The customer is king! This idiom does not exist without a reason: customers want to be cared for and be able to count on your support at all times. It goes without saying that employing a service staff member for each and every potential customer who is visiting your website or online shop is not an option. Therefore, chatbots are an effective and attractive solution for both sides.
What are Chatbots?
Behind the word chatbot stands an electronic communication in real-time. A chatbot is consequently a robot, which is able to execute simple communication in the form of a short chat. If you are now visualising a tiny, electronic being you are however on the wrong track. A chatbot is a computer program, with which certain communication tasks can be automatised.
Which types of chatbots are there?
There is a variety of chatbots: some are rule-based while others are based on artificial intelligence (AI). The first is only able to understand predefined words. For it to work, rules like the following are set up: if the user writes “I want information on product xyz”, the bot is providing them with specific product details. The disadvantage is clear: words that are incorrectly spelled or sentences that are formulated in a slightly different way are not understood.
Therefore, chatbots that are based on artificial intelligence are the obvious choice. They are able to understand human language and deal with different formulations. They are even able to cope with spelling mistakes (to a certain extent) and to understand the overall core message.
Robots that are based on AI are consequently able to understand whole conversations and to perform a two-way communication.
Apart from technological differences, there is also a functional distinction between different types of robots:
Informative bots: as the name suggests, these bots mainly provide users with information about news, products or services. A news ticker bot is an example for this. It is not developed for mutual communication.
Utility bots: these bots have the aim to solve a task. They are to answer to a request and to solve problems. Often, this form of a chatbot is used as an alternative to the classical customer service. They can be used to make appointments, answer to FAQs or to help with online shopping.
Advise for your chatbot.
Test and train your bot thoroughly before unleashing it. Be it internally or externally: even a small group of test subjects will help you recognise errors in practice. If you have finalised the development of your chatbot and got rid of all errors, you should make sure to use it on more than one channel. Do not only put it on your website but implement it for example in a messaging app, in order to optimise your customer service on all channels.