What are chatbots?
A chatbot is a computer program that conducts conversations with users via text or voice and that mimics the way a human would converse.
They are commonly referred to as “bots” because they usually resemble and perform like the bot from the movie “Her.” These programs can be found on websites, as apps on your phone, and even as standalone devices that mimic human-to-human conversation.
Chatbots have been used by businesses for many years. They are useful for customer service, customer feedback, marketing, and even sales. They offer businesses an easy way to reach customers, and also provide a better service to customers, as they can answer questions, solve problems, and provide information that would not be easily accessible to customers through live phone lines.
Real World Use of Chatbots
Chatbots are becoming more popular and are used by companies for many reasons. They are a useful tool for businesses, as they offer several advantages, including:
One of the most popular uses of chatbots is customer service, as these programs can provide customers with information, solve problems, or even answer questions, all while saving companies a lot of money and time.
When a customer has a problem with a product or service, and can’t get an answer through a live phone call, they can send their question to a chatbot and get a reply in seconds.
Sales and Marketing
Businesses can also use chatbots for marketing. A chatbot can send messages to your current customers through Facebook Messenger. It will have a conversation with them and provide them with information about your product or service. This can create a great way for a customer to learn about your products or services without having to spend time on social media.
Trends in Chatbot Development
Why do we need chatbots? Why would we want to expose a service through a conversation? Why not just build a web page or mobile app, like we have been doing for the last 15-20 years or so? Isn’t that much better than building the bots?
The answer is that things have changed in the software industry and in user behaviour, and these changes are making bots more and more compelling to software companies. Here are some key developments we have seen:
a. In the last few years, most users have adopted mobiles, and it has become harder and more expensive to impress and engage with them through the web. It has made a lot of software providers turn to create native mobile apps (native apps are those which run natively on mobile phones, for example, Instagram) and expose these mobile apps through app stores.
b. The mobile app ecosystem quickly became saturated, making it harder and more expensive to compete, in addition, users became tired of installing and uninstalling mobile apps and only a few apps prevailed.
c. Surprisingly, the apps that prevailed and become very common were the messaging apps. Most modern users and three or more of these apps on their phones.
d. User mindshare has stuck with the messaging apps. Users spend most of their time in these apps- this is even a growing trend with young users who do not have the “old” notion of the web, and spend most of their time in chat. Messaging and ubiquity of connectivity mean that people are more available and responsive via messaging than alternatives, indirect modes of communication.
As technology develops and evolves, chatbots are only going to become more useful. The future is going to be filled with smart conversational programs and applications that will be able to answer questions, provide information, and interact with your customers.
As long as the technology is able to provide a customer service experience that is as good as live chat, it will become increasingly popular.