Bots to Know
The word bot can mean a variety of different things, for example to a gamer a bot would be an AI character in their game. The kind of bots we are looking at today should be thought of as conversational agents and should not be confused with robots (see image above).
What are Bots?
Chatbots appear in messaging apps, as web applications and via text message and can be used for all sorts of things like ordering takeout, booking travel, shopping for clothes, saving money and more. These bots are intelligent computer programs that can talk to you in order to accomplish as task, their programming means they deliver human like responses so talking to them feels more like asking a person for help rather than entering a search into google.
The rise of the bots is due to recent advancements in technologies meaning previous barriers to bot building like knowing how to code or other specialised technical skills are not necessary in order to use them. Some website now allow you to use drag-and-drop interfaces to create your own chatbot. Examples of some for creating bots for facebook messenger include botsify.com, chatbots builder or itsalive to name only a few.
Chatbots use NLP (Natural Language Processing) techonology, processing the information they receive from the user, they use complex algorithms to interpret and identify what has been said so that they can figure out what the user wants and determine an appropriate reply. NLP is also used by virtual assistants like Siri and Cortana.
How Can They Help Your Business?
Here is a quick rundown of some of the uses for chatbots
In terms of customer service, chatbots can save companies lots of money while still allowing them to deliver a personalised customer response, that in the majority of cases will meet the customers expectations despite the “almost human” feeling you can get when you are using them. Typically chatbots are now used by companies to replace traditional roles such as initial support and customer service/satisfaction representatives, freeing up time for the human agents to handle more complex issues.
Customer Engagement and Personalised Content
Consumers look for companies that interact with them, chatbots can be used to increase engagement by sharing different types of content with your customers, from entertaining information like jokes, useful tips and how to’s to providing them with personalised offers based on their own preferences and interests or showing them content that is most relevant. Bots can even launch marketing campaigns that implement testing
Information and FAQs
Allocating resources properly is the key for small companies and startups, if your team ends up receiving the same kinds of enquiries multiple times, chatbots can be a cost effective solution. The chatbot will not only handle your FAQs but it can also provide your customers with handy info like hours of operations, deals, different services
Placing and editing orders
Chatbots allow users to browse and purchase services and products from the comfort of their messenger app, chatbot tools allow integration with popular e-commerce platforms and from there the bot can take orders straight through messenger.
Troubleshooting and Referring Problems
Chatbots can be used for the initial stages of troubleshooting technical issues or other problems. They can also find out what the user is having problems with, or what information they need and then use this to refer them to the correct department within the company.
Bots are here to stay, while they are not at the stage where they can full out replace human on human interaction (and would you want them to be?) they can definitely assist businesses in a cost effective manner.
If you would like to talk to us more about chatbots, please get in touch