Your users have questions and you have answers, but you need a better way for your users to ask their questions and get the right answers. They often call your help desk, or post to your support forum, but over time this adds stress and cost to your organization. Could a chat bot add value for your customers? Interestingly, a recent poll shows that 44% of people would rather talk to a chat bot than to a human!
In December, Amazon launched a crowdsourced Q&A platform into beta with the goal of improving Alexa's ability to answer questions. That feature, Alexa Answers, is now live to all. Amazon says the feature was well-received by the early community of invite-only participants, who have since contributed hundreds of thousands of answers that have been shared with Alexa customers millions of times. To differentiate these answers from other Alexa responses, they're attributed to "an Amazon customer." As the company explained at launch, there are thousands of answers that had previously stumped Alexa, like "Where was Barbara Bush buried?," "Who wrote the score for Lord of the Rings?," "What's cork made out of?," and "Where do bats go in the winter?"
The cheetah can accelerate from zero to 96.6 kph in under three seconds. These cases show where the Google approach gives inferior answers. If you type the first question into Google, you get a "Popular on the web" snippet with photos of several candidates. Google just reads this, even omitting any kind of pause after "web" and before "cheetah." To top it off, the correct answer isn't even in the list it reads, and appears 10th in the list of animals.
Amazon is launching a new program that will let its customers answer some of the questions Alexa can't answer on its own. It's called Alexa Answers and starting today, the company will begin inviting select customers to field some of the more difficult questions posed to Amazon's assistant. "While Alexa can answer the vast majority of questions customers are asking every day," Bill Barton, Amazon's VP of Alexa Information, wrote in a blog post, "every once in a while, customers throw curve balls at us with various questions like'Where was Barbara Bush buried?' or'Who wrote the score for Lord of the Rings?' or'What's cork made out of?' or'Where do bats go in the winter?'" The company has been testing the Alexa Answers program internally, and in the past month, it has added more than 100,000 responses. Going forward, customers who have been invited to participate will be able to scroll through topic categories on the Alexa Answers website, choose questions they want to answer and submit a response.
People who turn to WebMD in their quest for health information can now do so without lifting a finger – they can use their voice, through a new integration with Amazon Alexa. As of today, people who use the voice-assistant service can launch the WebMD skill on any Alexa-enabled device (such as the Echo, Echo Dot and Amazon Fire TV) and ask a question about a range of health-related topics including conditions, medication, tests and treatments. Alexa will respond with WebMD-sourced answers in easy-to-understand language. "Every month, nearly one-third of the total online U.S. population turns to WebMD's websites and apps in search of answers to their health-related questions, but now they have another option – and it's as simple as asking Alexa," WebMD Vice President Ben Greenberg, whose product team developed the new voice capabilities, said in a statement. "There are a number of reasons that voice-enabled interfaces are growing in popularity – they are generally hands-free, people can talk faster than they type, and when done right, they make it easier for consumers to quickly and easily get to the information they need."