What Is A Chatbot?
A chatbot is a computer program that simulates and processes human conversation, allowing humans to interact with digital devices as if they were communicating with a real person.
They're conversations that take place with humans and human-programmed apps.
Chatbots have lots going for them, currently and in the future. They're relatively easy to create, cost very little to maintain, and add scores of positivity to one's business.
They also result in customers that favor technology having better access to services that have it, producing more revenue for them. The presence and usage of chatbots will increase in the coming years, both on mobile and PC applications.
As of now, they're most often found on PC and mobile websites. It's not the same as talking to a human but can serve up similar conversations to one. To an untrained eye without much knowledge of chatbots or their existence, they may even be fooled into thinking their conversation is with a real human.
Make no mistake, chatbots are built by developers. At times, they might even be controlled by developers while interacting with human users.
They are programmable to perform numerous types of tasks, which include giving answers to inquiries that customers have, dishing out relevant information about various products when customers need the scheduling appointments for patients and hospitals and clinics, and even making deliveries to people's addresses. Most are capable of being integrated into platforms tasked with messaging systems.
Mobile applications are popular for this. When a customer has a question on the messaging app they're using, a chatbot can give them answers about what they would like to know. Social media networks have also gotten around to implementing chatbots as features, particularly in their help pages.
For instance, someone that has a question on a social media site could ask a chatbot about its navigation, all without speaking to a human.
They're even become used in banking applications. While most banks still maintain humans on the other end for customers to contact, General questions that are frequently asked are capable of being handled, sometimes faster than what representatives of the company can do.
Other websites on the general internet have begun taking an interest in using chatbots. A chatbot could guide a potential customer to a specific page they're looking at for research.
Some students even use them as research assistance, especially those built for machine learning. Overall, they're great for giving people online better user experiences.
The kinds of programming languages that chatbots can be built on are numerous and so are the tools. They're deployable on multiple platforms also, like desktops, smartphones, and tablets. While not all of them are, chatbots have become increasingly automated. Many still are reliant on some form of assistance from humans.
In this case, it tends to be from very complex issues. Advances with chatbots are happening almost monthly, which is why so many industries have begun using them. Here's a list of the most popular industries for chatbots at the moment:
- E-commerce - E-commerce is a service that allows customers to buy goods, typically of the retained variety. Many websites specializing in e-commerce rely on chatbots to lower the costs and workload of people that handle inquiries, which could arise anytime someone is on the site. This, in turn, speeds up the time it takes for a customer to make a successful sale, possibly generating more profit for the business in the process.
- General customer service - General customer service applies to any site where customers need to get in touch with a company for any reason. As mentioned banking apps use them but so do some government agencies, hospitals, clinics, search engines, and gaming websites.
- Healthcare - The healthcare industry is also a common place for chatbots, with forecasts for them to increase. It's due to chatbots being a more private way for people to voice concerns about their health without immediately disclosing what's wrong with physicians they don't know.
- Finance - Aside from banking applications, financial organizations have found that chatbots can cut their costs by delegating some of the duties of customer service representatives to the applications. Sites that sell, trade, and barter stocks and cryptocurrencies use them, even for the guests on the site to control. Escrow sites have chatbots made to assist customers with crypto trades and exchanges.
When it comes to smartphones, chatbots are their most popular. More people than ever are working, communicating, and buying items with smartphones, with its advantage given to companies willing to automate some of their web processes.
Chatbots on smartphones have become integrated into some of the most popular applications in the world, like WhatsApp, WeChat, and Line.
When users go on these apps with their mobile phones, they have the option of making interactions with a chatbot that has language queries. This means the chatbots they deploy have been configured to make responses to questions using information that's relevant, even when a follow-up question is asked.
The biggest benefit of mobile chatbots is their availability to smartphone users. They can link up with their 24 hours a day, every day.
So long as there's a personal device with a web connection and accounts, they're in line for getting all the information they want about what the site offers. Because of this, users can finish up tasks they're doing with ease and speed, all with no dependence on real assistance from human representatives.
Chatbots for smartphone devices are also good for giving out personalized recommendations. They might be predicated on a user's browsing history and past interactions they've had with the widget.
It's great for improving customer service, which can reinforce better relations with customers overall. Most are built by devs using the same programming languages used for chatbots on PC devices. They've become a lifeline for some companies due to the convenience they give.
Why Were Chatbots Created?
