Boardroom briefing: chatbots, recycling criminals and business travel made easier


Chatbots are popping up everywhere, a UK charity finds itself with a profitable business, and a new program to make business travel simpler. Readings from around the world on business, leadership and management.

Is your business using a chatbot? If you’re in customer service, perhaps it should be.

Meet Ralph, the Lego ‘giftbot’.

Chatbots automate the interactions you have with your customers on platforms such as Facebook Messenger or a company website and, if implemented well, can save a lot of time and money.

‘Retail sales resulting from chatbot-based interactions will reach US$112 billion by 2023, up from US$7.3 billion in 2019; representing an annual growth rate of 98 per cent,’ observes UK consultancy Juniper Research.

Want to buy some Lego online for the kids? Meet Ralph the Lego ‘giftbot’ who, with four or five pre-programmed questions, can sell you a Lego set without any human interaction.

Want to bank online with Westpac in Australia? Meet Red, Westpac’s brand new artificial intelligence chatbot, launched to the bank’s 4.9 million online customers just last week.

‘The main reason why chatbots are so popular is that communication with a real person often takes too long when a customer calls the company,’ observes Chatbot magazine in its 2019 annual report.

With the average response time for a chatbot of 45 seconds, we can’t wait to see the first chatbot speaking Tok Pisin.

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There’s money in muck … and CSR

Recycled mobile phones seized form prison. Credit: Recycled Lives

A company from the northwest of England is winning awards and making headlines for an innovative approach to combining business and charity.

As featured recently on Sky News UK, Recycling Lives uses its commercial operations in recycling and waste management to support charity programs for offender rehabilitation. The striking thing is its business model is actually profitable, with its charity work leading to increased staff loyalty and goodwill among clients.

The rapidly-expanding firm provides employment to around 300 former offenders at any given time.

On average, almost 65 per cent of those released UK prisons will go on to commit further offences within 12 months, but the re-offending rate for those employed by Recycling Lives is just 5 per cent.

That’s the ticket

Imagine having a single booking number for a journey that includes international and domestic airlines across multiple countries, multiple hotel bookings, car hires and lounge access. It would certainly be a blessing for busy executives (and their personal assistants!).

After successfully finalising a one-year pilot project, Lufthansa Group has become the first airline group to earn an IATA ONE Order certification, which aims to achieve this.

During the pilot project, Lufthansa adopted IATA’s ONE Order, an initiative to modernise the flight booking experience for its member airlines and, as a result, for us travellers.

‘ONE Order will facilitate product delivery and settlement between airlines and their partners with one simplified and standardised order management process,’ says IATA. ‘All parties will follow a single process to service customers throughout their entire product purchase and delivery experience.’

It’s early days for the program, but hopefully it won’t be too long before other airlines implement ONE Order a bit closer to home.


  1. nishita says

    Chatbots are our present and a long-term future. They are the future of all the major industries from Healthcare to Banking and not limited to a single industry. I want to introduce to Engati chatbot. It is a chatbot platform where you can build, manage, integrate, train, analyse and publish your bot in a few minutes visit Check our use case video –

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