Whenever you visit a website, a small window pops up asking you to enter your query. It is nothing but a chatbot. It provides a user-friendly mechanism for answering your queries, helps you in making a product choice and many such things. They mainly help you in having a satisfying experience.
What is a chatbot?
A chatbot is a piece of software designed using either rules or artificial intelligence. It is designed to interact with the users in the same way as any human would go using either textual or voice mechanism. A very popular example of chatbot which most us have come across is Zendesk. It offers a bouquet of services using bots.
Developing a chatbot
There are mainly two reasons for which chatbots are built namely solicit information or accomplish a transaction. Main factors to be taken into consideration while developing a chatbot are: -
Whether to build using Natural language or Conversational/Directed Dialog
Natural language processing is an Artificial Intelligence-based approach while Conversational/Directed Dialog is a rule-based approach. While natural language processing is a better approach, it needs a lot of data and some specific tools or proficiencies.
Conversational/Directed dialog, however, does not make use Artificial Intelligence and hence is limited in its capabilities. In this, the interaction is guided by the chatbot, not the user. The user is provided with a set of options to choose from so, the usage is restricted.
Conversation interaction design
It is intended to take care of the limitations in Natural language processing. Sometimes the chatbots are not able to take care of certain situations as the humans can place queries in ways which the chatbots cannot handle. Such a scenario is known as a non-happy path scenario. The conversational. This approach is known as the Manual Approach. The limitation of this approach is that it too much time and requires some specific skills.
In contrast to this is the pure AI approach. It requires huge amounts of data consisting of real human interactions. These conversations must provide for both input and output for both happy and unhappy paths.
This depends on the functionality of your bot. If the functionality is a complex one requiring the use of user information, CRM integration is an essential part, but it might not be so if is the functionality of the bot is a simple one not dependent on user data.
Channels and modalities
Decide the channels or modalities to be related to the bots. This must be in relation to the behavioral pattern, preferences of the users and the area the bot is pertaining to.
Role of humans
Humans intervention is required if such is a policy of the organization or the bot is not functioning as expected.
A chatbot development platform is a software that aids in developing a chatbot. Some famous chatbot platforms are Chatfield, Botsify, FlowXO, Beep Boop etc. On the other hand, is the chatbot publishing platform which is the medium through which a user makes use of a chatbot, for e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat etc.
Also Read:- What Will Design Be Like In Coming Years?
Some other services which can be used to build bots are Microsoft Cognitive Services, Wit, IBM VWA, Amazon Lex etc.
How beneficial is your chatbot for your website?
There are many benefits of having a chatbot for your website: -
All the elements can be customized according to user preferences which will attract more and more people to the website. The chatbot can suggest products or services based on a user’s previous search history.
Chatbots provide higher privacy of data in industries which are controlled by the government like financial services.
No unnecessary use of messenger
It is better to have a web chatbot rather than having the user login to a messenger to gain information about the website.
Solving regular queries
Most of the users visiting the website have the same regular queries. Having a chatbot included on your website for the same is an excellent solution. It is capable of handling as much as 80% inbound queries on the website. This frees up your staff from answering more complicated queries.
The chatbots on a website help the customers in several ways. They not only help in finding the products but also suggest products related to the products the user has selected. This is not enough, the chatbots on the website can be programmed to perform a large variety of functions. They give the feel to the user as if they are talking to a real human. Use of chatbots helps to increase sales to a certain extent.
The use of a chatbot on your website eliminates the time which a user might spend to get connected to a customer support executive. Chatbots can provide service 24 * 7 without getting tired thus, providing a satisfying experience to a user. Users are not frustrated while waiting for their turn to talk to a support executive, spend more time on the website. This results in increased sales hence, increasing the revenue.
Scale your business with a chatbot
As the business grows, more and more staffs are required to handle customer queries. Chatbots are a solution to this problem as they are capable of handling numerous queries simultaneously. This helps in increasing sales and business growth.
The chatbots are very versatile. They can be trained to switch between industries or departments by providing them with conversation structure and flow.
Fulfilling customer experience
The chatbots treat all the customer equally even if a customer’s language is not up to date. They can converse with customers, provide them with apt replies thus making their experience simple. This results in satisfied customers.
A chatbot can handle many customers at the same time. So, the use of chatbot eliminates the need of having many employees, hence, they prove to be economical.
Training new employees
Employees keep on leaving and joining an organization. It takes a lot of time in training new ones. Chatbot if used for the same, reduce this time to zero.
The employees become less productive if they are required to do the same set of tasks, every day. The use of a chatbot to carry out these monotonous tasks will help hastily way in increasing employee productivity.
Additional sales medium
In addition to the regular sales team, a chatbot could also function as an alternate sales medium. It is available to the users always and is capable of answering their queries any time of the day. Thus, they are a great aid to sales.
Planning business strategies
The Chatbots collect a large amount of conversation data which can be used in making business strategies.
The API of the payment gateways in an e-commerce website can be included with the Chatbots which would help the customers in an easy checkout. This also helps in retaining the customer to the website.
A means of performing the survey
A chatbot is also a very good means of performing a survey which is otherwise difficult if done by means of emails or website. A chatbot makes the survey brief and thus can engage a user.
Relevant push notifications
The chatbots can deliver more relevant push notifications than email notifications. This does not frustrate a user and keeps him engaged.
By making use of the email ids and phone numbers provided by the user to the chatbots, fresh leads may be generated.
Although we must acknowledge the fact that after all a chatbot is a piece of software and sometimes is incapable of understanding the finer points or the nuances as of human conversation, still with the advancement of Artificial Intelligence they have a great future.