If you’re reading this article, you’re using software, or simply a collection of computer instructions that tell your electronic devices how to work. Not to blow your mind, but… the technology involved to let you casually browse the internet is astounding.
The internet is built upon these computer instructions. Chatbots are computer programs, too. They just happen to simulate human-like conversation.
Some people have referred to chatbots as talk-bots, chatterboxes, instant message (IM) bots, or interactive agents. The usage of chatbots in the business environment is taking off. In fact, in a 2019 survey, 62% of consumers said they liked using chatbots to interact with businesses. Don’t ignore this important statistic, especially if you’re in business! To make sure you’re aware of the power of this technology, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most common questions about chatbots.
The 7 Most Common Questions Asked About Chatbots
Question 1: What are chatbots and how do they work?
Yes, it’s true that chatbots are computer programs. However, let’s go beyond that definition and shed some light on what these intelligent computer programs “chat” about.
There are 2 types of chatbots:
- Rules-Based Chatbot – This is a simple bot that is programmed to know a limited set of questions and the correct answers to those questions. If the chatbot is asked a question it wasn’t taught as a rule, it doesn’t know how to respond. Because of this, it’s also highly limited when it comes to understanding language. For instance, if a person says “sure” instead of “yes,” the chatbot isn’t likely to understand.
- AI-Based Chatbot – This is a more multifaceted type of chatbot that uses Natural Language Understanding (NLU), which is a subset of Natural Language Processing, and artificial intelligence to interpret what a user is trying to express so it can respond accordingly. These types of bots have the capacity to “learn” (really store) lots of information in order to provide a more comprehensive user experience.
According to IBM’s definition, “Chatbots use natural language recognition capabilities to discern the intent of what a user is saying, in order to respond to inquiries and requests. The problem is, most chatbots try to mimic human interactions, which can frustrate users when a misunderstanding arises.”
Think about it this way. A chatbot is essentially an application (or app) without a user interface. An app is composed of a few basic things:
- A Database (where information is stored)
- The App (a set of commands by which the App functions)
- An API (interfaces that connect the app to other services)
- And lastly, User Interface (the method in which a consumer interacts with you)
A chatbot driven by artificial intelligence and natural language processing has three of these features, including the database, the application layer, and access to APIs. But, instead of its own user interface, it relies on a messaging platform. It uses Facebook Messenger, Slack, WhatsApp, or something similar to interact with the user.
Chatbots don’t have to open the web browser on a user’s mobile device and hope a website is responsive. They also don’t need to install your business’s mobile app. They just need to use the same messaging tool they use many times a day. For the consumer, it is easy and familiar.
DiRAD’s chatbots, or “virtual customer assistants” (VCAs) as we prefer to call them, are made using artificial intelligence and NLU to offer the best customer experience, increased sales, and create more efficiencies for your business. The best thing about DiRAD’s VCA technology is that it isn’t just a static chatbot on your website. Our VCA can sit on your website, social media, and be attached to a mobile number to answer text messages and phone calls, as well. Incredible, right?
Question 2: How do you know if a chatbot is the best fit for your business?
If you have a business, you already agree that cost-savings are important. However, not all businesses are the same, as some have different requirements and different business models.
Ask yourself these questions before implementing a chatbot:
- How often does your company have direct customer contact?
- Does your customer service receive recurring requests frequently?
- How intensive are your customer requests?
- Which communication channels do your customers prefer?
- What added value can a chatbot create for your business?
If your answer is ‘yes’ to at least two of these questions, chatbot technology can enhance your business.
Question 3: How much does a chatbot cost?
There’s no easy answer to this question. It’s like asking your local car dealer, “How much do your cars cost?” There are lots of factors to consider. In terms of chatbots, price fluctuates depending on what you need your bot to do and how it will be programmed.
For example, if you want a specific, highly-customized feature tailored specifically for your business processes, the cost could be expensive. However, when you calculate the cost of the chatbot versus the cost of an employee interacting with a customer manually, you’ll find a cost difference. The cost of the technology could be a lot less.
Question 4: What does the implementation process look like when building a chatbot?
Again, this could be contingent on the type of chatbot and bot builder or service provider that you chose for your technical implementation.
At DiRAD, we explain and implement individual content together with the client, as well as any necessary interfaces to data sources. After the technical setup is complete, thorough tests and optimizations are done prior to the chatbot going live. Our customers can then manage any chatbot content and analytics through DiRAD’s Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) stage.
Question 5: What kind of return on my chatbot investment can I expect to see and how soon?
This depends on what you’re looking to accomplish. Do you have a goal established? Start there first. Would you like to generate more revenue, or improve customer experiences? Also, how soon would you like to accomplish this business goal? Is it a realistic goal in the time you’ve specified?
The point is that intelligent chatbots have the potential to do a lot to help improve customer service, boost sales, and increase profits. The technology is something many small and midsize businesses can use, even if it’s for a simple, time-consuming, or arduous task.
We can help you define what success will look like if you use our chatbot technology. Talk with us so we can understand how to match your requirements with the benefits you will gain.
Question 6: So, to be clear… chatbots are an example of artificial intelligence?
Yes. Artificial intelligence (AI) is the ability of a computer to simulate human intelligence. It can be used to take on a task and complete it with reasoning and/or learned traits. AI can make decisions, recognize things, and understand relationships between concepts like language and symbols.
Chatbots are powerful because they can handle the tough tasks that occur in business, especially across different industries like e-commerce, transport, health care, and lots more.
Question 7: How do I know if my customers will like chatbots connected to my business?
Consult your customer surveys or feedback. See what they have reported. If your customers feel like response time could be improved and they’re comfortable with communicating over the Web, through SMS, by email, or other messaging apps — your customers might respond well to the technology.
Are there other questions you have about chatbots? Let us know… we’re all ears.