Find & Compare the Best Chatbot Deals
A chatbot is a computer program designed to mimic how people talk to each other.
Typically, you interact with them through a chat app, like Facebook Messenger or Whatsapp.
You can ask them questions, and in return they’ll provide pre-written answers.
Every business has information that they need to tell the customer, like their opening hours, their prices or how to use their products.
The traditional way of doing this has been to simply write up long pages of text explaining all these details.
The issue is that people tend to glaze over or skip this information, leading to confusion and frustration down the line.
Chatbots, however, mimic real human conversations, which people are naturally more receptive to.
Even if they don’t pretend to be humans, they let customers ask the questions that concern them, at their own pace, rather than having to search through a long FAQ.
Chatbots are particularly useful at serving out information on sets of clearly-defined topics.
As an example, an airline’s website might have a chatbot that explains the process for booking a seat online with clear directions and images.
It might even automatically take the user to the right page, or let them make the purchase directly through text.
Afterwards, it could then ask if the user wants to hear more – perhaps what they get for upgrading to first-class or other secondary details.
This empowers the user to quickly get only the information they want, saving time and frustration on their end.
If you’ve been on the web long, you’ve almost certainly used a site that had a chatbot or virtual assistant in the corner.
Roughly 80% of businesses plan to use chatbots in one form or another, and that number is only going to increase as they grow more sophisticated.
While live service given by human operators is never going to die out completely, it’s likely to be reserved more and more solely for issues that the chatbots can’t handle.
It’s no accident that so many companies are using chatbots.
They provide a radical new alternative to traditional customer support models that offer massive benefits in terms of time and money spent.
Let’s examine a few in detail.
The beauty of machines is that they don’t need to sleep.
Customers can use the chatbots on your website at any time of day to find answers to their questions, and the responses will always come instantly.
This is even more important when you consider international customers, who’ll be working in different timezones to you – they might never be awake at the same time as your human support staff.
This is really the big one. Setting up a chatbot, even one with a monthly service fee, is usually many times cheaper than paying the wages of a live support agent.
Even if a chatbot can only answer a third of customer complaints, that means you can scale down your human support team by a third, or retarget them to more pressing issues.
It’s common for users to end up on a website with a goal in mind, but not be sure how to achieve it.
Maybe they want to pre-order a product, book seats for a gig or find reviews for a local restaurant.
Left to their own devices, they might not be able to figure out what they want to do, get frustrated and leave.
Chatbots let you intercept the customer at the start of the journey, giving them a guided tour of the site.
If you program in opinions for the most common customer journeys, like the examples above, then the customer can have a stress-free time with your website.
This leads to increased customer satisfaction and conversion rates – no more bounces after hitting the homepage.
Chatbots are not truly intelligent, because they can’t learn things or make their own decisions.
They typically work by picking up on keywords in the user’s messages, then matching that against a string of pre-written text in their database.
For example, if you send a message with the phrase ‘opening times’ somewhere in it, the chatbot is likely to send back a response with the company’s opening times, but it’s not thinking about what it’s doing.
‘True’ artificial intelligence that can hold a conversation with someone is only in the very early stages of development.
More and more, chatbots are using machine learning to bridge this gap and adapt their messages to the context of the conversation, but it’s a new development in the field.