Chatbot, What Is It And What Are Conversational Bots For?
By Utkarsh Tiwari
Chatbots are a new technology devised for large online businesses, but they are fast becoming an essential tool for almost any business with a website.
They allow us to automate processes such as sales and customer service, especially when it comes to repetitive tasks. Immediacy is crucial to retain visitors to your website, and a chatbot allows you to interact with users proactively and quickly.
Chatbots allow you to automate sales and customer service processes and interact with users proactively and quickly.
Having a chatbot allows you to leave your customer service employees for the most important interactions and, at the same time, greatly reduces expenses in this area.
Chatbots bring transformative potential to any online store, but to implement them successfully it is necessary to understand how they work and what their limitations are. In this article, I explain what types of chatbots you should know and what technologies are behind them.
How Chatbots Facilitates Your Customers?
A chatbot is a program capable of simulating a conversation with a user in a natural way through an online chat system through the website. It is used in web pages and applications as a customer service tool.
For a customer visiting an online store or service, the chatbot can greatly facilitate their experience. Instead of spending your time searching the web page to find what you need, you have the option of simply asking the chatbot. The chatbot will be able to solve a great variety of doubts; in fact, you can integrate different Chatbots in the same conversation.
Chatbots have something that makes them very convenient: the user does not need to install or download them. They are integrated into your website. This means that they do not represent any waiting time for the user.
The chatbot is one of the best examples of communication between an artificial intelligence and a person. However, the technology behind the chatbot is a simple evolution of Natural Language Processing (NPL). That is, it is a system of predetermined answers to questions asked by users.
Types of Chatbots
Although Chatbots are a recent technology, there is variety in the different ways in which they work. These are not fixed categories, but they can help you understand what to expect from a chatbot on your website.
● Predefined or fast response chatbots. This is the simplest type of chatbot of all. They are based on a decision tree with a hierarchy. They present a series of predefined questions and answers that take the bot through the tree until it reaches the answer desired by the user. Here the chatbot does not process the written messages of the users but presents them with various options that they can select in response.
● Keyword recognition chatbots. These Chatbots analyze the messages written by users and look for keywords that allow them to respond with relevant information. These Chatbots are a bit more complex: they rely on artificial intelligence and a configurable list of keywords to work effectively. However, they often present problems when the user repeats keywords or asks redundant questions.
● Hybrid chatbots. This chatbot combines the capabilities of a predefined chatbot and a keyword recognition one. The chatbot will try to give a good response based on the keywords it finds in the user's message. If this is unsuccessful, the user will be able to access a menu with predetermined responses.
● Contextual chatbots. These Chatbots are much more sophisticated than the previous ones. They often use machine learning to remember their interactions with users, learn from them, and continually improve themselves. They don't need to rely on keywords - they use their learnings about what and how users ask to give relevant answers.
● Voice chatbots. Here we find some of the most popular Chatbots in the world: Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant. These Chatbots are capable of converting users' audio inputs into the text to be analyzed by one or more of the technologies that I have mentioned. These Chatbots are likely to prove increasingly important in the future.
How does a Chatbot work?
To really understand how Chatbots work, let's review what is behind the technologies that I have described.
The decision trees of the predefined Chatbots can work thanks to simple patterns. The chatbot will simply try to match the questions and answers it has in its database, and will not be able to break out of these patterns.
One of the most powerful methods behind Chatbots is that of algorithms. The algorithms produce a more sophisticated version of the predefined Chatbots. These add a classification system for each question and are able to relate several to each other. It is necessary to assign a unique instruction for each question to make it available in the chatbot.
The most sophisticated technology that you will find behind Chatbots is that of neural networks. This is part of machine learning and is put into practice in contextual Chatbots. Neural networks divide user messages into individual words and each one is added to a database. This database grows over time as it receives more information, and thus the neural network becomes stronger and more effective. The connections between each word allow the chatbot to understand contexts and give more precise answers.
For these Chatbots to become effective tools, it is necessary to train them and help them grow over time. Fortunately, training artificial intelligence does not have to take a long time: what is important is the amount of information it receives.
Benefits of using a Chatbot?
The main benefit of using a chatbot is in improving customer service. Good customer service can bring a host of benefits to any business, from increasing customer loyalty to improving your website metrics. These are some of the ways a chatbot can improve your business performance.
