What are chatbots?
A chatbot is a computer program that conducts conversations with users via text or voice and mimics how 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, apps on your phone, and even standalone devices that mimic human-to-human conversation.
Businesses have used chatbots for many years. They are helpful for customer service, customer feedback, marketing, and even sales. They offer companies an easy way to reach customers and provide a better service, as they can answer questions, solve problems, and provide information that would not be easily accessible to customers through live phone lines.
How do chatbots work?
Chatbots work by taking in natural language input from a user and responding in a way designed to simulate a human conversation. The conversation will usually involve asking and answering questions, but it can also include other interactions like providing information or making recommendations.
To create a chatbot, developers will first need to come up with a set of rules or a decision tree that the chatbot will use to determine how to respond to a given input. This can be done manually, but several tools can help with the process.
Once the decision tree is created, it will need to be coded into the chatbot to understand and respond to user input. This is commonly done using a programming language like Python or Node.js.
Once the chatbot is coded, it will need to be hosted on a server so that people in conversations can use it. There are a number of different platforms that can be used for this, such as Facebook Messenger, Slack, or Telegram.
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:
Chatbots are used in many ways, including customer service, marketing, and sales. One common use of chatbots is to provide customer service. Customer service chatbots can answer questions about products, and services and process orders.
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 converse 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 spending time on social media.
Marketing chatbots can be used to engage with customers and promote products and services. Sales chatbots can be used to qualify leads and close deals.
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 website or mobile app, like we have been doing for the last 15-20 years? Isn’t that much better than making 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 mobile phones, and it has become harder and more expensive to impress and engage with them through the web. It has made many software providers turn to creating native mobile apps (native apps are those which run natively on mobile phones, for example, Instagram) and exposing these mobile apps through app stores.
b. The mobile app ecosystem quickly became saturated, making it more complex and more expensive to compete; users became tired of installing and uninstalling mobile apps, and only a few apps prevailed.
c. Surprisingly, the apps that prevailed and became very common were the messaging apps. Most modern users have 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 a growing trend among young users who do not have the “old” notion of the web and spend most of their time on chat. Communication and the ubiquity of connectivity mean that people are more available and responsive via messaging than alternative, indirect modes of communication.
What are the challenges of using chatbots?
There are also a number of challenges to using chatbots, including:
-Complexity: Chatbots can be difficult to create and manage, especially if the decision tree is complex.
-Limited understanding: Chatbots can only understand the specific task they are designed for and cannot think outside the box as humans can. This can lead to issues if a user asks a question that the chatbot is not programmed to understand.
-Misunderstandings: Chatbots can sometimes misunderstand user input, especially if the input is poorly written or uses slang.
-Bad user experiences: If a chatbot is not designed well, it can create a bad user experience that will make people less likely to use it.
As technology develops and evolves, chatbots will only become more valuable. The future will be filled with intelligent conversational programmes and applications that can answer questions, provide information, and interact with your customers.
As long as technology can provide a customer service experience that is as good as live chat, it will become increasingly popular.