Blog

August 29th, 2016

2016August29_SocialMedia_AFishes are known to travel together in schools. They do so as a defense mechanism against predators or as a means to find a mate. Rarely do we see a fish making its way through the ocean unaccompanied. Schools of fish are the Twitter equivalent of celebrities or public figures, whereby lone guppies are SMBs struggling to make a splash in terms of their online presence. Allow Twitter’s latest stand-alone dashboard app to lend your business a helping hand.

According to Noah Pepper, Twitter’s product and engineering manager, “For businesses, Twitter is a place to share news, tell stories, and have conversations that support, educate, and delight their customers.” On top of that, he states that “It's a place for authentic interactions – but we know that creating these kinds of connections isn't always easy for businesses that are time and resource-constrained.” Because of this, Twitter has developed a brand new application that helps lighten your social media load -- enter Twitter Dashboard.

Twitter Dashboard specifically caters toward small- to medium-sized businesses, helping them to establish a fast, efficient and affordable means to manage their online presence. It helps you easily track and engage with audiences. The free app is still in the beta phase but is available to all businesses in the United States via iOS devices. There’s also a desktop web version as well.

With the help of Twitter Dashboard, social media managers can schedule tweets and set up customized feeds with the sole purpose of tracking what’s being said about a particular business. There are tools in the app that aids in tracking keywords as well as brainstorming ideas for potential tweets.

Here are some examples from Noah Pepper:

  • Say you work at a restaurant. You can come up with something like, “Your team is as unique as your business. Tweet a surprising fact about one of your team members.” This helps remind you to share some of the recent recognition your chef has received.
  • Or if you are an interior designer, when you see the tweet “Share the love. Like and Retweet kind words from your customers,” you’re prompted you to Retweet the next customer’s reaction to one of your projects.
Twitter Dashboard may not be of much use to savvy online marketers, but for those who have just dipped their toes into social media, it might help build the confidence needed to take flight. And this is exactly what Twitter needs if it's aiming to increase overall platform engagement.

Small- and medium-sized businesses should seize every opportunity they can to grow. Leverage the power of social media and see your company spread its wings and fly, soaring amidst the chirp of the blue birds tweeting. For further questions about Twitter Dashboard, feel free to give us a call, follow us, tweet us or give us a direct message -- we’re always ready to help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Social Media
August 26th, 2016

2016August26_BusinessIntelligence_AIf genie lamps were out of stock before you could place an order for one, the next best thing to manage and grow your small- and medium-sized business lies in CRM. Short for customer relationship management, a real difference is possible, with the right software of course. With the numerous options out there, finding the most suitable one is like walking into a maze without a flashlight or GPS. We spared you the trouble and rounded up the best CRM software options for 2016:

Since every business differs in terms of size, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to CRM. Thus, varying corporate sizes require unique CRM software that best addresses requirements. We’ll be taking a look at ideal CRM software options for the following categories: businesses in general, very small businesses and ones that are free.

Best CRM Software for Small Businesses: Salesforce

Salesforce has long been considered one of the top-tier CRM solutions, mainly due to its cloud-based nature coupled with full-featured capabilities that cater to businesses of every size. Typically, Salesforce is synonymous with larger enterprises, but that doesn’t mean small- and medium-sized businesses are denied the same perks. Enter Salesforce’s small business edition: with it, SMBs can utilize the robust set of CRM tools at an affordable rate.

Salesforce Small Business Solutions offer packages that are tailor-made for small businesses. With it you’ll be able to fully utilize all that Salesforce has to offer. In order for your company to really thrive, your CRM should be equipped with features such as lead generation, contact and opportunity management, sales forecasting, workflow automation as well as collaborative tools -- all of which can be found in Salesforce. Also, the software is cloud-based, meaning that you can access data and files anywhere at anytime via mobile devices.

