Chatbots are probably one of the few truly inspiring technical breakthroughs of the last couple of years. For a while, chatbots were perceived as a fancy throwaway feat of technical thought — extremely complex, conceptually progressive waste of time that may or may not pay off in some relatively distant future. As time passed and technology improved, chatbots became more and more sophisticated, verbally flexible and capable of maintaining a coherent conversation.
But let’s take a few steps back and explain what is a chatbot?
In essence, chatbot is a program that conducts a conversation on a particular subject request. It can be a simple call and response dummy that will roll out chunks of requested information or it can be a more sophisticated program that will thoroughly emulate human behavior and simulate a conversation with a consultant.
Most of the modern chatbots use a combination of natural language processing and machine learning as a primary tool for constant refinement and performance improvement.
Why chatbots are good for business?
According to the experts, the benefits of adding chatbots to the business operation are twofold. On one hand, chatbots can be used as an ever-present instantly replying customer support services. Chatbots can take over mundane and repetitive consulting activities with switching over to human assistant only if necessary.
On the other hand, chatbots are incredible source of information on the customers and their behavior. How? Every interaction with the chatbot is a source of information — the way sentences are written, requests are formulated and formed and analysing the questions asked is a window into the customers mindset. And that is something that can be used to improve customer service.
Market demand and overall curiosity helped to find and solidify the place of the chatbots on the market. Now, almost every eCommerce marketplace has chatbot assistant that can help the customer with finding the right product. Chatbots became widely used on the business sites in the role of more interactive and responsive request form or Q&A back and forth. They are also used in recruiting as it greatly simplifies the preliminary process of finding the candidates. Even the process of employee onboarding can be handled by the chatbot to a certain degree.
Chatbots as Encyclopedias
Union of a database and a chatbot is brimming with opportunities. Basically, it can be anything and even more and it is incredibly inspiring. Imagine fully responsive, instantly accessible encyclopedia to which you can talk to? Some time ago it was definitely a future. Now it is a definite possibility.
Encyclopedias and chatbots seem like a perfect fit — here’s the mouthpiece and here the vast loads of data to be delivered at request. It also helps that information in encyclopedias is already structured and need significantly less tampering than other.
On the other hand, it can give an insight into the way users are requesting information. This, in turn, can be used to improve search algorithms and refine the user experience.
Chatbots for language learning
Language learning is probably one of the most obvious uses of chatbots aside from customer support. The specimen is already there. In order to make chatbot flexible and responsible to an adequate measure, it needs a big dictionary and branched-out understanding of how grammar works. These very same things lie in the foundation of mastering the language.
There are several ways chatbots can be used.
First, as a conversation partner. The mechanics are all the same as in regular chatbots except there is additional attention to the content of an input — the way sentences are composed, words are used and nature of the mistakes. This information can help users to correct themselves on the fly and improve their understanding of the language. Chatbots can work as a language coaches with a specific set of tasks for the user and also as straightforward conversation partner.
Second, chatbot as an interactive dictionary. Technically, dictionary bot is the same as a Q&A bot but it is specifically designed for search and delivery in an immense merged database of words and meanings. The bot needs to understand requests for words, direct and indirect. It also needs a connection to a grid of keywords regarding parts of the speech and thematic nature of the words. Overall, fixing a database is probably a bigger challenge than to set up a chatbot.
Chatbots as news source
While using chatbots to get fresh news on a particular subject may seem as the new level of laziness, it is far more interesting than it seems. It is slightly different way of delivering news than a regular subscription or website visit. At the moment, such news giants as CNN and Wall Street Journal are trying out this model and it seems like the rest will soon follow.
Basically, it is a specific notification feed in your messenger that delivers certain kinds of messages according to the parameters of the subscriptions. In fact, there is not much of a chatbot machinery involved in the process — just a set of responses with a delivery of search results according to the request. As such, it is far more effective method of delivering news than regular email subscription.
Chatbots are all the rage right now. There are so many interesting developments it is hard to keep track of all of them. Either way, it is all for the good of the business.
All of them are designed, to a certain extent, to do one thing — refine user experience and improve customer service. And it is fascinating to observe what will come next.
Cheryl is a content crafter at TheAppSolutions. She is a professional blogger, social media enthusiast and creates many articles on business and marketing. She loves to learn and to share her knowledge with the readers. When she isn’t working she likes to learn French, watch french comedies or reread “Little Prince”. You can contact her on Facebook and Twitter