A beginner’s guide to Chatbots : What are Chatbots, How do they work and the different kinds of chatbots
What are chatbots?
With the constant changes in technology, advertising, and marketing over the last decade, businesses are finding it more and more challenging to keep customers engaged and increase conversions. Fortunately, vast leaps in technology have led to the evolution of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence which have contributed to the development of Chatbots that are quickly addressing this challenge.
Chatbots offer the unique opportunity to engage with customers in real time and the simulation of real conversations adds a human touch to the entire process.
Chatbots have become an increasingly popular tool to communicate with customers, largely due to their seamless integration to various messenger services and online platforms. They can be integrated into Facebook Messenger, other social media platforms and more notably, even Websites!
How Do Chatbots work?
A Chatbot can be compared to a receptionist at a hotel – when visitors arrive at a hotel and they have questions, a receptionist immediately greets them and addresses their concerns; similarly when a customer lands on a website homepage and opens up a dialogue box, the Chatbot takes the role of the receptionist and addresses the user’s questions or concerns.
A bot is basically a computer programme that performs automatic tasks and it is designed to interact with humans via the internet. It has the ability to respond like a real person based on a knowledge base that is available to it at that point.
Since a Chatbot can be integrated into Live Chat on a website, if the bot encounters a question it is not equipped to answer, it can pass on the communication to a human chat agent. Interestingly, Chatbots also ‘learn’ from these interactions thus growing in scope over time. A Chatbot’s complexity is determined by the underlying software and the data that is made available to it.
Which Type of Chatbot to Use?
Several businesses are implementing Chatbots to offer instant online assistance to customers, thus avoiding time spent waiting to speak to a customer service representative on the phone. You can decide what type of Chatbot to use based on your specific marketing and sales objectives. It also largely depends on your target demographic and how they are more likely to engage with your brand. Whether your focus is customer service or to promote a new service or product Chatbots can help you achieve all these goals and a lot more.
- Keyword-based Chatbots:- Keyword Recognition-Based Chatbots operate on the basis of pre-written keywords that they comprehend. They are usually preferred by businesses as they specialise in responding to a set of specific questions. In most cases, users don’t have to type in their queries, instead, they select from a list of questions and commands that the bot understands. These are by far the most popularly implemented and effective Chatbots in the market currently.
- AI Chatbots:- On the other hand, AI Chatbots that use machine learning can evolve over time and learn from their communication with humans. Unlike keyword-driven Chatbots, these Chatbots have the ability to understand natural speech, thus, they are able to communicate with users without a predetermined set of keywords. However, despite their advanced technology AI Chatbots sometimes fail to deliver the kind customer experience that is efficient and seamless. Even tech giant Google has recently decided to overhaul its Google Assistant messaging app suggesting that simpler Chatbots might be a better option.
The most effective method of customer support is a hybrid model of the Keyword Recognition-Based Chatbots and Live Chat agents. In this model, the automated Chatbot would be the first point of contact for a customer and it is designed to handle simple queries and ensure a smooth user experience on a website. When the bot encounters more complex questions or the user prefers to speak to a ‘human operator’ the chat is transferred to a Live Chat agent who is equipped to deal with all of a customer’s questions or concerns about a product or service.
This integrated model offers businesses an ideal solution by providing a balance between a technology and human interaction ensuring that customers’ engagement with a brand is positive and productive.
It’s important to consider that a user visiting your homepage probably already knows what they are looking for and has knowledge of your products as compared to a user who lands on a blog page; thus bots need to be programmed accordingly.
Some users may prefer to have the chatbot provide them with a fixed set of questions where they simply select the one most suitable to their query. Others may have a particular issue which can be best addressed by a Live Chat operator.
How do Chatbots help businesses?
- Available 24*7 without needing a break
- Excellent at multitasking
- Significantly reduce Human Resource costs
- Help customers with payments or check-out
Chat-based communication has become increasingly popular over the years, especially with customers moving away from traditional forms of interaction with a brand. Since Chatbots can be used to handle simpler customer queries, the more complex customer issues can be handled by human agents, ensuring improved customer experiences and increased conversions. This helps to reduce costs for companies and provide customer and sales support around the clock.
If you’re interested to know more about how Chatbots could benefit your business, get in touch with us today.