Skillsoft Blog

Meet Skillz - The Skillsoft Chatbot

August 5, 2020 | by Amanda Papavasiliou

What exactly is Artificial intelligence? As defined by Merriam Webster it is, “a branch of computer science dealing with the simulation of intelligent behavior in computers. [2] the capability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behavior”. AI is a topic I was unfamiliar with until I worked on a project with Skillsoft and SumTotal. The assignment was to implement Drift’s chatbot into both Skillsoft’s and SumTotal’s websites. Of course, I was extremely excited about being brought into this new project, but it left me wondering how much help I could be since I am a business major with no existing knowledge of AI.

Before the first meeting with Drift, I did some research so that I could be prepared. I started with the organization itself, Drift, and learned how the company uses a chatbot as a software application to guide a user to the desired outcome with as little to no work for the user as possible. Having this additional context, I realized that I had been unknowingly interacting with artificial intelligence frequently. This was quite a surprise to me because my perception of AI prior had been negative.

With this background I was now starting to understand the business value of AI. My role was attending the weekly meetings with the Customer Success Manager (CSM) and Conversation Marketing Specialist from Drift to discuss how we can customize different playbooks to guide users to find the answers they are searching for. For example, if you interacted with the chatbot "Skillz" and clicked on the button, "I'd like to read some case studies":

In real-time, the AI application would find all the case studies from various customer markets at Skillsoft and display them for you. The image below represents how that conversation would appear for the user:

Being able to create this simple conversation between the bot and the user has enabled a more natural way in which customers can find the information they were searching for much quicker. I learned all of this within the first meeting! It was so cool to be able to learn about the work that goes on behind the scenes of a software application and to see it implemented on the Skillsoft and SumTotal sites. Every weekly meeting, I get to be a part of editing and improving the "playbooks" and help work towards the goal of reducing any friction a customer might encounter.

Since I had enjoyed being a part of this project with Drift, I took the opportunity to learn more details from Mike Curley, who is the CSM from Drift. Mike is so involved we joke he is a part of the Skillsoft Marketing team! I asked him about his perspective with the chatbot and what he thinks is the most rewarding and exciting part about his job:

  • What are you excited about with the future of Drift?
    • We've been talking about digital transformation for years. But now, everyone is forced to take their one to three-year plans and turn them into one to three-month plans. We are uniquely positioned to help companies do just that, and I'm excited to be a part of the movement to continue to find ways to enable real-time, person to person communication digitally. Beyond helping companies provide a better customer experience, we're also helping drive real results and revenue, and I'm thrilled to be a part of it. 
  • How has the partnership between Drift and Skillsoft been for you?
    • The Skillsoft team has been incredibly responsive and open to recommendations to ensure that our partnership is as fruitful as possible. I truly feel that I am a part of the Skillsoft Marketing organization, and that is what has allowed us to be mutually successful with this partnership, driving early results such as additional Perspectives registrations and pipeline in just the first two months.  
  • What do you think the most beneficial part of implementing Drift is into the Skillsoft site?
    • Connecting people to the outcomes they are looking for on both sides of the website. Sales, Marketing, the customer, and the future customer all benefit from having a flexible channel like Drift on Skillsoft. It removes the friction in the buying process, which is a win-win for everyone involved.

What I have learned the most from being a part of this project has been, using Drift as a chatbot reduces friction for our user and ultimately allows us to market smarter to our audience. Being a part of this project has been such a great learning experience for multiple reasons – the biggest so far being that I was able to see how essential partnerships are with outside organizations. The Drift team feels like a part of Skillsoft in the sense that they are incredibly involved and helpful with all projects. It has been a great experience to work with them and to get more insight into the world of AI as well!

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