Let’s dive into what chatbots are all about: the ins and outs of what they offer and why you might consider using chatbots for your business.
A chatbot is a service that your clients interact with via a chat interface. Chatbots live in any major chat product -- say Facebook Messenger, Slack or Snapchat.
By using a chatbot, your clients won’t have to browse or have endless (and tedious) conversations with customer service representatives. Chatbots quickly become the best personal shopper, problem solver and friend your clients have never met.
In marketing, for example, chatbots can guide customers to the information they’re looking for, inspire them or help them choose the right products, or enhance employee productivity by automating necessary processes. You’ve seen these on Your.MD, where medical advice is readily dispensed as soon as you describe your symptoms, at H&M’s outfit inspiration chatbot that is cleverly saving shoppers from the deluge of the online shopping jungle, or Talla’s chatbots designed to onboard and train employees.
There are two types of chatbots that can simulate human conversations and the type you go with really depends on your needs and on what problem you’re trying to solve:
- Script-based chatbots are simple and rule-based, meaning they respond to specific commands and follow a predefined script and flow. They’re only as smart as you make them. So don’t go asking it the wrong thing…. Script-based chatbots are often used in customer service, as shopping assistants or for simple things like weather forecasts.
- AI-powered chatbots have an artificial brain function that uses machine learning and draws on context, meaning your clients don’t have to be specific when asking questions. Best of all, they learn over time – like Siri, they’re designed to be “human,” they can find you things based on your history of likes and dislikes and your searches over time.
But first things first. What you, and only you, can figure out is what issue or problem you’re trying to solve with your chatbot. And that’s the hardest part of building chatbots – it’s really not the technical part.
It’s configuring a chatbot that users will keep coming back to and that will continue to provide value for your users time after time.
Once you’ve figured out the problem you’re setting out to solve, you’re onto the technical part (which we’ll cover in a separate post): you simply pick your platform and set up your server.
And off you go, flying into the realm of AI. Welcome to the chatbot club.
This bite-sized article is part of our Guide to Chatbots: How to Grow Your Business with AI. Check out the complete guide for down to earth advice to see whether chatbots are right for you, how to make them work for your business, and ways to implement your own chatbot strategy.