With Lithium release of Brand Messaging and our next-generation BOT / Automation integration architecture (in Early Access), Lithium offers the ability to deploy a persistent-chat in your community thus allowing your bot to interact with customers. We also have a perspective that with an interaction style like this, there should probably always be a path to a human (agent or perhaps super-user).
The use case @Wendy_S describes at the very beginning from a few years ago is totally possible today. What is also cool is that the bot could pass back meta-data to the community that automatically does something within the community itself (for example, a bot response could cause the community to navigate somewhere else or guide the your through a process).
Lithium (including @JustinF , @NickH, myself (and others)) are very interested in partner with Communities wanting to experiment with us. Although Lithium doesn't provide a bot or automation platform yet, we can create prototypes of said automation and decide how to proceed as we learn more.
If there is interest, we could organize an informal webinar to give you insight into the first paragraph (see'ing it might be most efficient), and we can go from there. Pls comment below.
Disclaimer - beyond an experimentation and prototype phase, there might be some cost associated with a solution like this, and our goal would be to align the cost with the value delivered. We don't have those details yet.
Very excited by this, have built chatbot on IBM Watson and looking to integrate as concierge host and ideally supplement search etc