Chatbots are becoming increasingly intelligent and mature and are evolving as an integral part of customer service and communications. They represent one of the most popular uses of AI and machine learning in mainstream markets, and are being used to handle complex transactions and customer service interactions.
The St. Louis Blues hockey team is taking advantage of AI technology to transform the way the team interacts with fans while also increasing revenues. Two years ago, the team implemented Facebook chatbots to help increase fan engagement and drive revenues. Matt Gardner, head of digital strategy for the team, explained how the organization is taking advantage of AI technology to transform its communications on the AI Today podcast.
Gardner said he was looking for new ways to engage with the more than two million fans who visit the St. Louis Blues stadium each year. The Facebook Messenger chatbot works to engage with existing fans as well as reaching out to new potential fans and informing of events happening at the arena.
“We wanted to improve our fan experience,” said Gardner. “When fans are coming to our games, they’re expecting more now than what they’re getting on the ice. Fans are looking to stay entertained, stay engaged, and have that overall experience beyond what’s happening on the ice.”
Customer service was also an important impetus for the chatbot initiative. Problems may be addressed immediately via Messenger, giving fans a direct line of communication with the team. The team is also using AI to collect data about fans and their interests so that each fan may be targeted organically instead of pushing the same message to everyone and expecting the same result.
Finally, the team wanted to develop a stronger revenue stream. By giving fans a direct and convenient link to targeted content, partner websites and advertising, they are more likely to follow through and generate revenues. The organization can also easily push kickback and discount offers to fans via the chatbot.
The team currently receives more than 1,900 chatbot messages a week from its more than 1.4 million Facebook and Instagram followers. Very simply, the St. Louis Blues chose Facebook as its chatbot medium du jour because it enables them to reach the largest group of fans. The team is also interested in expanding its chatbot applications, including using AI to help process transactions like remote food and merchandise orders, so customers don’t need to stand in line. The Blues are working with Israeli company Pico, which specializes in AI-based games and creating fun customer engagement scenarios, to expand the chatbot.
To provide more information about how AI and chatbots are changing the workforce and offer new channels for customer engagement and revenue generation, TMC is hosting a Future of Work Expo in Fort Lauderdale, FL. The event, which will take place from February 12-14, 2020, will explore how AI and machine learning may be used to improve business communications, collaboration, sales and marketing and contact centers and customer service.
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