A chatbot, in simple terms, is software that functions as your handy assistant with whom you can chat and get your work done. You can think of it as a replacement for all the individual apps that you use for different purposes.
Today, you use one app to order food home, another one to hire a plumber, and yet another one to know about the weather or to know the status of your flight. You click through many apps to get the service you desire and type out phrases and key words to search for information on the Internet. But, the day is not far when a single chatbot might help you with all these things and more. It will change the way you browse through the Internet.
A Few Examples of Chatbots
- Google Now is an intelligent personal assistant that uses a natural language interface to answer user-initiated queries. It is made available in the Google app for Android and iOS. Google Now can make recommendations, show you upcoming appointments, the weather information, the latest news, or your friends’ birthdays or even proactively show you information that it predicts based on your search habits.
- Amazon has developed a handy and intelligent assistant called Alexa. It is a voice service that powers Echo. Alexa can make to-do-lists, set alarms, play audio books, play a song, provide weather and traffic updates, and other real time information. As more and more customers use Alexa, she learns from their personal preferences and gets better at predicting your needs, adapting to your vocabulary and speech patterns. Another important use of Alexa is that you can build your own bot and integrate it to work with Alexa.
- CNN for Facebook Messenger is a news bot that gives personalized news updates based on your reading history or provides you with information on any topic on request.
- Swelly, an “opinion collector” bot collects people’s opinion on a given subject. For example, if you want to compare two photographs, you can create a Swell to find out which photograph is more preferred. Swelly collects user’s opinions on the two photographs.
- PayPal for Slack is a handy assistant for Slack users to transfer money through PayPal.
Since the last couple of years, messaging platforms have overtaken social media in terms of having a sudden surge in the number of active users. The number of consumers using messaging platforms has outnumbered the ones using social media. Facebook, Slack, Twitter and other such social media platforms are great choices for chatbots to be hosted on because of the popularity of these platforms.
Users can access these bots at any place and at any time.
Types of Bots
Primarily, there are two types of bots, namely rule-based bots and artificial intelligence (AI) based bots.
A rule-based bot is trained to answers questions based on some pre-defined rules. The rules defined could be simple or complex. But this bot is not efficient in answering questions, that do not match with the rules on which it is trained.
AI based bots are self-learning bots and use some machine learning algorithms to learn and answer queries.
The Many Benefits of Chatbots
- Chatbots are very efficient because they can be used to perform rote and repetitive tasks thus freeing up human time, which can be used to perform other creative tasks. Customers can easily find answers to their questions by conversing with a bot instead of having to type questions or search for an answer.
- While one person can only communicate with one person at a time, chat bots can simultaneously communicate with thousands of people, making them useful in customer-facing roles.
- Chatbots are easy to use because of their simple interface. Chatbots can help save time, money, and labor when used to handle automated tasks.
- Chatbots are very flexible and the same bot can be used in multiple industries by simply switching them from one industry to another. This can be achieved by training the bot as per the field or industry.
Chatbots have opened the opportunities to companies to provide a higher level of customer experience to their customers.
The time is right now for companies to leverage the chatbot technology and use these intelligent assistants to make their life easy. Chatbots are a powerful and useful tool for organizations to improve their customer engagement and expand their business.