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#104-Do You Know What Human Takeover Is?

There was a time when apps made us elated. In 2016, people spent 900 BH (billion hours) on apps, and that's 150 BH more than in 2015. The app economy will grow to $6.3 T in 2021, which was $1.3 T in 2016. People depend on apps for a significant number of daily activities, be it booking uber trips or hotel rooms on make my trip (MMT), watching movies on netflix or sending messages to friends on whatsapp, or shopping gifts on amazon. The app economy grew fast and is still growing fast. But, there is something that is growing even faster than apps did ... and that's bot economy. The central concept of bot ecosystem is automation. Suppose, in your office you and your colleagues use a messaging platform's chat room where the team discusses the progress of ongoing projects. The team lead is the admin of the chat room. Every time the top management sends a recommendation, you are tasked to discuss the recommendation with the team. So, every time you receive a recommendation mail, you read it, understand it, and then explain it to your colleagues in the chat room before the original discussion starts. You decide to automate the process. With your team lead's permission, who is the admin of the chat room, you add a bot to the room that retrieves a recommendation mail's contents from your inbox and posts in the room. The entire team can then understand the recommendation and start discussion immediately. Automation saves important man hours which can be spent on real tasks instead of repetitive tasks which do not require creative or analytical thinking.

From a corporation's perspective, having a crystal-clear bot strategy is important. An organization needs to decide what operations it wants automated. In operations which it wants automated, they need to decide the share of automation. In the case of full automation, the bot handles flow from beginning to end. It is suitable in regular and structured tasks, for instance, when a user wants to reset his account password a bot can guide him through the entire process. For best results, we recommend, you use a mixed strategy, a strategy that takes the best of both worlds, the bot world and the human world. This strategy is called human takeover. It's a concept in bot universe through which control of a conversation is transferred from the bot to a real human. There are multiple scenarios which might require human takeover such as, triage, escalation, and supervision. A bot needs to decide when it should transfer the control to a human and it should then offer a smooth transition to the user, not a glitchy one. The bot should inform the user that control is being transferred to a human agent and the conversation should be put in a waiting state until an agent is available. On the server-side, an agent from the pool of available agents should be assigned the conversation. In order to ensure the best user experience, the agent should be provided the context information which may include user profile in addition to the bot-user conversation that took place before the transfer. The agent matching process should take the user's language, region etc. in consideration to ensure a smooth conversation. Microsoft recommends the bot should continue operating as a facilitator between the agent and the user. It should be implemented in such a fashion that the user and the agent feel they are chatting with each other directly, whereas, in reality, the bot is routing messages between them, "The bot receives messages from the user and sends those messages to the agent. Likewise, it receives messages from the agent and sends those messages to the user."

The human takeover strategy ensures the best possible user experience at the least possible cost. Businesses big and small are using this strategy to gurantee customer satisfaction. It also adds a much-needed human touch to a machine-driven conversation.

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