Chatbots in Business

Recognising and addressing customer needs has just gotten easier.

Chat bots, also known as talkbots, interactive agents, chatterbots, artificial conversational entities, bots and IM / messenger bots, are smart computer applications which can carry on independent conversations, either textually or vocally. The term "ChatterBot" was originally coined in the early 90s by Michael Mauldin, the creator of the Verbot (Verbal Robot) software, whose first prototype went by the name Julia and was maintained up until 2012 when the company that developed it shut down. Today’s chatbots are advanced versions of the concept behind Julia, and have come a long way since its inception.

Chatbots for President

Chatbots have become all the craze in the past couple of years and for a good reason – they place a company and its services right where the action is – in widely used chat and messenger apps like Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, WeChat, Slack, etc. Chatbots are revolutionising the customer service industry while reducing the need for call centre and customer/technical support operators. Customers and prospects can now get the information and experiences they seek when and where it suits them. No need to use 10 different apps to get a payment sent any longer – Paypal messenger chatbots can take care of that, right in your Slack chat window, for instance.  

Types of chatbots

Among the most commonly used chatbot technology today are the simpler chatbots whose functions are based on a predefined set of rules, and the more advanced versions of chatbots, which use machine learning or artificial intelligence to learn from interactions and improve over time.

Chatbots also vary based on their functionality and what they are capable of achieving:

News bots help you stay up-to-date on the news or select topics of interest.
Scheduling bots schedule your meetings for you within your messenger of choice without you having to ever exit or switch apps.
Product suggestion bots offer product recommendations based on what you might be looking for in terms of colour, style, features. Monstyle is an example of such a chatbot for the fashion industry – it provides recommendations based on the user’s preferred style of clothing, and then helps them shop for clothes, shoes and accessories.
Finance bots let you check the status of the funds in your bank, investment or cryptocurrency accounts, for example your current balance and most recent transactions.
Customer support bots provide answers to support-type questions, address customer complaints, track the status of placed orders and provide after-sales support.

Chatbot opportunities

Improving your users’ experience, driving sales, increasing the time users spend in apps and gaining insights on consumer behaviour and needs are among some of the positive results chatbots can help your organisation achieve. They can also assist in reducing the time your staff spends on answering common questions, allowing them focus on more important tasks like improving and promoting your products.

Developing chatbots

Building custom chatbots should be undertaken with your strategic and operational goals in mind to ensure your bot software will not only resolve any immediate issues but also take your customer operations to the next level.

There are several existing frameworks for chatbot development, each one supplying its own set of features and advantages at a different cost. The most common chatbot framework today include:

Howdy botkit is a kit for building chat bots, apps and custom integrations for common messaging platforms, featuring 40+ plugins.
Wit.ai provides a natural language for developers, allowing them to create text- or voice-based bots that can interact with humans on their preferred messaging platforms.
Textit provides a visual builder called ‘Flows’ that can help implement multi-platform messaging and voice bots in order to engage prospects and existing customers.
Chatfuel claims you can launch a full-featured chatbot with their tool in 7 minutes without any coding.

Microsoft’s framework lets you build bots or skills for use on websites, apps, Cortana, Skype, Slack, Facebook Messenger and more.

A well-designed and built chatbot AI enables the bot to not only understand humans, but also discover and meet their unforeseen needs – a clear advantage in today’s competitive business landscape. Contact PegusApps for a consultation on the right chatbot technology for your company.

Copywriter: Ina Danova

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