Technology is continually restructuring how every industry and business runs. As technology evolves, so does society, and in turn, our businesses. One major technological advancement, Artificial Intelligence (AI), has begun to integrate more and more into our daily lives. One AI inspired technology tool that has gained momentum in the past few years are Chatbots. Chatbots, which receive their name from the words “chat” and “robot,” are one digital robot that can be integrated on numerous platforms to perform a variety of functions.
Chatbots are a software system that interacts with users on a digital platform and stimulates real-time conversations. Chatbots are a sophisticated tool that can be used in all industries and virtually every business. Chatbots can be used as customer service agents, personal assistants, can collect and store data, and help increase sales and revenue.
There are different types of chatbots, and each chatbot can be programmed to perform differently, but a simple chatbot is used to automate tasks, such as chatting with a customer. Chatbots can send text, audio, images, links, and messages to their users in real time. For a basic, or rule-based chatbot (discussed below), the chatbot stimulates a human conversation based on pre-programmed rules and parameters. Each conversation with a chatbot is personalized directly to the user based on their interests, habits, and web patterns. This allows users and customers to experience a personalized and engaging customer service experiences.
Types of Chatbots
As mentioned before, there are different types of chatbots. The different chatbot versions expand further than the two types mentioned below, but these are the basic distinctive types of chatbots.
- Rule-Based Chatbots
Rule-based chatbots are the most basic. These bots are used to interact with users and simulate human conversations. Rule-based bots can perform various automated tasks based on pre-programed rules. These rules can range from simple to complex, and can involve tasks such as answering FAQ, sending reminders, and engaging a customer in conversation about products and services that a company has to offer. Chatbots are unable to develop useful responses to questions that a customer asks or phrases that a customer uses that are outside the chatbot’s programmed parameters. This type of chatbot is unable to learn on its own. It relies solely on the programming that it received during development. Rule-based bots are the least expensive to build and can usually be developed in less time than AI chatbots.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) Chatbots
AI chatbots are, as mentioned, more advanced than rule-based chatbots. AI chatbots can perform all the same functions as rule-based bots, but with the added ability to learn. AI chatbots can gain intelligence over time as they gather information, store data, and analyze data. AI chatbots can have what is called Natural Language Processing, which allows the bots to gather info and understand the intent of user’s question with human context. In short, AI chatbots can answer questions, but also have the ability to learn from its interactions.
The versatility of chatbots allows for them to be utilized by all industries and business. Chatbots can be developed to interact with users on websites, mobile devices, and apps like Facebook Messenger. The list below is not exclusive; there are so many options with using chatbots! As chatbot technology continues to develop, so will its uses in business.
- Customer service agents
Chatbots can help relieve various customer service tasks from employees. You can hand over repetitive task like answering FAQs, providing information about the company or brand, discussing product availability, and even booking a service or buying a product to a chatbot. Even simple, rule-based chatbots have the ability to assist customers in a variety of ways. Chatbots can simulate personalized conversations with customers to help answer questions related to your business, brand, products, and/or services. This not only frees up employees to perform other tasks, but it can provide a more satisfying customer service experience for each customer because it is tailored to them, their needs, and their interests.
- Virtual Assistants
Chatbots can be programmed to assist individuals similarly to a personal assistant. These chatbots can perform various tasks that take time away from the more important things. Just to mention a few, some tasks that a chatbot can perform are booking appointments or services, shopping and buying products, finding more information about a particular topic, or just explaining the day’s weather forecast.
- Health assistants
Chatbots have the potential to assist employers and employees in all types of industries, including healthcare. The possibilities for a health assistant chatbot are still on the rise, but apart from acting as a customer service agent, there are numerous repetitive tasks a chatbot can perform that could provide benefit to any healthcare facility. Some tasks that chatbots can perform in the health industry include assisting customers in paying bills, refilling prescriptions, connecting patients to the right physicians based on their symptoms and needs, scheduling appointments, sending appointment reminders, helping with care management, and checking insurance coverage and claims.
- Enterprise productivity
With the ability to streamline various business processes, chatbots can help improve many aspects of productivity within the workplace. When using chatbots, employees can focus on more important items and reduce their time spent on repetitive tasks. Chatbots can be used to assist with payroll, schedule meetings, offer on-demand customer support, reduce expenses, and analyze data.
- Collecting and analyzing data
Chatbots can be helpful to help collect, store, and analyze company data. This data can be as simple as customer feedback. A chatbot can be used to give a survey to customers on company’s website, and then this feedback can be stored for later use. Chatbots can also gather, store, and analyze customer patterns, habits, and interests.
Chatbots are a great digital marketing tool to help generate more customers and drive revenue. Chatbots can assist with content marketing, social media marketing, search engine marketing, marketing research, and even marketing budget management.
Virtually every industry can benefit from using chatbots. Some well-known companies that utilize chatbots are Pizza Hut, Sephora, Uber, and Bank of America. To explore a wide range of chatbots, just open Facebook Messenger, and hit the discover button on the bottom right corner. The multitude of different brands and companies that currently use chatbots to support their business may surprise you. The categories of brands that use chatbots on Facebook Messenger range from educational brands to travel brands. The point being, the possibilities with chatbots are endless regardless of the brand or company.
There are numerous benefits that utilizing chatbots can provide for every business.
- Automation of manual, simple, or routine processes
- Versatility & flexibility—can be developed and adapted to fit every industry and business
- Customer engagement
- Stimulated human conversations
- Larger engagement capacity
- Ability to reach a larger audience
- Target prospective customers
- Can process a large volume of requests
- Increase customer engagement with businesses and brands
- Reduce simple and repetitive tasks from employee workload
- Improve customer service
- Proactively prevent minor customer service issues
- 24/7 service availability
- Help find customer solutions with knowledge of customer’s needs and wants
- Customer focused
- Ability to quickly resolve customer issues
- Improve customer experience
- Gain substantial customer insight and feedback
- Increase efficiency in the workplace
- Boost sales & revenue
- Increased customer engagement
- Personalized marketing
- Chatbots can recommend products to customers tailored to their likes
- Easier payment transactions
- Store and Analyze data
- Organize and track data
- Develop better understanding of users and customers
- Make future predictions off of data trends
- Allows humans to focus on real problems
- Leave more time for innovation
- More time and energy for important company tasks
- Ease of use—customers can easily connect and interact
Hopefully you now have a better understanding of chatbots, as well as how you can benefit from implementing them into your business. The uses of chatbots are vast, and the benefits speak for themselves. If you have are interested in learning more about how chatbots or other forms of technology automation can benefit your business, contact us