Best CRM Software for Very Small Businesses: Insightly

Underneath its simple and navigable facade lies a CRM software that is abundant with capabilities, all of which fit the bill for microbusinesses. Aside from the fact that it has the vital components small businesses really look for in CRM software, it’s also highly scalable to accommodate the growth of your company. Furthermore, Insightly is currently one of the more affordable CRM solutions on the market; there’s even a free version if you wish to test the waters. There are also paid plans available at a fraction of the price when compared with other CRM software solutions.

Even with the free version or paid plans that start at $12, Insightly doesn’t compromise utility with affordability. It comes equipped with all the vital CRM capabilities any microbusiness would need. This includes detailed sales reports, opportunity, contact and project management as well. It’s also scalable to meet the needs of your business as it grows. To top it all off, it’s a cloud-based CRM software allowing you to access data anywhere at anytime via Internet-enabled mobile devices.

Best Free CRM Software: Zoho CRM

Not having to pay for Zoho doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t deliver the necessary capabilities required from CRM software. Zoho CRM provides your business with all the core functions it needs. Moreover, it allows you to onboard up ten users for free. Courtesy of Zoho CRM’s mobile app, you’ll be able be access data regardless of time or location. Here are some of the other features that the free version of Zoho CRM has to offer:
  • 360-view - all the vital information is stored and displayed, allowing you to make the best business decisions. This includes contacts, sale cycles, pipelines, and discover trends. It also helps you identify opportunities.
  • Automation - spend less time dealing with mundane tasks by automating tasks such as lead generation, contact management, calendars and even call logs.
  • Collaboration - Zoho CRM doubles as a social media platform integrating with Twitter and Facebook to link contacts to their social media accounts. This allows you to see their updates as well as the interactions you’ve had on social media right from your dashboard.
  • Analytics - you can track sales as well as measure both business and employee performance via a range of reporting capabilities.
  • Security - with Zoho CRM, you are given full control over who can do what with the software. Besides creating individual user profiles, you can assign roles and even restrict access.
Unlike farms, the main component to a company's growth isn’t fertilizer and sunshine. Instead, it’s competent CRM software that allows your business to reach its full potential. If you have any questions on customer relationship management software, feel free to get in touch with us. We’re more than happy to not only provide answers but also be part of your success.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic business
August 25th, 2016

2016August25_Office_ADid you know that Microsoft’s Office 365 platform provides updates to their online components once every quarter? This is quite impressive because as an end user, you’ll be able to enjoy a more feature-rich and intuitive experience with your cloud productivity suite without having to manually install the updates yourself. So what exactly does Office 365’s update have in store for you this quarter?

Word

This quarter, Office 365’s upgrade will focus on cloud-powered intelligent services, designed to maximize productivity while saving time. And Office 365’s upgrade wouldn’t be an upgrade if there were nothing new in Word, the business application that put Microsoft on the map. To that end, Word is getting two new features called Researcher and Editor. As you may have guessed, Researcher is designed to help you find reliable sources of information by using Bing’s Knowledge Graph to help search and then cite sources in your Word document. In the future, Researcher’s body of reference materials will also include sources such as national science and health centers, well-known encyclopedias, and more. The feature will be available on mobile devices too.

Now that you have Researcher to help you start your paper, you can count on Editor to help you finish it. This new feature builds on the existing spellchecker and thesaurus, and in addition to the wavy red line under a misspelled word and wavy blue line under bad grammar, Editor uses a gold line for suggestions on how to improve your writing.

PowerPoint

Currently, when making a presentation, you’re forced to use the 1-2-3-4 linear method of showing your slides. The problem is that you can’t change your presentation order as needed without having to exit PowerPoint’s slideshow mode, and let’s face it, sometimes you do make mistakes and need to go back or move to a different slide. But thanks to PowerPoint’s new feature, Zoom, you can now present your slides in any order you want at any time without a hiccup.

Outlook

The time has come for Office 365’s Outlook to get the Focused Inbox which has been available for iOS and Android for some time now. If you’re not familiar with Focused Inbox, the feature separates your inbox into two tabs: Focused tab which includes emails that matter most to you and the “Other” tab for everything else. This makes it easy to identify email that needs your attention so you never miss anything important.

