Chatbots 101

  • October 17, 2017

    Chatbots 101

    Chatbots 101

    You already interact with chatbots. These are interactive chat interfaces that often operate via artificial intelligence. Businesses typically use them to facilitate the initial phases of customer service. They work almost exactly like touchtone phone menus that drive people crazy, but work better in terms of speed, reliability and accuracy. Although this technology may seem established and ubiquitous, advances in artificial intelligence are making them exponentially better.

    Types of Chatbots

    Most bots in existence serve as automated personal assistants and customer service agents. Chatbot Magazine outlines the various types of chatbots that currently exist in the marketplace and that are taking shape for the future:

    Weather bots that can provide the forecast, grocery bots to help make and optimize your grocery list, finance bots to help manage your money, scheduling bots to set appointments and remind you about meetings. Bottom line, the opportunities are endless.

    Why People Care

    2015 was a pivotal year in social media. It marked the first time that users of messenger services outpaced social networks. More people today use messenger apps as their preferred way of communication. These messenger apps include Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Viber. Chatbot user interface mirrors messenger apps and therefore, millions of users naturally gravitate towards them. In other words, people already live in the chat world.

    Smartphone users are also tired of downloading apps. Instead of creating an app for practically every function, why not integrate useful chatbots into the apps we already use to answer questions and interact with companies and service providers?

    Why Today Looks Different

    Chatbots are nothing new. The oldest bots date back to the early years of computing. The process of creating chatbots is becoming easier and the science behind them is rapidly evolving. With exponential improvement and development in the artificial intelligence space, bots are better than ever before. Bots rely on data from previous interactions that make language processing increasingly natural. Interacting with a bot feels more like talking to a person.

    The improvement of bots presents implications to the economy. The pool of customer service oriented jobs will most likely shrink. As chatbots can replace us with repetitive tasks in customer service, employees can focus on more novel and unique situations that chatbots can’t tackle. Getting to the right person at a faster rate that can solve a customer’s problem will vastly improve the customer experience.