What is chatbot?
A chatbot is artificial intelligence (AI) software that can simulate a conversation with a user in natural language through messaging applications, websites, mobile apps or through the telephone. They use the chat interface to communicate with the website or online store visitors. The interface can be almost any popular chat app available on the market nowadays (Facebook Messenger, Line, WeChat…)
According to Gartner “By 2022, 70% of white-collar workers will interact with conversational platforms on a daily basis”
2. Why chatbots are important?
Chatbot applications streamline interactions between people and services, enhancing the customer experience. At the same time, they offer companies new opportunities to improve the customers’ engagement process and operational efficiency by reducing the typical cost of customer service.
To be successful, a chatbot solution should be able to effectively perform both of these tasks. Human support plays a key role here: Regardless of the kind of approach and the platform, human intervention is crucial in configuring, training and optimizing the chatbot system.
3. Types of chatbots
Ø Rule-based chatbots
This is the simplest type of chatbot today. People interact with these bots by clicking on buttons and using pre-defined options. To give relevant answers these chatbots require people to make a few selections. As a result, these bots have longer user journeys, and they are the slowest to guide the customer to their goal.
These bots are great when it comes to qualifying your leads. The chatbot – asks questions, and people answer them with buttons. The bot analyzes collected data and gives a reply. But, for more advanced scenarios with many conditions or factors, these chatbots aren’t always the best solution.
Ø AI-powered chatbots
AI-powered chatbots understand free language, but also have a predefined flow to make sure they solve the user’s problem. They can remember the context of the conversation and the user’s preferences. These chatbots can jump from one point of conversation scenario to another when needed and address random user requests at any moment.
These chatbots use Machine Learning, AI and Natural Language Processing (NLP) to understand people.
NLP is the ability of the computer to understand and analyze human speech, find the right response and reply in understandable for a human language.
The goal of NLP is to make the interaction between computers and humans feel like communication between two people. With the help of NLP people can freely interact with chatbots asking a question.
Ø Intellectually independent chatbots
These bots use Machine Learning (ML) which helps the chatbot learn from user’s inputs and requests
ML is the ability of the computer to learn by itself from the data, recognize patterns and decide with minimal human interference.
Intellectually independent chatbots are trained to understand specific keywords and phrases that trigger bot’s reply. For example, you write to a chatbot: “I have a problem with logging into my account”. The bot would understand the words “problem” “logging” “account” and would provide a pre-defined answer based on these phrases.
4. How do chatbots work?
Fundamentally, a chatbot allows a form of interaction between a human and a machine. The interaction happens via written message or voice. A chatbot comes up with its answers through a combination of predefined scripts and machine learning (ML). When a question is asked, the chatbot will respond based on what it knows then. If the conversation brings it to a place where it does not know what to do, the chatbot will either deflect the conversation or potentially pass the conversation to a human operator. In both cases, it will also try to learn from that interaction. Over time and multiple interactions, the chatbot will gradually gain in scope and relevance. The complexity of a chatbot is determined by the sophistication of its underlying software and the data it can access. If the chatbot is not connected to the relevant data, then you will quickly find out that it is not very useful. You may already be using chatbots in your life. If you have asked Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri or Microsoft’s Cortana about something for example “what’s the weather like today”, you have interacted with a chatbot.
5. Benefits of chatbot
Customers can be frustrating when there is no one online to assist them with their queries. Chatbots can be extremely useful in such cases. They can be present throughout the day and night and are always available to solve the customer’s concerns.
People don’t like to wait for a long time to have their concerns addressed. About 37% of customers want quick answers to their questions. Instead, you should resolve their queries at the earliest and chatbots can help you do exactly. This is perhaps the reason why they are quickly replacing other forms of customer support such as live chat and calls. You can have a chatbot work 24/7 to solve your customers’ queries. It can help to improve your overall customer satisfaction.
Save cost on customer service
Did you know that a single chatbot can perform the task of several customer service agents? Sure it can. Chatbots are cost-effective customer service solutions for brands in any capacity with a high or low budget.
When you have a customer support team, you need to pay them salaries every month for their service. Without a chatbot, you will need a huge staff to respond to your customers quickly and efficiently. And as your business grows, these expenses will only keep on adding up.
Chatbots may require a big one-time investment, but they help reduce your recurring expenses even when your organization grows. When your customers have some simple queries, you won’t need any intervention by the customer support team. Instead, the chatbots will handle the conversations with them and solve their problems.
Showcase new products and services
Through chatbots, you can showcase your latest products and services to your audience. They maintain a friendly tone at all times and this allows you to announce your latest products and services easily.
The best part about these forms of notifications is that they are highly targeted in nature. You can select which notifications should be sent to whom. This can make your relevant customers feel special, and you won’t irritate those who don’t find the product or service relevant.
Reduce human error
One of the reasons we use chatbots is because we want to have time for other things while we allow something else to do our work for us. Can we trust chatbots with this task? Of course, we can. Sometimes we may forget, but it won’t forget. Chatbots are designed to have access to enormous information that can help them answer your customer’s questions accurately.
Chatbots are computer programs that simulate human communication. There are 3 main types of chatbots: rule-based, AI-powered bots and intellectually independent. Based on the type, bots use AI, ML and NLP mechanisms.
Today, the number of chatbots on Facebook keeps growing, more and more brands are starting to understand the main business benefits of chatbots.