With the advancement in technology, people want things done as fast as possible. One of such a thing is instant responses to queries and complaints. Such needs have led to rise in artificial intelligence and robotic technology. Examples of such that stand out are the chatbots.
Today the number of users of messaging apps like WhatsApp, Telegram is skyrocketing. With this trend, virtual chatbots that imitate human conversations for solving various tasks are becoming increasingly in demand.
Online chatbots save time and efforts by automating customer support. They are also used for other business tasks, like collecting information about users, helping to organize meetings among others.
What is a Chatbot?
Short for a chat robot, a chatbot is a computer program which conducts a conversation via auditory or textual methods. It is designed to convincingly simulate how a human would behave as a conversational partner. It is an assistant that communicates through text messages, a virtual companion that integrates into websites, applications or instant messengers and helps entrepreneurs to get closer to customers.
Types of Chatbots
There are basically three types of chatbots:
Scripted chatbots. Interactions with this type of chatbot can only follow predetermined paths. At each step in the conversation the user will need to pick from certain options to determine the next step in the conversation. How the options are presented to the user at each step in the conversation will depend on the features of the chat platform and how the bot is programmed that the user is on and the design of the bot.
Intelligent chatbots. These ones are more flexible in terms of the user input they can accept. They can accept free form input in the form of text or voice statements. However, it is very difficult to get a bot to “understand” context or ambiguity or to have a useful memory that influences the conversation.
Application chatbots: These concentrate mainly on showing the user whatever is needed graphically. If a user can do the job they need to do more efficiently via a graphical interface then the bot shows a graphical interface at that point in the conversation.
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How a Chatbot works.
Chatbots are programmed to work independently from a human operator. They come with a sensor through a combination of predefined scripts and machine learning.
When a question is asked, the Chatbot will answer based on what it knows. If it doesn’t know what to do, it passes the question to a human operator.
The complexity of the chatbot is determined by a sophistication of its underlying software and the data it can access. Over time and over multiple interactions, the Chatbot will gradually gain in scope and relevance.
How to use Chatbots
Chatbots can be used in various occasions. Here are a few examples of where to use Chatbots.
Making Orders. This can be done by texting, tweeting, voice, among others so long as the service provider offers support for chatbots. For example when using Amazon, Alexa is a great asset in making orders.
Product Suggestions. Customers might want to buy some products, but might not have a particular item in mind. Chatbots can be used to offer product suggestions based on what they want, that is; color, style, brand, among others.
Customer Support. Brands such as AirBnB, Evernote, and Spotify among others use chatbots on Twitter to provide 24/7 customer service. This helps to quickly provide answers and address customer complaints, or simply track the status of an order.
Weather Forecasting. You can use these to ask about the current weather conditions in your area and find out whether you should bring the umbrella before you leave for work. Some actually allow you to set regular reminders for a certain time of day.
Personal Finance Assistance. Chatbots make it easy to make trades, get notifications about stock market trends, track your personal finances, or even get help finding a mortgage. Various banks have chatbots to let you check in on your account, such as your current balance and most recent transactions.
Platforms on which to use Chatbots
Chatbots work within chat platforms such a Facebook Messenger, Telegram or SMS. Each chat platform has it’s own features. These features determine the possible ways in which the chatbot can interact with the user, however the actual behavior of the chatbot is determined by the bot itself. For instance, an SMS bot can only show text and attach multi-media widgets in some cases. An email bot has the same limitations. A Facebook Messenger or Telegram Bot can interact with the user using a variety of graphical widgets.
Generally speaking, a chatbot is one way of humans interacting with software. Businesses want to find ways to deliver their messages and services in the place that the consumers are, which is on chat platforms. Chatbots give them a way to do this. You should have used Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana or Siri among others. These are some of the most common chatbots available. Share with us your experience as you have used them.