Not only that, but as you move email in or out of the Focused tab, Outlook learns from your behavior and adjusts to your priorities. You can also flag someone by typing the @ symbol in the body of the email and pick whoever you wish to flag. This will automatically highlight that person’s email and their email address will be added to the To: line. If you are mentioned, the @ symbol will show up in Outlook so you can quickly find all email where you are mentioned.

For now, Microsoft hasn’t set a release schedule for these new features, but according to Kirk Koenigsbauer, Corporate Vice President for the Office team, you can expect to use them soon enough! And as always, if you would like to find out how you can make the most out of Office 365 or Microsoft Office, contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Office
August 24th, 2016

2016August24_Virtualization_ACitrix is one of the biggest names in the virtualization sector. It currently services over 330,000 organizations, and by teaming up with Microsoft to expand its cloud-based software delivery, the company hopes to give that number a boost. While the news of this partnership does mean winding down one popular software as a service, a newer -- and hopefully better -- one is on its way. Keep reading to find out how this announcement affects your organization.

What Citrix’s XenApp already does is deliver applications to users via a variety of methods and pathways other than local installations. The process starts with the creation of server-stored software containers that allow the services an application provides to be delivered to your staff members from a centralized server. XenApp enables you to set rules and procedures for when and how these features can be accessed, and it creates a multitude of versions of the software that can be delivered to different operating systems, devices, and locations.

In a press release back in May, Citrix made a bombshell announcement that it would create cloud-based versions of all its virtualization packages using Microsoft’s Azure as the foundation. While the two companies have been closely aligned for decades, this is an enormous boost to both their reputations. Fast forward to today, and we’re seeing the first rays of sunshine from this new team-up.

And much more than simply lending Citrix the foundation, Microsoft will be directly involved in the development and release of the new cloud-based version of XenApp. The two companies have promised to work together to combine the simplicity and scalability of Azure with the administration and performance improvements of XenApp, thereby creating the most comprehensive software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider on the market.

Because Microsoft’s RemoteApp already acts as an Azure SaaS platform, the potential for conflict means it will be wound down to its eventual sunset in August 2017. But fear not; for faithful users of this service, Microsoft has promised a clear transition plan to reduce the possibility of growing pains.

Cloud-based XenApp is just the first of many improved services to be born out of the partnership between these two titans of tech. Rumors are swirling that XenDesktop will get the same treatment and a release won’t be far behind. Regardless, the tech industry is moving ahead with the virtualization of everything it can get its hands on, and it's time to jump on the bandwagon. When you’re ready to make the leap, our experts are ready to pull you aboard. Contact us today for answers to all of your virtualization questions.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

August 19th, 2016

2016August19__MicrosoftWindowsNewsAndTips_ATechnology addicts and workaholics have one thing in common: a constant quest to reduce barriers between themselves and their technology. If being interrupted by a buzzing phone is the bane of your desk-based existence, the Windows 10’s anniversary update contains an exciting feature that just might put a smile on your face. By simply installing an app from Microsoft, you can receive and respond to Android notifications from your computer. Let’s see how it works.

The first thing you need to do is to wirelessly pair your Android phone with your Microsoft desktop. From the Google Play store, download and install the Cortana app and sign into the Microsoft account you use on your computer. Once you’ve signed in, select the Menu button in the upper-left-hand corner and select Settings. After that, select the option for ‘sync notifications’ and toggle which you would like to see on your desktop.

Notifications are broken down into four categories: calls, texts, battery alerts, and third-party apps. Although an option to answer the phone from your computer hasn’t been added yet, you can read and respond to text messages. When deciding on third-party app settings, remember the goal is to manage your interactions, not create more. Make sure to disable any notifications that will create annoying redundancies like doubled-up Facebook alerts between your Android pairing and previously-enabled desktop notifications.

