What is a chatbot? Why should you care?

Today chatbots have become one of the most promising and useful tools a company can use to communicate with its customers. Chatbots can be used in many areas of work but their main purpose is to operate as a customer service agent to quickly and efficiently respond to customers. These talking bots have many functions in today’s online world.

 

What makes a chatbot special

what-is-a-chatbot

Chatbots, in essence, are a computer programmed virtual assistant that can have many features throughout a company. A chatbot is basically a program based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) that will have a conversation with a real person through any medium of communication. AI chatbots are an evolution of natural language processing which has enabled companies to step up their customer service quality. Apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and other messaging apps have seen large increases in monthly active users, with Facebook reporting 1.3 Billion monthly active users in April 2019. Customer service is most likely going to be largely made up of chatbots in the next few years as they eliminate the need for large teams of workers.

On top of customer support, bots are very useful tools for companies to get to know their customers. Chatbots, using messenger marketing campaigns, are able to gather information about customer preferences and tastes by using quizzes and other simple questions. Using machine learning these chatbots can turn data into individual recommendations and large segment data for the company to better understand their customers.

In the history of chatbots, there are two main types of bots. The first is a simple chatbot which only understands predetermined keywords and has the developers write out answers specific to each phrase. These are very limited and if prompted with any word not in its database will be unable to answer. The following type of chatbot is a smart bot, this bot uses artificial intelligence to communicate. This allows these bots to understand the text that they receive and to respond by giving information it believes is adequate. These types are a lot more performant than simple bot but are still far from perfect and still in development.

What are Use Cases of Chatbots

Today’s chatbot technology has come a long way and now there are many ways companies use bots. The advantage of a bot is that there is no waiting as the bot is automatic and will quickly reply to any question. The main case is as previously stated customer, where a bot can easily and swiftly answer any questions a customer has. The advantage you get from this are that you avoid making your customer wait for an available person to talk to, and instead of having the customer go through the help section or FAQ section of your website the chatbot does it instead and answers the customer. They can also be used to send out newsletters to customers in a more fun and interactive way. The bot can gather information for companies by asking customers questions or through extracting information from the conversation. This can include size preferences or regular orders suggestions. Chatbots are at the center of messenger marketing which today is a huge opportunity for every business that does business online. Messenger marketing, also known as chatbot marketing, allows companies to send their customers newsletter updates, shipment tracking, contests, quizzes, and other curated content specific for each customer. This will increase engagement with customers and increase customer loyalty.

chatbot-example

How to create a chatbot

The chatbot development process can be as easy or as hard as you wish it to be. There are multiple ways someone can go about making a bot for their company. First, you have to know in which department you want to implement it, what do you want it to achieve? Then you can either choose to use an existing bot software or to build one from scratch. Building a bot from scratch can be very resource intensive but it can also lead to a more precise bot for what your company needs. Chatbot platforms exist in many forms. Using a premade chatbot can be less expensive but also will require some tweaking.

Leaders of Chatbots

The are many chatbot examples today, many companies specialize in making and supplying bots to businesses. The best chatbots that exist today are the following according to Hubspot:

  • Watson Assistant
  • Bold360
  • Rulai
  • LivePerson
  • Inbenta
  • Ada
  • Vergic

Some of these companies are making conversation bots that have capabilities far beyond what we think is possible today. An example of a very advanced chatbot is the one Google presented during one of their presentations, this bot called a hairdresser and made an appointment for a haircut imitating human voice and intonations, this has left many people curious about all the possibilities possible with a chatbot but also raising the question of ethicality of this bot and if the people who are talking to a bot should be made aware at the beginning. Watson assistant was developed by IBM and has huge capabilities. Chatbots can also be implemented in twitch chat bots and Skype chat bots.

Conclusion

Overall this technology has a lot of potential and is still in an early stage of life. These bots may soon take over much of the services that companies offer to their clients online and there are many reasons for this including the fact that they raise customer satisfaction levels and also provide instant help for customers who may have questions or problems with a company. There are many companies that create these AI bots today and some are better than others but overall they all have different purposes that are useful for firms today.

Chatbots provide companies with a new tool that is still very new but is a huge asset that if used properly can make a very large difference in customer satisfaction and customer understanding.

Chatbot software is something a company should really utilize properly. Companies that invest today to become part of this movement during its early stages will be the leaders of the chatbot industry.

 

Check out Chatchamp, the messenger marketing tool to take advantage of the chatbot technology and generate more leads for your E-commerce.

 

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