Chatbots, the virtual assistants that run inside messaging apps and other digital interfaces, are gaining steam and businesses can’t get enough of them. These bot developers or chatbot solution providers help companies develop these virtual assistants to continuously engage with customers. With 40% of online adults using voice search monthly, we expect voice user interfaces to be the next big thing in digital.
About a year ago, Facebook Messenger suddenly started pushing chatbots on users with a little blue icon that says “Get Started”. Many of the early bots were not very good and understanding what they did wasn’t always clear. However, a lot has changed since then. For one, Slack is betting heavily on chatbots.
The race to make virtual assistants is on and here’s how it will benefit businesses.
Making Search Easier
Chatbots help you provide immediate answers to customer questions using the power of artificial intelligence and natural language processing (NLP). They can answer frequently asked questions, schedule appointments and more while freeing up your workforce from performing mundane tasks.
Instead of sending customer service emails, chatbots can give responses in real time and even entertain users with a witty remark. These bots will help you engage with your audience much more frequently and develop a loyal following for your brand. For example, Pizza Hut’s bot on Kik lets you order pizzas by chatting with it. It is now available on Facebook Messenger, too.
Chatbots can take care of repetitive tasks such as processing customer service tickets and updating a knowledge base so your employees can focus on more important work. The chatbot solutions provider Gupshup has seen an increasing number of businesses developing chatbots for specific purposes such as customer service, sales and marketing.
Businesses using chatbots for customer services :
- Dominos Pizza’s bot lets you order pizzas by chatting with it on Facebook Messenger or Telegram. You can also use text messages to connect with the company too. The company claims that they shipped more than 2 million pizzas through the bot in its first five months of launch.
- Sephora’s bot for Facebook Messenger lets you check product availability, make a purchase and even get recommendations from beauty experts. It is available in eight languages across 14 countries on Facebook Messenger.
- Earlier this year, Google introduced a chatbot at a media event that partners with various retailers to let users shop products with just a conversation. While the company hasn’t released any numbers, it supports Google Express and is available on Allo .
- Retailers including Target, Macy’s and Walmart have chatbots that let you order products by messaging them on Facebook Messenger.
- Even customer service agents at American Express now rely on a bot to answer routine questions about your account. Instead of waiting on hold, a chatbot responds to a majority of the questions and then routes it to an agent if needed.
The future of customer service is not just chatbots but also voice user interfaces such as Amazon Echo . It seems like every few months brings news of another major retailer launching a chatbot or experimenting with voice. For businesses, the opportunity to connect with customers is massive.
As bots race to become the new apps, their race with each other has only just begun.
That’s all for this week. Tune in next time for more on chatbots and virtual assistants.
The use of chatbot is growing rapidly across various industry verticals. Most of them are built using artificial intelligence that emulates human conversation. Here is a cheat sheet on chatbots that will help you build one of your own or just to understand the space better.
What is a Chatbot?
A chatbot provides an automated and interactive interface for humans and devices using conversations. A chatbot can also be used as a tool to automate tasks, collect data and insights.
Primary Elements of a Chatbot
- Application: A chatbot is an application that runs on the top of a voice and text interface. It can be deployed in various devices including mobile, desktop, wearable and automotive. You can also build your own chatbots using different platforms such as IBM Watson, Amazon Lex and Facebook Messenger.
- Artificial Intelligence: The chatbot uses artificial intelligence techniques to identify user intent, parse human language and provide an automated response back to the user.
- Conversations: A basic chatbot has two types of conversations—an unstructured conversation where the bot doesn’t understand what you are saying and a structured conversation where it can understand keywords and phrases.
- Chatbot Platform: A chatbot platform provides the infrastructure to build, manage and deploy chatbots across different channels such as voice, text and Facebook Messenger. Various platforms offer customisable dashboard settings for developers, data analytics and chat UI elements.
- Developer: The developer is responsible for building a chatbot using a platform or building it from scratch. They are also responsible for testing and deploying the bot across various channels.
Why Use Chatbots?
1) Reduces Human Effort: Automation reduces human effort significantly because bots can work 24×7 without getting tired. Using bots, you can reduce your existing workforce by 50% because bots are faster and can deliver better customer experience.
2) Personalisation & Convenience: Bots personalise the entire conversation based on prior interactions. They also offer convenience since you don’t have to download an app or create a new account each time you want to use it. Facebook Messenger has more than 11k bots that you can use.
3) Data Collection & Analytics: Using bots, you can track multiple metrics of your business which include customer support queries, website visits, order status and more. This data provides invaluable insights on how customers make their purchase decisions.
4) Improve Customer Support: Chatbots work great for customer support since they emulate human conversations, make less mistakes and understand intent. You can also use them for FAQs and help section of your website.
5) Customer Engagement: Ecommerce websites can increase engagement with their customers by deploying chatbots on Facebook Messenger. Facebook launched a chatbot store at the F8 conference that allowed attendees to buy products using bots.
6) Helps You Stay Ahead of Competition: Businesses are continually looking for ways to improve their efficiency. Using chatbots, you can stand out from the competition by offering better customer experience and faster response time that reduces your support cost.
Chatbots are the future but they are still evolving. Having said that, this is an exciting field with lots of opportunities for businesses to improve their operations through automation.
If you have any questions about chatbots or artificial intelligence.