Thanks to the internet, everything is just a click away, from ordering groceries to chatting with a loved one who may be thousands of kilometres out. People are increasingly dependent on the power of automation and technology to make their lives easier.
Automation is quickly entering the lives of humans because of its efficiency and speed. With technology, you can get faster, almost 100% accurate results. That’s why organisations are getting into automation rather than hiring human resources for specific jobs.
Companies are always looking for cost-cutting methods. Automating specific processes such as inventory management to accounting can help the organisation become cost and time-efficient. Another area where automation is slowly taking over its human counterpart is customer service.
Customer service is essential to any organisation. With so many startups coming up daily, the brand that focuses on its customer service is the one that will eventually find success in the market. Therefore, many companies are looking into automating their customers’ services through computer programs such as chatbots.
The main essence of technology is to make human life more manageable without any barriers. Therefore, vernacular chatbots are on the rise. With companies always looking to expand their customer base and reach a wider audience, it is significant to impact the lives of people who do not speak English. For them, vernacular chatbots are a boon. These chatbots provide multiple language options to their users. In a multilingual country such as India, this is useful to attract customers with different linguistic backgrounds.
Chatbots are known to be the future of customer services and communications. Let us learn more about chatbots and their future.
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What is a chatbot?
A chatbot, short for chatterbot, is a computer program designed to chat with customers online, assisting with queries. These chatbots replicate human responses using various messaging platforms to have text-to-text or text-to-speech conversations with customers.
Have you ever come across a pop-up in the corner of the screen asking you if you need assistance whenever you visit a website? These are nothing but chatbots designed to help you navigate through the website. We use these chatbots for technical assistance or customer support.
A chatbot is an essentially artificial intelligence used in messaging platforms. These automated programs interact and engage with customers just like human employees. These have a set of predefined responses that act according to the customer queries.
There are different types of Chatbots used by organisations. The most commonly used ones are scripted or Quick-reply Chatbots. These use a set of predefined responses and provide quick solutions to queries. Other widely used Chatbots are voice-enabled ones such as Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri.
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How do chatbots work?
Chatbots are the future when it comes to virtual assistants. We classify them into the following three main types based on their structure:
1) Pattern matching bots:
These chatbots have limited capacities. They pick up specific keywords from the customer and produce results based on the information stored in its database. Most of these bots cannot answer questions that are not part of a pattern implemented in their system. We commonly use these bots as customer support to redirect the customer to the right person in charge.
2) Algorithm bots:
These bots are a bit more complex in their functioning. These use specific algorithms to answer questions from their database. However, these bots can combine various trends to create a hierarchical structure. It helps them answer questions that were previously not in their database.
We also refer to algorithm bots as self-learning bots, although they seldom require programming updates. These bots also use natural language processing (N.L.P.) to understand the input type and switch accordingly. For example, if a customer has used a voice command, the chatbot should switch to a speech recognition engine.
3) AI-powered bots:
Artificial intelligent bots are the most advanced kind of chatbots. These use artificial neural networks to respond to queries. They break each sentence into different worlds and use it as input for a neural network. Over time, the chatbot creates its accurate database and provides a similar response to the same queries.
What are the benefits of chatbots?
The benefits of chatbots are numerous. A chatbot is a perfect way to engage customers and build relationships. Here are a few more reasons why businesses around the world are using chatbots:
1) It is cost-effective.
Chatbots are a one-time investment and are highly cost-effective and efficient than hiring employees exclusively for customer service.
2) It analyses and monitors consumer data.
Another benefit of chatbots is that they are multifunctional. Apart from engaging with customers, it also collects data such as customers’ preferences and buying patterns. This information can prove a gold mine for any business looking to improve its sales.
3) It helps increase customer engagement.
Chatbots can help convert a browser into a shopper with the help of meaningful engagement.
4) It can hold multiple conversations at a time.
Unlike its human counterpart, a chatbot can engage with different prospects, all at the same time, providing efficient customer service.
5) It helps automate the business process.
Apart from customer service, many other actions can be automated with the help of chatbots, right from making conversation notes to email sequences.
How can you create a chatbot?
Interested in the idea of creating a chatbot for your website? Here are a few steps on how to create a chatbot:
1) Understand the reason to make a chatbot.
It may be to increase customer engagement or create leads. Identifying the reason is the first step toward making your chatbot.
2) Choose your chatbot platform.
You can opt for chatbot platforms that help you create a chatbot by providing easy-to-use chatbot builders. You can also take the help of software developers such as Microsoft bot or I.B.M. Watson, who will help you build your chatbot by coding.
3) Test and train your bot.
You can train the bot by using free word generators to provide relevant answers to the customers. Add phrases and words you think will be used by the visitors more often. Do not forget to give a human touch to your chatbot to give it an authentic assistant feel.
4) Collect feedback from visitors.
You can train the chatbot to send an automatic customer feedback form at the end of each conversation. It will help you improve the quality of customer interaction with the chatbot.
5) Monitor the chatbot analytics.
The information collected by your chatbot can help you understand customer preferences and buying patterns. You can use this information to improve your business and increase sales.
The future of chatbots.
According to data, 47% of organisations worldwide will integrate chatbots to handle customer service and website engagement by 2022. In the present times, when customers want quick resolutions to their queries, chatbots are only going to leap forward.
Industry experts anticipate chatbots to gain more popularity and become increasingly handy shortly. New technological advancements are only going to increase their efficiency and accuracy. With developments in machine learning and artificial intelligence, chatbots will only dominate the future of customer service.
The future of chatbots is undoubtedly bright. Next time you come across a chatbot, try to have a normal conversation with it, as you would with a human. You will be surprised at how close it is to an actual human. It is indeed a marvel of technology!