And just like that, you’re all set. As long as you have Cortana enabled on your desktop, all your Android alerts will automatically display in your Windows 10 Action Center. There is no need to interact with the app on your mobile device, and we recommend removing the shortcuts from the clutter of your homescreen. Gone are the days of needlessly checking your phone every time it vibrates, just to find out it’s another telemarketer or unimportant Instagram notification.

As technology reaches the hands of more and more people, and hardware and software options increase exponentially, there are few problems that can’t be fixed with a little ingenuity. Our staff has that ingenuity, and they’re waiting to impart it on you and your business. Call us from your phone or text us from your desktop. Regardless of how you reach us, don’t wait for more problems to sneak up on you.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic windows
August 18th, 2016

2016August18_Security_AEvery time we learn about a cyberattack that has affected so many businesses, we invest in security technologies that will safeguard our systems. This year, however, social engineering attacks have taken center stage in the Rio Olympics. Using various scams, hackers can circumvent network security systems by convincing gullible users into giving away sensitive information. But spectators aren’t the only victims. Without knowing the most common social engineering exploits, your business’s data is also at risk. That’s why we have compiled four of the most frequently used social engineering scams to help protect you and your business.

Phishing Phishing scams are perhaps the most common type of social engineering attack. Usually seen as links embedded in email messages, these scams lead potential victims into seemingly trustworthy web pages, where they are prompted to fill in their name, address, login information, social security number, and credit card number.

Phishing emails often appear to come from reputable sources, which makes the embedded link even more compelling to click on. Sometimes phishing emails masquerade as government agencies urging you to fill up a personal survey, and other times phishing scams pose as false banking sites. In fact earlier this year, fraudulent Olympics-themed emails redirected potential victims to fake ticketing services, where they would eventually input their personal and financial information. This led to several cases of stolen identities.

Tailgating

What’s the best way to infiltrate your business? Through your office’s front door, of course! Scam artists can simply befriend an employee near the entrance of the building and ask them to hold the door, thereby gaining access into a restricted area. From here, they can steal valuable company secrets and wreak havoc on your IT infrastructure. Though larger enterprises with sophisticated surveillance systems are prepared for these attacks, small- to mid-sized companies are less so.

Quid pro quo

Similar to phishing, quid pro quo attacks offer appealing services or goods in exchange for highly sensitive information. For example, an attacker may offer potential targets free tickets to attend the Olympic games in exchange for their login credentials. Chances are if the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Pretexting

Pretexting is another form of social engineering whereby an attacker fabricates a scenario to convince a potential victim into providing access to sensitive data and systems. These types of attacks involve scammers who request personal information from their targets in order to verify their identity. Attackers will usually impersonate co-workers, police, tax authorities, or IT auditors in order to gain their targets’ trust and trick them into divulging company secrets.

The unfortunate reality is that fraudsters and their social engineering tactics are becoming more sophisticated. And with the Olympics underway, individuals and businesses alike should prepare for the oncoming wave of social engineering attacks that threaten our sensitive information. Nevertheless, the best way to avoid these scams is knowing what they are and being critical of every email, pop-up ad, and embedded link that you encounter in the internet.

To find out how you can further protect your business from social engineering attacks, contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic security
August 17th, 2016

2016August17_Hardware_ALike new cars and smartphones, new keyboards are also initially alluring enough to elicit everyone’s oohs and ahs. But as their novelty fades, it’s easy to start taking them for granted. Is typing on them slower than before? Is the gaming experience they deliver no longer up to par? Whether for leisure or business purposes, good keyboards really make a difference. Next time you're shopping for one, take these four factors into consideration as well.

Connectivity

If the internet and computer mouse possess wireless capabilities, why should your keyboard be any different? This is debatable, depending on what exactly you use the keyboard for. Keyboards are normally plug-and-play devices that don’t require additional software installation (excluding certain gaming models); wired models draw power from the USB,eliminating the use of batteries altogether. Gamers tend to prefer wired over wireless because they won’t have to deal with lag and interference issues.

