No doubt by now you’re at least a little bit familiar with the phenomenon known as chatbots.
Chatbots are software-based applications that utilize artificial intelligence (AI), coupled with language processing that helps them understand what humans want. These bots then guide people to the desired outcome with as little effort put forth as possible for the person “talking” with it.
A chatbot could be compared to a virtual assistant. Except this virtual assistant specializes in customer self service.
Here are four facts you need to know about chatbots as the technology progresses into 2019 and beyond.
1. What a Well-Built and Well-Designed Can Do
There are several key things a well-built and well-designed chatbot can do. First, it will be able to use conversation data that already exists in order to better understand what kinds of questions users ask of it.
The chatbot will then enter a “training” period where it analyzes correct answers to the questions it’s been subject to. Through machine learning, the chatbot will continually improve how it answers those questions as time goes on.
That’s why it’s referred to as artificial “intelligence.”
2. The Beginning of Chatbots
Although chatbots existed in some form prior to 2016, their adoption was accelerated that year when Facebook opened the developer platform to chatbot development and showcased what’s possible by using chatbots within their Facebook Messenger app.
Soon after, Google got into the chatbot game with Google Assistant. Since that time, there has been a heightened acceleration of chatbot apps built within applications, on websites, for customer self service, and on social media.
As we enter the end of 2019 and head toward 2020, you can expect chatbot use to become even more prevalent.
3. How Chatbots Work
What’s interesting about chatbots is that they can be built in a variety of ways for different uses. The technology that runs chatbots can vary. But at the end of the day, it all comes down to what goals you have for chatbot implementation.
Looking at things from a very high level, there are three different types of chatbots that consumers see on the market today.
The first one is known as a rules-based chatbot. This type of chatbot is programmed to follow a specific set of rules that are pre-designed. They’re most often built by using a graphical user interface where the builder of the bot uses a decision tree to create design paths.
The next type of chatbot is the AI bot. These are sophisticated chatbots that are programmed to automatically learn on their own after being subjected to an initial training period by the developer of the bot.
Lastly, there are the live chatbots. These are the type of bots you’ll typically see on websites with automated customer support. They’re also used by sales and development teams. Live chatbots are more simplistic and answer pre-programmed questions in real time.
4. The Benefits of Chatbots
Sales and marketing teams in today’s environment are under tons of pressure to show results and improve customer experiences. It’s definitely a big undertaking.
Beyond that, there’s a constantly-increasing expectation from today’s consumers that service is real-time fast, accurate and helpful. This is known in many circles as “The Amazon Effect.”
Consumers have been conditioned to expect immediate, accurate answers when they’re looking to spend money. While this can be accomplished with a human workforce (up to a breaking point, anyway), chatbot technology seems to have found a better answer.
The effective use of chatbots has been shown many times over to:
- Generate quality leads faster
- Increase website conversion rates
- Alleviate customer frustrations
The hype surrounding chatbots can no longer be denied. Even if you believe that chatbots are a fad that will pass, or conversely believe they’ll completely revolutionize the way people interact and connect, the chatbot impact is real and completely measurable.
What Can Chatbots Do For You?
Now that you have a better understanding of what chatbots are and how they work, what can they do for you? Are you a website owner looking to implement a chatbot on your site? Or are you a consumer that’s noticed the boom in chatbots on the sites you frequent?
Either way, chatbots are here to help make business and life easier.