Brace yourselves for the biggest thing to hit the world of digital marketing and technology since websites, mobile and apps – chatbots! Since 2016, chatbots have been dominating business and tech news, announcing to the world that they have arrived, and are definitely here to stay. Find out why top companies and large brands are jumping headfirst into this exciting tech revolution that provides a massive advantage over competitors, and why your business should, too!
What are they?
A “chatbot”, short for chatter robot, is a computer program or service powered by artificial intelligence (AI) that one can converse or “chat” with via messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger, Viber, Whatsapp, and other chat interfaces. The service could range from a variety of functions – may it be updating you with the latest news, informing you of the weather, helping you shop for clothes or organize your schedule, or even giving you life advice. The possibilities are endless, really, when it comes to chatbots. You can build a Chatbot for practically anything.
What are they for?
A Chatbot acts as a virtual assistant or agent that, as mentioned above, can help you with a variety of functions or tasks, depending on what kind of bot it is. For example, a weather bot will be able to inform you about the latest updates on the weather or whether it’ll be sunny or cloudy during the weekend; a personal finance bot can help you manage your budget and finances; a news bot will provide you with the latest news and trending topics; and a chatbot for a clothing brand can provide you with different style options or outfit choices and help you shop for a certain piece of clothing or even a whole outfit, as well as other accessories. Basically, a chatbot can be created to provide information, help a person purchase something, or answer customer service or technical support questions, similar to a call center that operates 24/7, except that this bot can handle all of the operations by itself.
How can they be used?
A Facebook Messenger Chatbot is very easy to use. To help you better wrap your head around it, let’s give an illustration. Suppose you would like to have some food delivered from your favorite fast food chain. Normally, you would go to their website to check the menu, and after choosing the food items you would like to order, would call up their hotline to place your order, unless you could already place the order on the website itself. If your favorite fast food chain had a bot, however, all you’ll have to do is send it a message (via Facebook Messenger, or any other chat service it’s available on) to start a conversation with it, and the experience would be similar to how it is when you walk into the fast food chain itself and look at the menu or talk to a crew member. The bot would be just like a crew member, albeit virtual, and would be able to provide you with the menu, options, promos, and answer whatever questions you may have, instantly. No need to wait for a website to load, download an app, or wait on the line for an agent to assist you. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?
How do they work?
Chatbots are able to talk to people and answer questions through artificial intelligence. Actually, there are 2 ways in which bots can work – one is through a set of rules, and the other through machine learning, which is more advanced. The Chatbot that functions based on a set of rules is more limited, such that it can only be as smart as it is programmed to be, while the Chatbot that functions based on machine learning increases in intelligence the more it converses with people.
What’s the big deal about chatbots?
The big deal is, they’re such a big opportunity for businesses. Why? It’s because now, more than ever, people are spending more time using messenger apps than they are using social networks. This indeed goes to show that messaging apps are where the people are. For a company who would want to build its business online, it’s got to build where the people are, and that is in messaging apps, where chatbots can be accessed.