Chatbot technologies entered our lives quite recently, but they already changed the way we live and do our jobs. From simple daily operations to important business activities, chatbots help people and organizations to become better, faster, and more productive.
A study shows that 85% of customer interactions will be handled without a human agent by 2020. Another report reveals that almost 40% of Americans would use a chatbot in an emergency. At the same time, 35% of consumers want to see more companies using this type of technology.
Chatbots obviously have a life-changing potential, but how do they really function? Keep reading our post as we are going to explain the new technology and discuss all of its major features.
Chatbot Technology: Definition and Components
Before we delve deeper into the matter, we need to explain the concept of chatbot technologies and define its major features.
A chatbot is an artificial intelligence (AI) program that simulates interactive human conversation by using key pre-calculated user phrases and auditory or text-based signals. As such, chatbots are frequently used in customer service operations to provide users with real-time answers and inputs.
What makes chatbots so powerful is the fact that they get smarter with each new conversation since contextual awareness leads to intelligence over time. It is one of four pillars of the technology, but let’s check out each one separately:
Machine learning is a subset of AI that allows systems to perform highly specific actions without being explicitly instructed to do so. This is possible because machine learning relies on advanced algorithms that enable chatbots to learn, detect behavioral patterns, and decide what to do with almost zero human input. Of course, machine learning requires enormous data volumes to make progress and become smarter and more accurate in its predictions.
Natural Language Processing
Natural Language Processing (NLP) is yet another fundamental element of chatbot technology because it helps machines to analyze and understand human language. With this system, chatbots are able to bridge the gap between the real world and the computer world.
NLP interprets human inputs and figures out the way to create a meaningful reply. For instance, if you ask chatbots about the coursework writing, they will give you useful suggestions related to the best paper writing service reviews or domywriting reviews. Without NLP, chatbots would not be able to recognize your request and send an accurate answer.
Image processing is another critical aspect of chatbot-related technologies because it maximizes the potential of organizations to deliver outstanding customer service. For instance, Amazon already experiments with Virtual Shop Assistants.
It’s a chatbot service that allows users to upload images of clothing and wait for the program to suggest a list of similar items currently available on stock. Image processing is still in the early stages of implementation, but it will certainly revolutionize chatbots in the years to come.
Virtual assistants such as Siri or Alexa are based on voice recognition services that successfully process users’ audio inputs. Although more complex, the system is similar to NLP as it interprets human inquiries and provides users with relevant audio responses. Speech recognition is widespread already: 65% of 25-49 year olds speak to their voice-enabled devices at least once per day.
A Brief History of Chatbots
Chatbots as we know them have been around for a decade, but the technology itself is much older than that. Most developers consider Alan Turing, an English mathematician and computer programmer, to be the first person to contemplate about topics similar to chatbots back in the 1950s. Turing created a test that determines whether a person is talking with another human being or a machine.
Joseph Weizenbaum designed a program called ELIZA in 1966 with the sole purpose of passing the Turing Test. ELIZA did not fulfill its purpose, but it set the cornerstone for future developments in the field and is believed to be the first chatbot ever created.
The Turing Test turned out to be difficult: 30 years after ELIZA, a new bot entitled ALICE also failed to pass the exam. However, scientists and developers praised ALICE for rising head and shoulders above all other bots created to date.
Many developers started experimenting with chatbot technologies. This is how the world got acquainted with Apple’s new product called Siri back in 2010. Siri is a voice-controlled personal assistant that behaves more or less as your digital friend. You just need to ask Siri a question and she is going to answer almost instantly.
The voice-based service can be used for online searches, bookings, messaging, or any other activity for that matter. Other popular options in this area include Amazon’s personal assistant called Alexa, Google Now, Cortana for Windows, and many more.
