Unless you live entirely off-grid, you have almost certainly interacted with a Chatbot before, and we’re not talking about your inlaws (that’s a chatterbox). You know when you are browsing a website and when that little helper appears asking if they can help or if you have any questions today?
In a way, they remind of the classic school Shop assistant, magically appearing out of nowhere to be the answer to all your needs, (whether you wanted them too or not!)
Artificial Intelligence is here
A chatbot is a piece of AI software that interacts and communicates with us humans in real-time. Chatbots have a range of benefits for the consumer and your business – but ultimately they interact between us and ‘the computers’.
Yes, we would all probably prefer a human being, but wait! There are actually real-time benefits of having a Chatbot that in some ways are even better than the real thing, so to speak.
What are Chatbots, how do they differ from Google Search etc?
Chatbots are actually quite an exciting technological advancement and utilise a discipline called Natural Language Processing. Namely, that Chatbots interact and respond to users intelligently using Natural language patterns i.e language that you and I might use in our everyday regular speech.
How it works
In very simple terms, a Chatbot will wait until you have provided some information and then it will use that info to formulate your intent, and then provide answers or solutions from a range of sources.
Do you want fries with that?
Chatbots are not only found on websites. The same Natural Language processing technology is used in the most common voice-activated assistants. Tell the relevant Chatbot “I am hungry”. By entering or speaking this simple phrase, a chatbot will likely understand that you intend to solve your problem (hunger) and therefore your intent is to find/buy food. The solution could, therefore “ would you like to see what local food options are available” and so forth.
Don’t take my word for it. If you have Alexa or Siri – simply say ‘I am hungry’ and see what happens.
Let’s Talk Business.
A Chatbot is not a search tool. As a business, you will have had hundreds of questions, some frequently asked, and some not so much so. Behind the scenes, Chatbot is able to rely on a number of vast sources of information to provide an intelligent solution for your customer. Chatbots may search the net, but also have access to company relevant information that only you know! For example:
- A piece of contextualized information based on the user information e.g how much does a Pre-purchase Building report cost?
- Data stored in your system ‘When is the next appointment”
- A generic and predefined text: Hmmm.. that is a good question… can you provide some more information or I will have a member of our team call you back”
Why Chatbots are important for your Business.
1. Chatbots are instant and personal.
Today, people are looking for more personalised, intelligent and almost instant response to your requests for information or a service.
Chatbots are available 24/hrs a day ( are you?) provide a quick and immediate response – no waiting on the line for a ‘real operator’. Do not think of it as taking away the personal element, but adding another avenue to improve your service and increase business.
2. Chatbots improve your customer service and reduce costs.
Chatbots allow us to streamline and improve the customer experience, whilst at the same time reducing the costs of providing customer service. Chatbots are not a replacement, but an additional service.
Chatbots are the Future
As Chatbots evolve, they will only become better and more efficient at helping clients and businesses with their needs.
Chatbots can gather and capture data, provide leads, increase you advertising to conversion spend, as well as helping preserve your brand, all while your team is getting some well deserved zzz’s.
In 2020, Chatbots are more important than ever, and should be considered a vital part of your online arsenal.