“Little effort is needed for a company to create a simple chatbot,” claims Head of Digital Marketing at JSC Ukrposhta Andriy Skotsyk. Ukrposhta chatbot appeared as a sort of breakthrough helping the state-owned firm improve an online customer support service. In his exclusive interview for AI Conference Kyiv, Andriy Skotsyk told about the development stages of their chatbot, the problems it currently solves, and other Ukraine-based enterprises that would benefit from chatbots.
Andriy Skotsyk previously worked in the media and marketing industry, since 2011, the expert has been focused on digital. The speaker cooperated with Ekonomika publisher, Raiffeisen Bank Aval, Touchpoll Ukraine, and ukr.net.
Interviewer: AI Conference Kyiv (ACK)
Speaker: Andriy Skotsyk (А.S.)
ACK: According to our observations, 2017 was the peak of chatbots popularity in Ukraine. Do you agree with that? Could you provide the reason for such a situation?
А.S.: I reckon that the ban of VKontakte and Odnoklassniki social networks in May 2017 was one of the reasons. Many people decided not to meddle with blocking bypassing and shifted to messengers. These platforms are the main space for chatbots, which affected the market growth. In fact, little effort is needed for a company to create a simple chatbot.
ACK: What are the functions of Ukrposhta chatbot?
А.S.: Ukrposhta chatbot entered the online universe in September 2017 and could perform the following functions that are available up to now:
- delivery online tracking;
- search for post offices by a geolocation or a postal code;
- tariff info.
We were working on the improvement of the current functions, and new ones are constantly added. For example, a section with a list of tracked packages and a possibility to give names so that a client can effortlessly see a current state of all packages delivery. We also added a calculator to measure the cost of international and internal packages delivery as well as a service of postal codes searching by an address.
Besides, our chatbot gives information about tariffs and connects a user with a call center operator in an online chat.
ACK: As far as we know, Ukrposhta uses both chatbots and a mobile app for delivery tracking. Which is more convenient? Why?
А.S.: It’s up to a user which option to choose. They both have advantages. The app offers a pleasing interface and enhanced possibilities – for example, organizing a package delivery online or even creation of a real postage stamp with your photo.
Meanwhile, a chatbot doesn’t require setup, it needs no memory on your mobile phone and is always available in a messenger that can be accessed from both a smartphone and a PC.
ACK: More than 100 000 Ukrainians use Ukrposhta chatbot. How can you explain such popularity?
А.S.: It’s a convenient assistant. Our chatbot has all basic functions and is available in all popular messengers. A person doesn’t need to make any effort in order to boost their convenience. By the way, 120 000 users of our chatbot got to know about it mostly due to word-of-mouth marketing, which speaks volumes about the product quality.
ACK: Currently, the main function of your chatbot is package tracking. That’s not a limit, isn’t it? What other functions do you plan to add in the future?
А.S.: In fact, delivery tracking is the most popular function of our chatbot. By the way, packages are what Ukrposhta is focused on.
We currently work on the optimization of the already existing functions and training our chatbot to communicate in order to better understand the context of user’s messages and provide relevant information about the services of Ukrposhta.
ACK: Any cases of hack attacks on the Ukrposhta chatbot? What is your advice on the chatbot protection against hacking?
А.S.: Our chatbot has never suffered hack attacks. However, if it had emerged several months earlier, a well-known virus Petya would for sure have touched upon it. What can I recommend? At least, do not upload invoices for money transactions sent to the email of a working PC.
ACK: In your opinion, which state organizations would benefit from chatbots? Explain your point of view.
А.S.: I reckon that any company (be it state-owned or commercial) needs a chatbot because all of them should perform routine tasks. Keep in mind that a chatbot can be used for both external and internal processes of a company.
ACK: What will you be talking about at AI Conference Kyiv?
А.S.: I will dedicate my presentation to one of the most popular virtual assistants of the country - Ukrposhta chatbot.
You'll know more than your colleagues and business rivals.