Humans Are Saying “Thanks!” to Bots; Why This Peculiar Interaction Is Important

Wanting to understand how humans were engaging with bots, I decided to create a simple Facebook Messenger bot called MotivateBot — which sends motivational quotes every morning, and on demand, to inspire you throughout your day. Oh, it knows a few jokes too.

After just a few days live, I was surprised as to how many people were engaging with it and probably even more surprised that VentureBeat actually featured it as one of their “5 Bots To Try This Week”.

What is super interesting to me with this project is that I’m able to watch users engage with the technology in near real time — kinda like peeking through the looking glass of how humans interact with machines. Most of the interactions I’ve seen were expected, but one thing that has really stuck out is how many people actually say “thanks” to the bot. Never really saw this coming.

As someone who builds technology products for a living, this interaction came off as incredibly peculiar…I mean, have you ever seen anyone thank the Weather app on their iPhone when it provides the daily forecast? Or what about thanking MS Word when it successfully saves a document? I’m guessing the answer is NO.

The fact that conversations are so innate to human beings, gives the chat interface a chance to go beyond what has been done in the past with the standard UI. Perhaps to a place that builds lasting relationships, and maybe most importantly, a sense of trust between the human and the technology (or the brand in front of the tech).

If you think about it, when a human is interacting with a bot in the same way that they would interact with their friends/family, it’s hard not to see it as a deeper type of relationship than when they are just tapping around in an app. For any companies servicing customers through tech, take note.

While saying “Thanks!” to a chatbot may just seem like a one-off interaction to many, I personally think it’s one of those unique proof points that ultimately foreshadows the success of the conversational interface.


About the author: Eric is a Co-founder at The Mindful Tech Lab where he creates and markets technology applications to help people live their best life in the areas of: Health, Fitness, Mindfulness, and Motivation. Prior to starting The Mindful Tech Lab, he had a history of success delivering creative technology solutions in both the consumer and business markets, with a focus and expertise in fintech.

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