● Reduce waiting time. Having long wait times is one of the main factors that increase the bounce rate. Since the assistance of Chatbots is immediate, they can help you keep more visitors on your website.
● Reduce costs. The expense of buying a chatbot is much less than maintaining a large team of support employees. This also reduces the cost of customer acquisition, as Chatbots always have immediate availability. In addition, Chatbots reduce human errors that can lead to customer losses.
● They allow employees to focus on what is important . Having a chatbot allows your support employees to devote their energy to important interactions that really need a human on the other end of the connection. Many Chatbots give the user the option to speak to an employee after exhausting all their resources.
● It works on any scale. Typically, as your business grows, you will have to worry about hiring more customer service employees. On the other hand, a single purchase from a chatbot will be able to serve any number of customers.
● Automate sales. Chatbots are capable of carrying out the entire sales process or directing users to the right products. Having an interactive way to automate these processes can dramatically increase your website conversion rates.
● Availability 24/7. Unless you hire a large customer service team spread across multiple time zones, there will be times when there will be no one to serve your customers. Chatbots eliminate this problem: they are available to visitors at any time of the day.
● Monitor your users. Chatbots can save information about the behavior of users on your website: what they buy, what pages they visit, etc. This data can provide valuable insight into your customers and about the effectiveness of your website, helping you refine your marketing and improve your web design.
● Increase your interaction. When someone talks about interaction, we tend to think of social networks. Chatbots open another avenue of interaction that will not only improve the metrics of your website, but also allow you to proactively approach your customers. Many users think twice before coming into contact with another person on the internet, but they will be much more willing to do so with an automated process.
● They are easy to expand globally. Many Chatbots include functionality in different languages, which greatly facilitates the process of taking your business to other regions.
● They expand your customer base. Chatbots take advantage of direct contact with customers to increase lead generation. They can give persuasive information to the client to take it to the sale depending on their doubts and needs. In addition, they can separate quality leads from leads that represent a waste of resources for the company.
Examples of the use of Chatbots
Already convinced that Chatbots are incredibly useful? In case you need one more push to start using them, here are some examples of what a chatbot can do:
● Order pizza . The simplest chatbots work exceptionally well for ordering pizza from start to finish. Large franchises like Domino's allow you to create your pizza and track your order through Facebook Messenger.
● Product suggestions. A Chatbot can help indecisive customers buy the perfect product for them. Chatbots can make suggestions based on preferences indicated by the user or based on their previous purchases.
● Service to the customer. As you well know, Chatbots can provide customer service. They are very widely used to solve frequent doubts, give quick information, and track orders.
● Personal finance. There are Chatbots capable of reviewing stock market trends, buying and selling stocks, deducting taxes, and tracking your finances. Some banks have incorporated Chatbots that allow you to check the status of your account.
● Plan meetings . Chatbots like Slack's Meekan can create and schedule meetings for you. Just give them the basic directions and the chatbot will take care of finding a time when everyone is free.
● Search flights. Chatbots like Kayak allow you to buy air tickets and pay for hotels from Facebook Messenger. Other Chatbots can help you find and track flights.
● Read news . A chatbot can give you the most important articles from your favorite media.
● Have a romantic date. That's right: there are even Chatbots to find partners. Foxy, a Facebook Messenger chatbot, is an example.
● Transfer money. Chatbots can also make it easier to move your money from one site to another. Slack allows you to make PayPal transfers through a chatbot.
● Find a restaurant . If you are undecided about where to dine today, you can always ask a chatbot. Tell him some of your preferences and your price range and he will give you recommendations.
Interested in integrating a Chatbot on your website?
Machine learning and artificial intelligence are two of the most important areas of technology today. Its advances are applied in more and more areas, and customer service has been no exception. You can hire an expert web development team to integrate a chatbot on your website.
For that reason, if your business needs to deal with customers on a regular basis, it will almost certainly benefit from having a chatbot. It's a benefit that will only grow in the future - they'll soon become even more common, and you don't want to be late for that trend.
Currently, Chatbots have several limitations, but everything indicates that these will be reduced in the coming years. In the same way, programs that convert speech to text for Chatbots will become more and more reliable and common.