Chatbots Are Here, and They’ll Tell You That
New innovations in technology, particularly in mobile and online circles, have become so routine, we often don’t realize they are happening. Over the last year, chatbots have been gaining a place in the market, and most people don’t even know it.
Chatbots are being utilized by businesses for improving customer service interactions, and chatbot marketing automation is on the rise. These are only two of the many potential applications for the technology.
How Chatbots Work
Chatbots are a form of artificial intelligence (AI). Through sophisticated computer programming, chatbots are intended to interact with humans on such an advanced level that the person doesn’t realize that they’re interacting with a bot.
The first wave of chatbots worked with machine learning. A program is given a set of information and learns how to provide the best responses when asked. Over time, the system improves, essentially using statistical analysis to determine answers based on what was previously successful.
Next level chatbots are using deep learning AI. The programming mimics the way the human brain works, using multiple layers and connections to determine the best interaction.
Additionally, bots can access stored data that helps them understand individuals on a more personalized level. The latest advancement has been to incorporate voice capabilities that allows the chatbots to sound more human.
Where Chatbots are Now
Consumers may not realize that they’re already using chatbots. Assistants like Google’s, Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri, for example, are chatbots operating on a high level. They have voices, can understand human speech, and provide responses to queries.
The tech is still evolving. As anyone who has used them has experienced, the assistants do not always understand what’s being asked of them. That’s actually part of the AI process. The more chatbots fail, they more they learn to do better next time.
Another common place to find chatbots today is on websites. If you’ve ever arrived at a website and a pop-up appears that offers to help you, you are likely being prompted by a chatbot. By typing a question into the provided space, the AI component analyzes what you’ve written and provides an educated response to the prompt.
In the mobile world, we’re going to see a lot more chatbots in 2018. Companies have developed programs that connect voice recognition to chatbots and will work much like Alexa or Siri. The big difference, however, is that these chatbots will be unique to specific companies.
Users going on a clothing site, for example, will be able to ask about new deals or items. They could even ask what shoes might look good with the outfit they bought from your brand last week (the chatbot has that info!). Administrative tasks will be faster and easier. Imagine logging into to your banking app and simply asking for your balance without having to tap through multiple menus.
Why Chatbots Will Benefit Businesses
The most obvious incentive for businesses to use chatbots is lowering of overhead. The expenses of fully-staffed call centers will go down as consumers gravitate toward the ease and accessibility to customer service chatbots provide. Plus, chatbots never close. As computer programs, they can be live 24/7 with no downtime, increasing consumer satisfaction for help on demand.
Surveys are showing that customer conversion and retention rates double and triple over standard website and app conversions. Those figures mean tremendous growth in customer bases with loyal returning clients.
Chatbots build relationships that consumers are finding satisfying. With instant access to historical data, bots can interact with users with full knowledge of their prior company experiences, preferences, and data. They will “know” clients better than live customer service reps who often do not have the time to be deepen the relationships between clients and companies.