other opportunities.

Uptake has been strong in the financial services sector, with many banks, fintech start-ups and insurance companies deploying chatbots not just for customer service, but for other functions too. These include the processing of loan applications and the provision of basic banking services.

Companies in other industry sectors have also started to dip their toes in bot waters, including some in the recruitment, Human Resources (HR) and logistics industries. Even the public sector is seeing the benefits of this technology, with a significant amount of e-governance now being handled by chatbots.

Attracting investors

The Nigerian government is using bots to disseminate key information not only to the country’s vast population, but also to potential foreign investors. To attract investors, the government is using bots to provide information about the ease of doing business, tax regulations and potential locations to set up businesses in the country, among others.

It is, therefore, not difficult to see that the growth potential for chatbot adoption remains extremely robust in Nigeria. Continued interest from financial services companies is expected to make this technology a top trending digital solution and could well spur adoption in other sectors.

Traditionally, sectors such as retail have been wary of chatbots, but the technology has matured in recent years. Now that bots are being deployed over trusted and official communication channels, with added security interactivity and the fact that they are extremely customisable, they are seen as increasingly useful to an industry that previously struggled with precise customer engagement.

From a customer engagement perspective, bots are driving a highly evolving market, and no one wants to be left behind. In addition, the availability of proper metrics and a tangible return on investment are making chatbot technology a compelling value proposition.

Beyond just chatting

The evolution of bots means that this is no longer just mundane technology that only provides end users with pre-set information. Chatbots are built on intents, dialogues, and settings that are governed by machine learning and natural language processing which enable the desired dynamic interactions.

AI technologies enable bots to analyse the intent behind a customer’s interaction with an organisation, so engagement can be tailored to enhance CX. Once intent is analysed and inputs are processed, this information is used in conjunction with data the organisation has in order to provide a custom experience. This in addition to further enriching and finetuning the customer’s profile for the next interaction.

Bot solutions are increasingly dynamic, so an engagement with a customer can either trigger a dialogue – in multiple languages or even in vernacular – or, depending on the query, the customer can be handed off to a live agent, along with a record of all previous communication.

Intelligent features like sentiment analyses inform agents whether they are dealing with a customer who is agitated, or in a hurry, for example. Companies thus gain a deeper understanding of the preferences and needs of their market, while also providing better customer care and richer engagement.

The possibilities are endless, and businesses looking to better serve their customers and staying ahead of the competition should be taking advantage of this technology’s huge potential..

 

Olajide Osho-Thomas, Sales Executive at Infobip Nigeria

 


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E-Business

eTransact Posts N183m Quarterly Loss

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eTranzact International Plc has posted a loss after tax of N182.53m for the first quarter ended March 31, 2020 as against a profit after tax of N90.76m recorded a year ago.

eTransact Posts N183m Quarterly Loss

According to the firm’s audited report obtained from the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), its revenue grew to N5.92bn in Q1 2020 from N5.59bn in the same period in 2019.

The Nigerian Stock Exchange recently notified dealing members that eTranzact had, through its lead stockbroker, Meristem Capital Limited, submitted an application for the approval and listing of a rights issue.

The rights issue comprised an offering of 4,666,666,667 ordinary shares of N0.50 each at N1.50 per share, on the basis of 10 new ordinary shares for every nine ordinary shares held.

eTranzact International, a payment technology provider, engages in the processing of all facets of electronic payment transactions using its switching platform.

 


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Opinion: It’s Time to Get Serious About User Data

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By Andrew Bourne, Regional Manager, Africa, Zoho Corporation

Over the past few years, tech-savvy customers and younger, more dynamic, employees have forced businesses in all sectors to completely change their way of operating. But with that transformation has come an unprecedented threat in the shape of the harvesting and misuse of personal data by technology vendors.

For their part, customers expect every company they interact with to use technology in a way that makes their lives simpler and more efficient. After all, if they can change insurers or buy groceries with a few taps of their smartphone, why shouldn’t they be able to do the same when it comes to investing or getting property-buying advice?

