What is a Chatbot? A Beginners Guide on Chatbots

How often have you visited a business website or a matter of fact any website which has a chat support feature and you typed in a query, but waited and waited still got no response from the chat representative. 

I feel many times. 

But that’s a thing of the past, now website owners have started integrating Chatbots on their websites , which can instantly reply to customer queries without any human chat representative.

What is a Chatbot?


Chatbot is a software program which can communicate with humans via a chat interface in human like conversations without any humans controlling the software.

How many types of chatbots are there?

There are 3 types of chatbots a) Menu/Button based chatbots b) Keyword based chatbot c) Artificial Intelligence based chatbot

What can chatbots do?

Chatbots can be used in websites for collecting sales leads, provide technical support for customers, used for collecting information from customers such as surveys , conduct routine mechanical tasks etc

In this article i will give you all information on Chatbots and how they benefit website owners .

What is a Chatbot?

Chatbot is a software program which can communicate with humans via a chat interface in human like conversations without any humans controlling the software.

Chatbots can be implemented on a variety of platforms such as websites, mobile applications, your social media accounts spanning facebook , instagram, telegram, skype etc

I have added a video below which shows how a chatbot functions.

Types of Chatbots

Chatbots can be divided into 3 types based on how they are programmed.

1) Menu/Button based chatbot 

2) Keyword based chatbot

3) Artificial Intelligence based chatbot

Menu/Button Based Chatbot

This kind of bots are one of the basic type of chatbot , where the chatbot users are provided with buttons, users can click the button for getting responses from the bot.

An example of menu based chatbot is where users of chatbot need to click on button provided in the chat interface for receiving their answers.

Menu based bots are perfect for answering support related queries, but in advanced scenarios where the user is in need of much more specific queries they fail to provide the user the necessary information.

Keyword based chatbot 

Keyword based chatbots are much more interactive , here the chatbot is programmed to give answers by detecting a keyword entered by the user.

So for eg If a user types in a request “What are the prices of your services” the chatbot will give the answer based on the input given while programming for the keyword Price. 

But Keyword based chatbot has its shortcomings , when similar type of keywords are entered by chatbot users the accuracy of answers get affected and users are not able to be directed to correct responses.

Artificial intelligence Based Chatbots

AI based chatbots are developed using Artificial intelligence or Machine learning. These type of chatbots function totally different from keyword and menu based chatbot .

Here the chatbots are much more intelligent , they function in such a way that they learn from conversation from users. When a user communicates with it they store the data and at a later stage if the same user again communicates with it the chatbot, It has the capability to take the information previously stored and provide the user information accordingly.

For eg: Consider a chatbot for an ecommerce portal , say a user using the chatbot communicates with the chatbot regarding the kind of shoes he is searching, while communicating the chatbot saves all details , next time when the user communicates with the chatbot , the chatbot would be able to offer him shoe details according to his preference and hence increase the chance of the customer of buying a product from the website. 

Benefits Of Chatbots

1) 24/7 Customer Support – Are you a restaurant hospital or any business which deal with people, then handling customer queries is an integral part of your business. This is where a chatbot scores above human beings where it can handle queries from multiple customers at the same time and do the task 24/7 without any rest.

2) Provide Instant Reply: People hate to wait, they expect instant reply while searching for their queries, when dealing with human beings the reply tends to take time but with chatbots the reply to queries are instant which make customers happy and doubles customer visits to your portal 

3) Closing sales deals: Chatbots help in understanding the customers better and and it can come to know what the customers interest are and what services or products the customer is interested in whereby you can direct the customer to a sales funnel designed for such customers and close the sale with the customer at a much faster pace. 

Multiple sales funnels can be created and customers according to their purchasing habits can be directed towards the best converting sales funnel.

4) Save Time & Money: Manpower is one of the major cost for businesses , by using a chatbot you can save money on manpower for tasks such as providing support related queries , booking appointments , collection of information from customers etc. 

A single chatbot can be used for executing such tasks, and can handle multiple customers at the same time whereby saving time & operational costs. 

5) Easy to collect information: Long application forms or contact forms on websites to fill do not fullfill the purpose since people find it cumbersome in filling such forms, Chatbots work as a better alternative for users to submit data as the collection of data is in a conversational manner and users will be more willing to submit data.

Examples of Chatbots

Sports Bot (The Score) – Get to know scores of Foootball matches held worldwide.

News Bot (The Wall Street Journal ) – The Bot provide all latest news, videos, podcast on happenings around the world.

TV Channel Bot – (National Geographic Channel) – Chat with bot and get information on upcoming programs, program schedules, contest etc as well as watch Live TV, Videos etc 

Ecommerce Bot – (Argomall) – Purchase goods via bot and even make payment through bot.

Weather Bot: (Wetter Online) Get latest Weather update on Facebook Messenger

Conclusion

According to Gartner by 2020 more than 50% of small, medium and large enterprises will have chatbots ,which shows that chatbots will become an integral part of businesses digital strategy.

But even if the said predictions are not accurate , Chatbots are definitely going to add value for website owners and businesses and it is here to stay.

Please free to post your comments below in comments section , would like to know your feedback on chatbots.

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