A chatbot (also known as a smartbot, talkbot, chatterbot, interactive agent,) is a computer program or an artificial intelligence which conducts a conversation via auditory or textual methods. A chatbot is programmed to work independently from a human operator. It can answer questions formulated to it in natural language and respond like a real person.
The service could be any number of things, ranging from functional to fun, and it could live in any major chat product (Facebook Messenger, Slack, Telegram, Text Messages, etc.).
By 2022, it’s estimated that chatbots will help businesses save over $8 billion per year.
Chatbots can help with customer service tasks and tie into your various systems to answer repetitive customer questions like: “When will my package be delivered?” “What time is my appointment?” “Where are you located?”
Bots can also be used to warm prospects, schedule sales appointments and help make purchases. I recently set up a bot to help a client close auto loans without ever needing a human. It asked all the questions that a human would ask and was designed to include emojis to make the conversation sound more natural.
In deciding whether or not to invest in a bot, figure out if you’d want to use the bot for customer service or in more of a sales capacity. From there, you can steer yourself toward the technology that makes the most sense for your goals.
One thing to keep in mind is that chatbots are not meant to replace complex human conversations. They can help, but they are still evolving and improving.
There are two types of chatbots, one functions based on a set of rules, and the other more advanced version uses machine learning.
What does this mean?
Chatbot that functions based on rules:
- This bot is very very limited. It can only respond to very specific commands. If you say the wrong thing, it doesn’t know what you mean.
- This bot is only as smart as it is programmed to be.
Chatbot that functions using machine learning:
- This bot has an artificial brain AKA artificial intelligence. You don’t have to be ridiculously specific when you are talking to it. It understands language, not just commands.
- This bot continuously gets smarter as it learns from conversations it has with people.
Thanks to Forbes