The customer service industry has been revolutionized, and the innovation responsible for this is chatbots. Chatbots are the newest eCommerce trend and considered to be the future of customer service and management. Let’s read in detail about what is a chatbot, how do chatbots work, different types and categories of chatbots and 6 reasons why your business needs a chatbot.
What is a chatbot?
Chatbots are simply computer programs designed to mimic a normal human conversation and simulate it through voice command or text chat. A chatbot is a service powered by rules and artificial intelligence which is interacted by users via a chat interface.
In layman’s terms, computer programs that can have real human conversations are known as chatbots. These bots are automated virtual assistants and can be given distinct personalities as well.
What platforms do chatbots inhabit?
Depending on whether you are building a text chatbot or voice assistant, there are different platforms to launch it on. Nowadays, chatbots can be found on an array of messaging platforms. Chatbots can be used with almost all popular messaging apps. They’re compatible with all the major chat message interfaces, including Facebook Messenger, Twilio, Slack, Skype, Telegram, Viber, WhatsApp, and many more. Today, there are over 300,000 chatbots on Facebook Messenger. Chatbots also communicate with people on forums and onsite live chat apps.
You may find a company’s chatbot very easily and start communication with it at any time. Smart chatbots can interact with you and if you have any problem, a chatbot can help you solve it.
How do chatbots work?
Chatbots are governed by a predetermined set of rules combined with artificial intelligence. They can understand written and spoken text, and interpret its meaning. The bot can then look up relevant information, make informed decisions and deliver it to the user.
These chatbots can relay complex information. To do so, they execute clearly defined commands through algorithms and scripts. This execution can be done faster than any human can. Bots, thus, operate automatically and do not depend on human supervision to perform their functions.
Unlike physical robots, chatbots are made up of code. The code contains the required commands and instructions for telling the bot how to communicate actively.
How can we program chatbots?
Designing or programming bots can be very simple. Bots can perform various simple or complex tasks depending on the algorithms defined in the code. However, modern bots also use complex code and artificial intelligence. Such bots are hard to distinguish from human users and look very real.
There are numerous tools and interfaces available online that help users program both simple and complex bots. For example, Twitter allows you to create your own chatbots for tweets, retweets, and likes.
What are the different categories of chatbots?
Depending on the technology it uses, there are three main categories of chatbots that can be built:
1) Rule-based Chatbots -
A rule-based chatbot is the simplest type of chatbot in the market today. A user can interact with rule-based chatbots by clicking on buttons and using predefined options. These chatbots require the user to make several selections to finally reach the ultimate answer. However, a user can only make limited selections, which makes these chatbots the slowest to help your customers find their answer.
The bots reply by selecting an answer that matches the context of a query. However, these chatbots can answer a limited set of questions. For atypical questions, the bot will require manual help. Another limitation is that these chatbots cannot perform functions outside their code.
2) Intellectually Independent Chatbots -
Intellectually independent chatbots are bots that are based on Machine Learning (ML). These chatbots use Machine Learning to learn from user’s inputs and requests. These bots understand particular keywords and phrases that trigger their replies. These bots have the capability to improve themselves over time to understand more and more queries.
3) AI-powered Chatbots -
AI-powered chatbots are a combination of rule-based chatbots plus Artificial Intelligence (AI). These bots use ML, AI, and Natural Language Processing (NLP) to understand and remember the context of the conversation. Using Natural Language Processing, a chatbot can understand the intent of the message and can even ask for additional information needed for an answer.
These chatbots become smarter with time, learning from past questions and answers and can be trained to remember the context of the conversation. In the case of a restaurant, the chatbot would be able to remember what a user had ordered previously. Moreover, the bot can remember payment information and where to make a delivery.
What are the different types/examples of chatbots?
There are tons of bots out there. Chatbots today come in all shapes and sizes and have varying levels of capabilities. Different types of chatbots benefit businesses in different ways.
Here we have given 6 different examples of chatbots which are as follows:
Growing Popularity of Chatbots
People, nowadays, are building a positive impression of chatbots. Companies are also investing heavily in chatbots. Organizations are rapidly leveraging artificial intelligence to dramatically change the way they interact with customers. According to predictions by industry professionals, chatbots will outperform mobile apps in the next few years.
6 Reasons why your business needs a chatbot
Here are the 6 most important reasons why we believe your business requires a powerful chatbot:
1. To scale up your operations
Chatbots do not suffer from the limitations of a human agent. Where a human operator can concentrate on one customer at a time, a chatbot can attend to thousands of customers at the same time. Chatbots can scale up your customer service operations as they are twice as fast as voice-based support and can handle high-call volumes with quick results.
2. To give instant response to customers
Customers do not like to wait for help. If you don’t assist them instantly, they are more likely to leave your website. Chatbots provide an instant response to the customer’s query by becoming the first point of contact. Even if a follow up is required, the customers feel properly taken care of because of a quick initial response.
3. To save time and money
Maintaining a full-time support team working at all hours can be very costly. The implementation of chatbots also results in a certain amount of investment costs. However, this cost is very low when compared to staff costs. So, instead of burning too many resources in backend support, leaving the support work to a chatbot provides enormous savings.
Chatbots can handle mundane and repetitive tasks. When you don’t have to answer repetitive questions of customers, you can save considerable time as well.
4. To increase sales
Bots help in selecting the right product for the customers by giving smart recommendations. They also cleverly introduce customers to new products and services from your company. Research claims that chatbots have the capability of increasing sales by 67% on average. Because of 24/7 availability and fast responses, bots can also boost sales that would otherwise be lost when customers have to wait for longer times.
5. To reach new customers
Bot platforms such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are some of the most popular apps. The availability of chatbots on these platforms means you can reach out to more people at once. It is proved that Messenger has an almost 95% open rate. In comparison to that, emails have a relatively narrow open rate. Reaching new customers through these platforms is hundred times powerful than through email broadcast or calls. You can also use chatbots for highly interactive marketing campaigns.
6. To eliminate human errors
Human errors are inevitable. A human agent might forget to provide complete information to a client, make mistakes while collecting customer information and listening to queries. However, there is no chance of any error with chatbots. Humans have their limitations as well. A human sometimes shows his irritation to the customer. On the other hand, a bot never gets tired and does not show any irritability.
The bottom line is these AI-powered chatbots are getting smarter over time. Soon, there will be a time when it will be hard to distinguish whether you are communicating with a human or a computer.
Learn how to effectively use this powerful technology of chatbots to grow your business with SocialBot.