Clara de Soto is Co-Founder of Reply.ai, a company that produces conversational bots for businesses to improve customer experience. In addition to being the co-founder, de Soto heads up strategy, marketing, business development, and strategic partnerships. With retail moving more and more toward embracing customer support as an extension of the sales process, de Soto sees improved conversational artificial intelligence as vital in helping businesses realize their goals.

We work with major retailers to add conversational AI to the entire customer experience,” de Soto said. “From driving revenue by engaging customers in a whole new way at the top of the funnel, to streamlining new customer onboarding for more high-ticket, complex purchased, to offsetting customer support costs by reducing high-touch, low value interactions like WISMO.”

De Soto says that their product is, “built for companies who want more than a bot, but to launch a Conversational Strategy—that adds a layer of AI to the entire customer journey.”

The internet has empowered customers more than ever before, and businesses have to improve every aspect of their business to keep customers: from improved products and services to improved customer care and support. In the ‘Amazon age’ customers demand instant, personalized attention,” de Soto said. “This forces innovation in all aspects of the way a business is run, especially in retail where the battle against inventory is constantly being waged. Personalization goes a long way but must be instilled in every aspect of how a business is run.”

The social, economic, and institutional changes taking place at internet speed is affecting businesses as much if not more than anyone else. This includes, of course, the use and programming of bots. Companies are going to have to think not only about using AI bots, but also about who will be making them in the same way they had to think about how to use social media. Companies had to adapt to the presence of social media and how it changed the way business was done.

We’re at a similar junction” de Soto said about the emergence of bots. “It’s been fascinating to watch companies mature to meet these new needs. It’s only a matter of time until we see the first Chief Bot Officers rising.