Employees, meanwhile, expect to be able to interact with their companies in the same way they do with the products and services they themselves use as consumers.

But if organisations aren’t careful with the technology vendors they use, they may not only be putting their customers at risk, but also their own reputation and ultimately, their bottom line. As organisations evaluate their path forward, it is therefore critically important to step back and determine what they are giving up to rapidly stay ahead.

From a personal perspective, it is generally understood that using Google, Facebook, and Twitter comes with a compromise – people pay for these free services by allowing them to track their online behaviour constantly, giving up control of their data. They are, essentially, “surveillance companies”.

The majority of websites monitor customers, users, and prospective customers through cookies; small lines of code designed to track a visitor. Companies pay significant amounts to access the information these cookies collect, so they can target them with advertising. This happens secretly, and without an individual being aware their data has been packaged and distributed to other companies with ulterior motives. What we must recognise is that it happens in the business-to-business (B2B) world as well.

B2B companies allow surveillance companies to track their users while on their properties. Surveillance in the form of trackers can be found everywhere on B2B websites. Salesforce, SAP, WorkDay, NetSuite, and Slack, common applications in today’s professional environments, all employ surveillance tools that track things such as user browsing habits.

It’s not surprising that most Nigerians feel a massive disconnect between how their personal data should be treated and how it actually is. According to a survey by the Web Foundation, 97% of Nigerians view the treatment of their personal data as a major concern.

B2B companies use products and services from surveillance companies in exchange for their users’ data, but users are not informed about it. This practice happens on websites, and it happens on mobile devices. It is everywhere.

Data is priceless, and safeguarding it should be an organisation’s greatest responsibility. It’s important to challenge any company that collects and sells user data to stop adjunct surveillance to protect – and respect – customer privacy.

All organisations should ask if their technology vendor is running its products on a public cloud, where they can track you or client’s behaviour or data. Most public cloud companies also have ad-based business units, and as we know, ads and privacy don’t mix. In order to remove trackers from all ad-supported companies, have they developed tools internally? Where are the “Trojan horses” within the confines of their products?

It has been said that data has surpassed oil in value. For businesses who grow by exploiting consumer’s personal data, it’s gold dust. Sure, some things can be monetised; personal data should not be one of them.


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21st Century Technologies Launches Konet, Solutions to All Communication Needs

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21st Century Technologies Limited, Nigeria’s ICT powerhouse has launched Konet- a wholly grown indigenous fully customizable, real-time collaboration tool that allows users to work and share.

21st Century Technologies Launches Konet, Solutions to All Communication Needs

Wale Ajiesebutu, EVC/CEO, 21st Century Technologies

With Konet, users  can: chat with people from all over the world, create newsgroups, organize remote meetings, build  professional network or even follow the news of their contacts

Wale Ajiesebutu, executive vice chairman/chief executive officer, 21st Century Technologies, said that “ Konet allows for real-time collaboration and improved productivity in your workplace. There are no limits, be you an individual looking for affordable solution, a small business owner, or large organizations” he added.

Some of the security and protection on Konet include: cloud 24/7 NOC & technical operation; secured media and signaling flows; encrypting data during traffic and during storage; and unique and dedicated, only includes the user group you defined.

Others are: generalized to your company, includes all the users you defined along with all your company and subsidiary users;  public, your company users and the rest of the world; and for quicker approval process of documents shared.

Konet adapts to user’s needs and those of the teams by offering fully customizable tool.

It has inbuilt instant chat messages to keep in touch with your teams and users can organize group discussions.

Users can also share files in their workgroups so that members can access them at any time.

It has the latest activities and notifications available in one click from the  dashboard.

Konet has flexible rates according to the number of collaborators without limit of the number of meetings or documents exchanged.

For conferences; users can call to organize remote meetings with their  teams around the world.

The mail service is very easy to use and with modules like; scheduled mail delivery, auto forwarding, auto response, filtering (inbound and outbound address ip ad domain) To-do.

Another feature ofKonet  is spam protection and account delegation as well as disclaimer and can automatically sort emails into different categories to reduce clutter. This feature is really helpful.

 

 

 

 


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