Looking to declutter? Wireless is the way to go. With wireless keyboards, data is transmitted to your PC via one of two primary means: either through an RF connection to a USB receiver or via Bluetooth. They might have their pros and cons, but they significantly reduce the number of cables on your desk while allowing you more flexibility to work -- lie down on the couch and type from across the room. Also, most wireless keyboards connect to the PC via a 2.4-GHz wireless dongle that are also used for cordless phones and Wi-Fi internet. Providing connectivity to multiple devices at once.

Type of Key Switches

This aspect of keyboard design is widely mentioned in reviews, yet many people overlook the importance of the type of switches used for individual keys. Although the intricate mechanisms that hide beneath the keys might not excite you, the difference you feel from each type will. The three main types of key switches include silicone dome, scissor switches, and mechanical switches. For example, keyboards that come with a new desktop PC generally use silicone-dome switches, whereby two dimpled layers of silicone membrane form a grid of rubber bubbles that acts as the switch for each key. This type also requires you to press the key right to the bottom in order for a letter to be typed, gradually diminishing its springiness and responsiveness over time.

Why have the newer laptops and ultrabooks ditched silicone domes for scissor switches instead? Scissor switches add a mechanical stabilizer that provides uniformity. Moreover, under each keycap is a plunger that allows for shorter key travel. This causes scissor-switch keyboards to have a shallow typing feel with enhanced durability when compared with silicone dome switches.

What keyboard enthusiasts can’t get enough of are the mechanical switch keyboards. Their intricacy lies in the spring-loaded sliding keypost beneath each key. Several variations are available, and each provides slightly different sensations or sounds. Mechanical switches generally provide enhanced tactile feedback, having more of the “clickety-clack” sound. Thanks to the sturdy switch mechanisms and durable springs, they last longer and are also easily repairable. Furthermore, each keystroke registers shorter travel, making them ideal for touch typists.

Ergonomics

In order to keep carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive stress injury at bay, keyboards are designed to allow your hands to remain in a neutral position while typing. Not only do ergonomic keyboards provide greater comfort, they also reduce joint and tendon stress, sparing you from relentless inflammation as well as pricey surgical procedures. Ergonomic features range from simple padded wrist-rests to elaborate curved and sloped keyboards.

Standard vs. Gaming Usage

Keyboard usage isn’t limited only to typing. That’s why gaming keyboards are designed for competitive usage, which allows for maximum specialization and control. Some are even customized to fit specific styles of game play, considering exact standards of durability as well as responsiveness. Others may also incorporate pulsing backlight and vibrant color schemes that cater to the gamer aesthetic. Certain premium models utilize high-grade mechanical key switches, sculpted keycaps, and numerous customizable features such as programmable macro commands and tweakable backlight intensity. Gaming keyboards are also equipped with the anti-ghosting feature that allows multiple keystrokes to be registered simultaneously -- something regular keyboards can’t do. Other goodies range from pass-through USB ports to audio connections on the keyboard. This simplifies the process of connecting peripherals to a desktop PC.

It won’t hurt to take some time to see if your current keyboard is delivering. Do not settle for anything but the best. If you need any help or have questions regarding the intricacies of finding the right keyboard, don’t hesitate to mail us or drop us a line. We’re more than happy to help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Hardware
August 15th, 2016

2016August15_VoIP_AVoIP is the funny-sounding phone system that’s been around for over two decades. Though that may seem surprising, it actually makes sense, because that’s about how long the internet has been mainstream, and “Voice over Internet Protocol” needs internet in order to function. So what might the future hold for small-business telecom if these two technologies continue to advance in sync?

Before we check our VoIP crystal ball, we’d like to give you a quick rundown of what small- and medium-sized businesses get from a robust Voice-over-IP internet calling plan today:

  • Convenience – it’s easy to manage
  • Scalability – it’s even easier to expand
  • Economy – calls over the internet are cheap
  • Portability – access from anywhere with high-speed internet
  • Efficiency – attach emails, send efaxes, conduct virtual meetings, etc.

