Facebook Messenger has more than 1.2 billion users worldwide.9 out of 10 of consumers report that they would prefer to message with a business rather than have a phone call.I’ve been consulting with quite a few companies lately and helping them with their “bot” and “messaging” strategy.

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So instead of asking a customer when they’d like their next appointment in a free-flow messaging format (opening up the floodgates to any kind of answer a customer can dream up), Instant Apps limit your customers’ answers to a format that can be accurately interpreted.

You can see a lot of articles about what would make a chatbot “appear intelligent.” A chatbot is intelligent when it becomes aware of user needs.

For a business of any size, automation is a must: the costs of manually composing and replying to every in-bound message would be just too overwhelming.

So, I’ve been talking to customers about automation through Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Natural Language Processing (NLP).

At Chatbox, we’ve developed a solution to this slot-filling conundrum that we call Instant Apps.

We allow bots to discover intent through NLP, but then transition to structured data capture (forms, file exchange, checklists, wizards, surveys) for slot-filling.

The situation for chatbots is even more dire due to the laws of mathematics.

Once you string a few of these slot-filling exercises together serially, your chatbot will quickly encounter the scourge of combined probability: As you can see, as the number of slots increases, the combined chance of success falls dramatically.

After Intent Discovery, the bot will need to discover the date and time for the appointment through a series of questions: “What time would you like to schedule your appointment?

” In NLP parlance, this is known as “slot filling.” Notice that while the bot is looking for a specific answer, ideally in a specific format, the customer answers in unconstrained, free-form text.

Its intelligence is what gives the chatbot the ability to handle any scenario of a conversation with ease.