Use Cases of Chatbot Technologies
Although most people know and use chatbots, it seems like a lot of businesses still don’t take advantage of this technology to the fullest extent. That is why we want to point out some of the fundamental use cases of chatbots and show you how they can improve the functioning of your organization. Here are the most obvious examples:
The first use case is clear and widespread. Using chatbots, you can help your customers by answering frequently asked questions or redirecting users to human agents for highly complex inquiries. Such a feature increases customer satisfaction and boosts loyalty in the long run.
Chatbots can also help you to strengthen marketing activities. For instance, content writing agencies use chatbots to send personalized product recommendations to website visitors or retarget users who failed to convert the last time they browsed the site. It’s a very useful system that enables marketers to generate a new wave of leads and drive more conversions, respectively.
Chatbots don’t only serve customers but also help sales agents. How come? Well, the system stores data from each interaction and organizes information in a way that is easy to use and analyze. That way, a sales agent can quickly learn all there is to know about prospects who already established some sort of interaction with the company. There is no need to ask the same questions all over again, so it’s easier to communicate more efficiently and turn prospects into full-time leads.
HR managers can use chatbots to keep an eye on employees. Chatbots are essentially collaboration tools that enable each member of the team to keep the colleagues informed about the latest activities. At the same time, HR managers can use chatbots as the means to answer employees’ questions about company-related topics.
Chatbots go beyond sheer business to make an impact on other markets, too. For instance, medical clinics can use chatbots as personal assistants in order to improve healthcare and keep the patients informed about exams or appointments. Besides that, medical practitioners can use chatbots to retrieve drug-related information instantly.
Chatbots can make booking effortless by minimizing the time needed to find the best routes, accommodation, and means of transport. They can also give users practical suggestions about their destinations and recommend popular activities.
Best Chatbot Platforms for Your Website
After everything you’ve seen so far, the only thing left is to check out the best chatbot platforms for your website. You should understand that different platforms offer different features, so the choice you make depends mostly on the needs and peculiarities of your own business.
However, some platforms stand out from the rest because they offer a broad scope of possibilities, so we are going to mention a few of those chatbot services:
Flow XO: It’s a simple and intuitive chatbot builder that doesn’t require any coding skills from your side. Even first-time users can quickly create chatbot assistants and start generating leads from multiple communication channels.
Botsify: This is another valuable provider that allows you to design chatbot service for websites and Facebook Messenger. The best thing about it is that the system integrates seamlessly with most of the program, including major players such as Shopify or WordPress.
Chatfuel: Chatfuel is a standout system developed specifically for Facebook Messenger. As such, it gives you a wide portfolio of features and promises to skyrocket the open rate percentage.
Sequel: This platform offers you dozens of chatbot templates that you can apply to your website or customize so as to match the specific demands of your target audience. You can use the chatter bot or opt for one of its alternatives (publisher, personal, story, or game bot).
TARS: If you are looking for a highly professional chatbot service with an almost unlimited number of features, then TARS may as well be the best option for your organization. The tool is easy to use, but it has all the components you need to make a high-converting chatbot system.
Chatbots have already made a huge impact on our everyday lives, but their potential is gigantic and we can expect new and even more exciting breakthroughs sooner or later. In this article, we focused on the existing features and discussed the concept of chatbot technology, its use cases, functions, and most popular software solutions.
The new communication model has the potential to take your business to the whole new level, so don’t hesitate to test chatbots and find the platform that suits your professional requirements – it could help you to build a better and more profitable organization.
- Chatbots are transforming the way that so many businesses operate, and it is only going to keep growing and changing over time
- It gives you the ability to interact with customers in so many different ways on unique platforms
- You can customize how you want your chatbot to operate, and what you want it to do for your customers
- Chatbots can be used in so many different industries, with the purpose all stemming back to good communication
Author's bio lines: Tiffany Harper is a talented writer from New York (USA), an extremely active woman, and a real leader. She began her career as a journalist and proceeded it as a writer. Now she works as a subject matter specialist with UK Assignment Holic, MyAssignmentHelp, do my assignment online, mostly in wellness and healthy lifestyle area. She likes to write while traveling and meeting new people, feel free to contact her on Twitter.