These are, in brief, the core qualities that make VoIP systems so beneficial to SMBs. But how will value propositions like these be affected by future telephony trends? Could advances in internet technology possibly have adverse effects on VoIP, or will the two continue moving in harmony?

Here’s a look at three ways we envision VoIP and internet coming together in the not-too-distant future.

The Cloud + VoIP

Many companies’ first step away from their traditional phone system is to a premised-based VoIP system. It’s a great option, but one that may not fully capture all the benefits of VoIP such as the lower expense and easy expandability.

A better solution, and the one that seems poised for preeminence in the future, is commonly referred to as “Hosted VoIP.” This translates to a “cloud phone system” that offers low upfront costs, lower maintenance costs, and the lowest hardware costs. Have you considered the potential for virtualization of your office environment?

Social Media + VoIP

Present-day online applications like Skype, Line, and WhatsApp – which deliver an internet-calling function as part of the package – are present-day syntheses of social media with VoIP functionality. In the future, perhaps through a service called a “chatbot,” this combination could transcend everyday personal use and make a big impact on small businesses.

Imagine if you could program a chatbot to engage interested customers through Facebook, “converse” with them via an automated Q&A session to find out their needs, and end by inviting them to connect with your CSR via video chat. A VoIP/CRM integration could easily handle it, bringing you that much closer to potential clients and closed deals.

IoT + VoIP

The Internet of Things, or IoT, is a term given to the variety of devices, gadgets, vehicles, and household products transmitting information over the internet. Think of data from earthquake early-warning systems delivered to first responders, or your bpm numbers sent from a wearable heart monitor to your cardiologist’s office.

The Internet of Things has the potential to coalesce with VoIP in many productivity-enhancing ways, such as by sending notifications from your calendar app to your VoIP interface; mobile-phone text messages can be programmed to drop into your VoIP mailbox; or GPS information can be used to automatically update employee statuses on their VoIP extensions.

You + VoIP

The future of VoIP may seem far away, at least as it pertains to its compatibility with the cloud, social media, and IoT. The reality, however, is that it’s actually starting right now.

So if you think your business would benefit from a cutting-edge VoIP solution, give us a call today, over the internet or otherwise.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic VoIP
August 12th, 2016

2016August12_Productivity_AWhile an impressive arsenal of weapons can help you win a battle, you need diligence, perseverance and sacrifice to win the war. But when that war is waged in the arena of calendar management, you’re dealing with a whole other monster. When scheduling meetings, uncontrollable factors like varying schedules and department-specific time constraints mean that the same war strategy won’t yield the same successful results. Allow Microsoft FindTime to lead your organization to victory in the battle of cross-organization meeting arrangement.

Before any meetings take place, you’ll need to download Microsoft FindTime first. Fear not, because this Microsoft Outlook add-in is easily downloadable and is 100 percent free. FindTime was developed to help you and your guests do just that — find time! Coordinating all attendees’ schedules, FindTime will iron out a time that works for everyone.

Just the thought of having to organize a meeting across your organization can stir up anxiety and elicit a huge sigh… Sigh! Why? On top of handling your own hectic schedule, you’re expected to juggle your attendees’ schedules as well. This would be the moment when telephone calls start to flood in and emails start to go back and forth, rarely heading toward a unified decision.

Bid adieu to all of that with Microsoft FindTime. Simply compose a new email or reply to an existing one and click the New Messaging Poll at the upper right hand corner. From there, choose the attendees, propose a couple tentative meeting times, and let the voting begin! Once a consensus is reached, a confirmation email is automatically sent to everyone attending.

What makes it even easier is that attendees can take a look at the visual summary that tallies all the votes, and who voted for what times. This lets you see what times the majority of people have chosen, giving you a chance to rework your schedule in advance if and when necessary.

