Chatbots – or bots for short – are dialogue systems that work in real time and accept requests. If a customer asks a question or makes a request in the automated service, a virtual conversation is triggered, and the bot responds via text...
Chatbots – or bots for short – are dialogue systems that work in real time and accept requests. If a customer asks a question or makes a request in the automated service, a virtual conversation is triggered, and the bot responds via text or voice output. In many cases, chatbots are also able to initiate actions autonomously. That makes them extremely appealing when it comes to a company’s customer care. After all, the more independent the bots, the shorter the response times in the customer dialogue – a huge plus for brands in times of social media and live messaging.
How do chatbots work?
A chatbot is not a robot in the traditional sense – made of metal and demonstrating humanoid traits – but rather a chatbot software program or cloud service. To answer the requests they receive, the smart helpers use a range of knowledge databases and various detection patterns. After a syntactic analysis of the question asked by the customer, the bot tries to determine the semantic content of the message on the basis of algorithms. Via a search query on the Internet, it then identifies the right answer and sends it to the customer after a grammatical compilation of the information available to it.
The different chatbot types
More and more brands are implementing chatbots for their corporate communication. However, not all chatbots are alike: these communication tools come in all different shapes and sizes, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Depending on how advanced the virtual online assistant is, its functional scope and possible areas of use vary. Generally, we distinguish between two kinds of chatbots:
Rule-based chatbots offer the customer predefined answer options. These bots are suited to straightforward communication that is of a purely functional nature – such as ordering a pizza. The advantage of rule-based chatbots is that they are quick to create and are immediately ready to use. However, due to the predetermined choice of possible answers, the chatbot is limited in what it can do. If a question is asked that the chatbot is not programmed to respond to accordingly, it will not react.
In contrast to rule-based bots, AI-based chatbots have the potential to evolve and make changes to their own answers as a result of their machine learning capability. Over the long term, that allows much more personal interaction with the customer than is the case with rule-based chatbots.
Chatbots and their uses
Whether customer care, brand building, product consulting, or upsell marketing: chatbots are particularly popular in e-commerce. And for good reason: personalized offerings combined with permanent reachability and personal customer contact optimize the customer experience and lead to stronger customer engagement. But where and how exactly are chatbots used? The answer is simple: wherever communication is required.
#1 Chatbots in messenger marketing
Messenger marketing is a quick and easy way to contact potential customers and increase brand awareness. For example, if a customer receives an advertising message in Facebook Messenger, he or she can join the company’s Facebook group or like its page directly from there. In the context of messenger marketing, a messenger bot facilitates a quick live chat with the customer, thereby intensifying the communication.
#2 Social bots on Twitter, Facebook, etc.
On social media channels, social bots take care of liking, retweeting, or commenting on posts. Chatbots also provide customers with information and convenient features. For example, they keep them up to date on current orders or share additional content on special offers and deals, among other services.
#3 Online shops with bots
In online shops, chatbots are on hand 24/7 for customers. Alongside quick and personalized customer service, the bots can also give product recommendations or draw attention to special offers.
#4 Chatbots in internal communication
Chatbots can not only be used for interacting with customers, but the digital helpers can also be utilized in internal corporate communication. If employees have questions regarding certain processes, such as settling travel expenses, they can immediately get the answer from a chatbot instead of bothering a colleague with such basic issues.
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Chatbots: multi-talented tools with potential
Available around the clock, no waiting times, and quick answers: chatbots already take an enormous load off customer support departments – and the smart helpers offer even greater potential.
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