What Are Chatbots: 5 Things to Know to Prevent Your Business from Falling Behind

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Chatbots are a hot trend making waves across the industries today. With many companies having implemented chatbots recently, 2018 is the year companies are learning to get on board with the benefits chatbots have to offer. In this article we would like to demonstrate entirely what a chatbot is, how it looks like, what different types of bots there are, and how they bring benefit to modern business.

What is a chatbot?

A chatbot is a service powered by rules and sometimes artificial intelligence which is interacted by users via chat interface.
Or simply put a computer program that simulates human conversation through voice command or by text chat.

What does a chatbot look like?

Nowadays, chatbots can be found on an array of messaging platforms, and they are continuously replacing apps.

According to DMR, today there are over 300,000 chatbots on Facebook Messenger.

You may search for a company’s chatbot to communicate with it during any time.

Smart chatbots can interact with you and if you have any problem, a chatbot is there to help you to solve it.

What types of chatbots are there?

There are a few types of chatbots that you may develop based on what you intend your bot to perform. Basically, there are three main types of chatbots that can be built:

1. Rule-based chatbots
2. Intellectually independent bots
3. AI-powered chatbots

Rule-based chatbots

A rule-based chatbot is the simplest type of chatbot on the market today. In most cases, these chatbots are glorified decision tree hierarchies presented to the user in the form of buttons. Similar to the automated phone menus we all interact with on almost a daily basis, these chatbots require the user to make several selections to dig deeper towards the ultimate answer.

Intellectually Independent Chatbots

Intellectually independent chatbots are bots that are based on machine learning. These rely on training a neural network to “think” for itself by providing it with thousands or at times millions of examples of what the bot needs to be capable of understanding. They improve themselves over time and are mostly widely used for entertainment and science.

AI-powered chatbots

AI-powered chatbots are rules-based chatbots mixed with AI. This type of bot has predefined possible scenarios that can be interrupted at any moment by free text. Using Natural Language Processing, a chatbot can understand the intent of the message, ask for additional information needed for an answer and can be trained to remember the context of the conversation. For example, when speaking to an AI-powered chatbot over matters such as law, this chatbot would be able to create and save your legal documents. Additionally, these chatbots will be able to provide instant easily comprehensible legal information to users based on the questions they have for the bot.

In another situation a bot can be of help ordering pizza. This chatbot would be able to remember what a user had ordered previously. When the next time rolls around, that chatbot would have remembered a customer’s taste preferences and likings. As more, this bot can remember payment information and where to make a delivery. The bot will simply ask if the user would like to repeat this order.

What platforms chatbots inhabit?

Now that we are up to date on what a chatbot is, it would be right to ask the next question, "Where can bots be launched?"

Depending on whether you are building a text chatbot or voice assistant there are different platforms to launch it on.

The chatbot ecosystem runs deep, and they can be found carrying out jobs in nearly every messaging platform from Facebook Messenger, Twilio, Slack, Skype, Telegram, Viber, Kik, WhatsApp, Web-site widget and plus many more.

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Also, there are voice chatbots or voice assistant skills which are developed for Amazon Alexa and Google Home voice assistants.

Here’s how it looks:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPwOpUJglmA

What are the main chatbot advantages?

Business is a highly competitive area. In order to not fall behind, companies have to adapt to the changes of times. A chatbot is one of those modernizations that has to be implemented to help a business be in a leading position. Here are a few advantages of chatbot.

Your business runs on a platform that customers already love and use

According to Statista, the most popular global mobile messenger apps as of April 2018, based on the number of monthly active users:The growing popularity of messaging apps is hard to deny.

According to The App Solutions: 75% of Internet users stick to one or a few messengers.

People are starting to use messenger for more than just getting in touch with their friends and family. Today people connect with different brands, search for products as well as content. Recent studies show that messengers are more popular and have higher rates than apps. Additionally, most of the users are of a younger age group which is an essential demographic for advertisers, publishers, and brands.

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Better customer engagement

In today’s fast-paced world, people love when everything is done instantly. This means companies have to figure out how to accelerate their business in order to not fall behind others. There is no denying the faster you can respond to a potential deal the more likely the odds you will have to close a deal. People are not willing to wait on hours to go by only to receive a response in their email.

From a Harvard Business Review - “Firms that tried to contact potential customers within an hour of receiving a query were nearly 7 times as likely to qualify the lead (which we defined as having a meaningful conversation with a key decision maker) as to those that tried to contact the customer even an hour later—and more than 60 times as likely than companies that had waited 24 hours or longer.”

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Naturally understandable interface

Interfaces are one of the most crucial factors when it comes to keeping customers engaged. Chatbots are built in chat messengers. That’s why a chatbot interface will always be the one people are familiar with since they use messengers on a daily basis. This gives a business the opportunity to reach people on a platform which they trust and to create a conversation that feels natural that makes users feel at ease and confident when using your services or buying your product.

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24/7 availability

One of the many advantages of chatbot that is highly beneficial for big and small companies is the simplifying and automation of routine operations and tasks. You think of a chatbot as your trusted and reliable employee. Always on time, always there to help, always accurate; it’s working while your employees are distracted, busy, or asleep. Once set, a chatbot will perform the task it has been built to do, without fail, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is clear that customers will choose the vendor that requires spending less effort to get in touch with them and provides faster support.

4x Better Open rate

Nowadays, social networks are a powerful platform for advertising. It’s open and click-through rates are phenomenal. The average chat messenger open rate is near 80-90% compared to 20% for email. While the average CTR (Click Through Rate) is 30% while email’s CTR is only raking in 3.3%.

No need to store tons of apps

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Today people’s phones are already bogged down with memory-consuming apps. To use a chatbot, you won’t need to download any app in particular. They use your existing messengers such as Facebook, Telegram, Slack, Kik, and WhatsApp.

Over the past few years, the app market has been filled with all kinds of apps for shopping, travel, socializing, dating, delivery services, music, and so on. It’s nice to have such a variety of apps, but according to recent statistics, people aren’t downloading apps as often as they used to.

Therefore, it’s more convenient for users to deal with a number of chatbots than with tons of apps.

Increasing Lead Generation And Automating Lead Qualification

A bot communicates with users, providing them with necessary information and understands individuals’ needs to offer the best matching solutions. At the same time, a chatbot qualifies leads so employees won’t spend time on leads that would eventually turn out to be dead ends. A bot would simply ask a person a few questions to gather the necessary data and details about them. Afterward, information and details about a lead will automatically be sent and added to your client's database (or CRM).

Summary

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Chatbots are a new hot trend that is currently disrupting business. The advantages chatbots bring for businesses is hard to deny and impossible to ignore. Companies have to adapt and implement new technologies into their work to not fall behind competitors. In our next lecture, we will be going through chatbot advantages for different industries and look at some successful use cases and business examples.

Stay tuned with our new chatbot course episodes!

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