Chatbots were built to give companies a way to interact with customers that's more cost-effective. Below are reasons why chatbots were made:
- The ability to scale up - The need for customer service expands as businesses do the same. Most customer service methods that are traditional, like making phone calls and emails, are slower and less efficient, especially when dealing with a huge amount of calls and messages from people. Chatbots fill up by handling these customer interactions, lowering the workload for companies and the need for lots of sales representatives.
- Is very cost-effective - Taking on customer service reps can be expensive for companies, whereas chatbots are capable of being made and used at a significantly reduced price. On top of the lowered costs, they can deal with larger volumes of people than a human representative can. For all these reasons, chatbots are a sought-after solution for companies, both large and small.
- Always available - Customer representatives have a limited number of hours they can work every day. Some companies provide their niche of services to people every day regardless of what time or day it is. Then some companies operate in different countries. Since all nations are variable time codes, people that have questions for them are plenty, coming in at all hours of the day and night. Email inquiries can be a daunting task to manage, especially for organizations running tight shifts. Chatbots are fill-ins for when employers aren't able to work or when a company is closed. There are restaurants with delivery services online that run with chatbots. They take down orders for people when the business isn't open, where a delivery driver can later take the food to the customer's location or wait on them to pick it up from the store.
- Routine can be automated - Most places where people work in the world have routine tasks. It's how unskilled workers can begin to hone the abilities needed by their employers. While it might not take long for employees to do this, a chatbot can do things like answer questions that are commonly sent to representatives online, send out product information as soon as customers arrive on a particular site, book rooms for upcoming guests, plan a vacation, and schedule appointments for one's dental checkup. All of these are examples of chatbots filling up space for workers and their employers. Workers can then focus on things that are more complex while narrowing the number of them needed to be hired for some tasks.
- Advancements in technology - Chatbots have no issues handling numerous repetitive routines and tasks, filling out questions as soon as they're asked, or pasting out service information to thousands of people at the same time. This is a technological advantage. Others are machine learning and language processing. This enables them to understand follow-up questions and better decipher languages based on phrases, including those which require nuance to fully understand. This feat is made possible by natural language queries, boosting the number of responses with higher levels of accuracy.
By and large, chatbots were built to add efficiency in areas where humans lack it or areas where costs can potentially be reduced. It's highly convenient for customers, workers, and businesses as a whole. Technology is expanding rapidly to become even more reliable, which could see the primary way that enterprises connect with people.
Why Are Chatbots Important?
Chatbots are important as they better the experiences of customers, save money, and are capable of being scaled up over time.
They're also important for the data they give to companies, possibly opening up a new way for organizations to reach people for surveys and other questions about the company and how they do business.
It's become common for chatbots to ask guests for ratings on services given by individuals' employers, or questions related to what they like about the companies they choose for purchasing items and using.
Their level of importance has even raised their usage in other countries around the world. No longer are chatbots a thing seen only with American and European organizations.
Importance also translates to chatbots now being in multiple languages. Companies in the travel industry stand to gain much for having chatbots able to communicate with their customers that speak different languages other than that of their host country.
Now they can make room bookings knowing what they're getting instead of being forced to rely on third-party translators to translate a site.
Why Are Chatbots So Popular?
Due to their ability to reach customers at any time, their increased reliability, and app integration, chatbots have become more popular than at any other time in web history.
Some of the improvements were made out of necessity, most notably from the COVID-19 pandemic. When lockdowns were at their highest peak, people were limited in the areas where they could shop. This caused many to look towards online shopping, even for simple food items. It has also resulted in a shift to remote work, all while raising the demand for chatbots to help out.
To prevent companies from getting swamped with too many orders, questions, and concerns simultaneously, chatbots filled in where employees couldn't.
This causes considerable interest in chatbots. More customers enjoy interaction with them, just as long as the experiences they give are worthwhile, fast, and maintain identical reliability to that of an agency or sales representative.
Smartphones have also raised the need for chatbots. Mobile phones are used now, with more people owning them than even personal computers.
They're the primary way millions throughout the world get on the internet, check their emails, and even handle business inquiries with their customers.
In many areas, the majority of chatbots communicate with people on smartphones. The tablets are the same.
Chatbots are text-friendly by design and can give information to people the same way a close friend would, or even someone working through live chat. Chatbots are even beginning to replace live chat, with fewer call centers needed from its expanding notoriety.