What exactly are chatbots?
More and more entities – from small owner-operated businesses and e-commerce stores to large enterprises, educational institutions and government agencies are upgrading their online presence with chatbots. A chatbot is a software program designed to conduct an online text-to-text (occasionally text-to-speech) conversation on a website or any other online platform, such as Facebook Messenger or Slack. Most modern chatbots are powered by a special type of artificial intelligence – Conversational AI.
Conversational AI is not meant to replace human-like dialogue experience (well, not yet). Its superpower is to attend to every single customer or lead who lands on your website (or other online platform). An AI chatbot (or simply “bot”) is an easy-to-use tool that can help your website visitors get an answer to their question, streamline completion of a task, or connect with someone in your organization for help. The humans on your customer service team will appreciate the bot taking the burden of routine repetitive inquiries off their shoulders allowing them to focus on more complex cases. Even if you don’t have a designated customer support employee, your business can greatly benefit from deploying a chatbot.
Why are chatbots so useful?
An AI-powered chatbot can be an invaluable resource for the successful operation of your business or any other professional activity. Many tasks can be completed by the bot alone. More advanced functionality may require customizations and integrations with other software tools.
A chatbot can interact with a large number of customers at the same time. It's online, awake and in a good mood, 24 hours a day. It can answer many questions in a conversational style. And it can escalate issues to a human counterpart when needed.
How do companies use chatbots?
Here are just a few examples of what a clever chatbot can do:
- Answer the routine inquiries that tie up dozens of minutes a day of customer service staff
- Transfer difficult conversations to a human
- Stay up and running 24 / 7
- Deliver an answer from an FAQ (saving your customer from reading the entire set)
- Help your customer submit an order, make a reservation, process a claim, or complete an application without having to fill out a form.
- It can also look up details of any of those tasks above
- Help your customer schedule an appointment
- Promote discounts and offer coupons
- Capture contact info from leads
- Spring to life when a customer is about to leave your page or abandon your shopping cart
- Gather data about things your customers were looking for on your site but could not find
- A chatbot equipped with a Content Discovery feature can use advanced search and text analytics to quickly find answers in your existing content – whether it’s your website, a product catalog, a manual, corporate documentation, a database – or any combination of these data sets.