Another plus is that to receive a Microsoft FindTime invitation, your friends and family don’t need an email address or even an Internet connection! Participants aren’t required to have Office 365 either; only the organizers need to access Office 365. This means that you can reach out to your friends, loved ones, and colleagues to organize your meetings, set up playdates, and even plan surprise birthday parties — the possibilities are endless.

For more info about Microsoft FindTime, feel free to send us an email or give us a call! Our experts will gladly answer your questions. We believe that time is money, and money is the last thing you’d want to jeopardize. Allow us to help safeguard your assets by ensuring that all the time you spend on the clock doesn’t go to waste. Every minute counts.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic business
August 11th, 2016

2016August11_Web_AIn today’s tech-centric world, the demand for new apps is overwhelming the supply. Whether due to simple curiosity or just plain excitement, people are usually drawn to chatbots. In time, however, novelty wears thin and people lose interest. This may be partially due to the fact that bots aren’t as engaging as we initially imagined them to be. Fortunately, the silver lining here is that necessity -- or in this case, boredom -- is the mother of invention, so people customize these chatbots to create a better experience.Here are 5 tips to get you started:

Emulate the WeChat Model

This Chinese cross-platform instant messaging app has housed chatbots since 2011 and shows no signs of letting up. When compared with other countries, China’s bot market is at a further development stage, meaning there are many things to learn from WeChat’s chatbots. Here a few of them:
  • Two types of bot accounts: WeChat offers Subscription and Service accounts. Subscription accounts mainly gather news and blogs, whereas Service accounts are fully-functional bots that offer features like speech recognition as well.
  • News: News bots make up over 34 percent of the Top 500 Bots in China. This means that WeChat is the main news source for Chinese citizens.
  • Top five categories: Current Affairs, Culture, Entertainment & Sports, Humor, and Emotions — these five categories compose almost 50 percent of the top 500 bots on WeChat in July 2016.

Focus on chatbot-only use cases

With every new technology comes new ways of doing things that weren’t possible before. So this begs the question: “What problems can you solve with chatbots that you couldn’t otherwise solve without them?” Take Uber, for example. The reason behind its success is the implementation of this strategy -- leveraging smartphones with GPS and payment capabilities to get cabs (something that couldn’t have been done before). Currently, bots face the same challenge. Here are some examples of chatbot-only use cases:
  • Legal Help: DoNotPay, the world’s first robotic lawyer, managed to overturn 160,000 tickets in London and NYC, saving over $3 million for customers. And since the bot takes 25 percent of the savings, the company made nearly one million dollars.
  • Customer Service: Calling an 800 number is usually not the most pleasant experience, and so few people even bother. . Moreover, many companies struggle with improving customer service. Bots will change that.

Make it special

Chatbots are an extension of what we do practically every day: talk. An average person has between 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day; we constantly think in words and are constantly conversing with ourselves. A.I. isn’t quite at our level yet. We aren’t capable of schmoozing with our bots or telling them how bad our day went. But through speech, bots can take the first step toward that reality by helping us rationally solve problems.

What do we really need?

It’s undeniable that in today’s modern world, increasingly more people feel lonely and disconnected, so they look for ways to connect with the outside world. A recent survey of over 12,000 Assistant.ai users reveals that over 40 percent can picture a relationship with their A.I., and that 25 percent are actually open to the idea. Human beings tend to anthropomorphize and assume relationships since we’re constantly seeking to relate. If poorly-made chatbots can offer us an anthropomorphous opportunity, imagine what properly engineered ones can do.

Strike a nerve

For people to really care, you have to truly touch them on an emotional level -- or as the expression goes, hit a nerve. An ideal way in to do this is by calling them to action via personality. This allows us to easily connect and establish a relationship, and that’s why bots are considered to be the ideal vehicle to a personalized marketing relationship. They allow for an intimately unique experience that meets both physical and emotional needs.

So what makes a good chatbot? Sufficient problem solving capacities while being fun, positive and engaging. If you are unsure about anything written in the article, don’t hesitate to give us a call! We’ll be more than happy to answer any chatbot-related questions you have.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Web & Cloud