The ongoing evolution in the digital landscape has completely changed the way enterprises do business today. Technologies are continuing to change the way we use the Internet, both at a day-to-day consumer level as well as on the business level.
Five years ago, digital marketing was all about apps or infographics, However, a new player has come into the spotlight: the chatbot. According to Business Insider, around 80% of all businesses will be using a chatbot by 2020.
Chatbots are rapidly making their way into mainstream enterprise adoption – failure to adopt now may cause businesses to get left behind. But let’s take a step back to understand why chatbots have become so popular lately?
Understand where Chatbots fit in your business strategy
A chatbot is a service, managed by rules that you interact with via a chat interface. They are computer programs that mimic conversation with people using artificial intelligence. Facebook Messenger, Skype, and Telegram Bots are all popular examples of chatbots.
The credit for drawing chatbots further into the limelight goes to Messenger by Facebook, when they made it possible to integrate chatbots into the platform.
Chatbots are proving critical for all businesses that want to step up their marketing game through messaging apps, considering the four biggest messaging apps reached about 4 billion users in 2016
With 1.3 billion monthly active users, Facebook Messenger is the most popular messaging channel of communication – making it a vital platform for reaching out to customers. There are currently 100,000 active bots on the Messenger platform.
This extensive active user count has led organizations to start envisaging strategies to introduce chatbots.
Messaging applications are very promising communication tools not only for social media but also as standalone tools. They offer a convenient alternative for companies to stay in touch with their customers.
While 80-90% of apps are used once and then deleted, messaging apps are thriving and account for 91% of time spent on mobiles in the U.S.
As user expectations continue to transform, it is imperative businesses put in the effort to stand out from the crowd.
As Flurry reports:
“Time spent in Social and Messaging apps grew by an astounding 394% over the last year, proving to be the driver that helped mobile achieve its year-over-year time-spent growth of 69%.”
Benefits of using a Chatbot for your business
Chatbots are everywhere. They are speeding up time to respond to your customer inquiries, enhancing conversion rates on your landing pages, and unblocking the employee inquiry mailbox.
- Immediacy: Chatbots provide companies the chance to have customer service inquiries of any kind answered at any time of day, from anywhere, and even when companies are closed for holidays.
- Easy To Develop: Chatbots are typically easy to build. It depends on what the business wants to achieve, of course, but businesses can design a simple chatbot based on Facebook Messenger without any programming experience.
- Scalability: Chatbots can allow your company to manage more customers than before and can help scale operations to new markets without having to worry about handling multiplying queries.
- Company Brand & Image: When communicating with the customer, the chatbot represents the company, so from a marketing point of view, it is a perfect expression of brand building.
- Easy To Use: Finding information on a website or in an app is less intuitive. In most cases, it takes several steps until you have clicked through to the desired information. A chatbot eliminates the need for these superfluous steps.
- Personalization: Chatbot’s ability to synthesize metadata, can quickly and easily personalize the customer experience. This may take on the form of product recommendations.
- Cost-effective and Time-efficient: Visitor engagement becomes easy and quick with the use of a friendly chatbot. This further helps convert potential visitors into customers.
Types of Chatbots
Command based chatbots
This is the simplest type of chatbot. It relies on a databank of replies and heuristics and only takes place in pre-defined ways and directions. The bots reply by selecting an answer that matches the context of a query.
Command-based chatbot appears in messaging apps such as Messenger or Telegram.
AI-Based chatbots can answer ambiguous questions. They offer flexible responses to the user’s questions. But it cannot understand more complex contexts or lead the conversation – it can only give answers.
For example, CleverBot is an AI-Based ChatBot that learns from each conversation and uses these experiences to answer future questions more accurately.
Mark Zuckerberg’s “Jarvis” was an interesting AI-Based ChatBot. He says —
“My personal challenge for 2016 is to build a simple AI to run my home and help me with my work. You can think of it kind of like Jarvis in Iron Man. I’m going to start by exploring what technology is already out there. Then I’ll start teaching it to understand my voice to control everything in our home — music, lights, temperature and so on. I’ll teach it to let friends in by looking at their faces when they ring the doorbell.…”
Approach for Chatbot implementation for your business
Many companies leverage their own framework to implement chatbots. Their framework involves from ideation of bot use cases phase to the continuous improvement phase. The following framework is leveraged traditionally for implementing chatbots:
- Identify Goals: Identifying the goals that the company like to achieve by implementing chatbots and what pain points the company is looking to address.
- User Stories: Take requirements as user stories, take into consideration the end-users point of view, and use that to influence bot personality.
- Business landscape understanding: Understanding the current business, identifying the suitable messaging platform to kick start implementation.
- Conversation Design: After Prioritizing user stories, Conversation design is necessary to give a conversational voice to the Bot and develop Bot Personality.
- Implementation Stage: Leveraging the NLP libraries, intents, and entities and developing, testing, and releasing the chatbot.
- Continuous Improvement: The bot learns from a user’s behavior, monitoring performance, and learns from each conversation and uses these experiences to answer future questions more accurately.
The future will be heavily directed by Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies which prominently include chatbots. There’s a positive response to many chatbot benefits such as an increase in process efficiencies, decreased workload, and improved customer service, but it’s important that a measured approach is taken to implement these technologies.