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What is a Chatbot?

Chatbots are software applications that use AI technology and natural language processing (NLP)to understand people's requirements and help them get the desired outcome. A properly designed & built chatbot would use the prevailing conversation data to comprehend the type of questions people request. It analyses correct answers to the questions through a training period. Via machine learning and NLP, chatbots understand the context and gradually improve at responding to the queries in the future.

Source: Copyright © 2021 Kalkine Media Pty Ltd.

When did Chatbot originate?

The first chatbot was developed in the 1960s by MIT professor Joseph Weizenbaum and was named ELIZA. In 2009, Chinese company WeChat created an advanced chatbot. In 2016, the chatbot implementation speeded up when Facebook started up its developer platform & revealed the possibilities with chatbots via their Messenger app. Soon Google also adopted this technology with Google Assistant. After that, there have been many chatbot apps created on the website, social media, various applications, customer support, and many more.

How do Chatbots work?

There are multiple ways in which a chatbot can be built. In the present times, there are three types of chatbots which see commonly. These are:

Rule-based chatbots:

As the name suggests, a rule-based chatbot follows a pre-designed rule. These chatbots are designed using a graphical user interface, and the bot builder designs the path with the help of a decision tree.

AI Chatbots:

AI chatbots automatically understand after an early training period by a bot developer. In AI Chatbot, the user raises a query on the chatbot. Once a query is raised, the AI chatbot analyses the user request. It then identifies intent and entities. The bot then composes a reply and provides it to the user.

Live Chat:

Live chats are used by the sales and development teams. These are the simplest form of chat options that answers the query raised by the user in real-time.

Advantages of Chatbots

In the present times, the people involved in generating sales and marketing activities have to go through a lot of pressure not only in terms of the revenue numbers but also in improving the customer experience. We see a lot of increasing demand and expectation of the customers. The customers expect a quick and accurate response to their queries. At a certain level, a human can respond to these queries. However, after a certain point, the job has to be taken over by the technology. Because of these requirements, businesses started adopting chatbots.

Below are some of the advantages of using chatbots:

  • Help Gain Insights

Chatbot helps to collect data from the customers by communicating with them. These comprise of getting insights about the activities, likings, problems etc. Through these queries, it is possible to look for the most common queries raised by the customers and the related answers which the customer is looking for. Based on these data, the company's trying to include them on the website to assist them.

  • Help Improve Sales

Chatbot plays a vital role in increasing sales. Chatbot makes it possible to offer instant support to the customer. Once their query gets resolved, it is possible that they might take the required action as well. Hence, in turn, it increases the chance of lead generation and helps in generating more sales.

Through chatbots, it is also possible to market new offering to the customers.

  • Chatbots are available Round the Clock

Chatbots do not get tired like humans. These are available 24/7 to the customers. These chatbots respond to the users instantly.

  • Help Save Money

Chatbots have made it possible to save a lot of money earlier distributed to the customer support teams in salary. During the initial phase of the development of chatbots, there is a need for a considerable investment. However, in the long run, it helps to automate customer support operations.

The repeated and simple queries can now be taken care of by these chatbots, and the bigger queries can be dealt with by the customer support team.

Disadvantage of Chatbots

There is no doubt that the introduction of chatbots has played an essential role in reducing the pain to respond to the users' everyday rising basic queries. But one cannot ignore that these have disadvantages as well. Let us look at some of them:

  • Chatbot lacks emotions

Chatbots are mechanical, and thus they lack emotions. They respond to the user as per the pre-programmed answers. On the other hand, the customer support agent listens and understands the customers' emotions and responds to the query accordingly.

  • There are possibilities of misunderstanding

As highlighted above, chatbots are pre-programmed; there could be chances where the chatbot could not understand the customer's query and could not provide an answer accordingly.

  • Limited Functionality

Chatbots are developed to answer simple and common questions that the customers raise with facts. As they are pre-programmed, they cannot sometimes answer that requires decision making. There are occasions where the chatbot models do not fit a particular business model.

  • High development and maintenance cost

Chatbots indeed reduces payroll expenses. However, one cannot deny the fact that installing a complex chatbot can be pretty expensive. Gradually as you keep upgrading your chatbots, the cost also increases.

Chatbots need regular maintenance so that they provide the most updated and relevant response to the customers. With the change in customer preference and business priorities, the chatbot is required to get updated frequently. If these things are not taken care of, then the impact could be seen on the customer satisfaction level.

Source: Copyright © 2021 Kalkine Media Pty Ltd.

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