What Exactly Is Smart Chatbot Technology?
What exactly is smart chatbot technology?
Nowadays you can order a pizza, book your holiday or receive the latest news, all through Facebook Messenger. And all made possible by Chatbots. But what exactly is a chatbot and how were they developed?
Shifting from apps to chats
App use is declining. Companies and developers produce so many new apps that simply from the enormous number (hundreds of thousands) of available apps, it has become almost impossible to know which ones to pick. The average smartphone user spends up to 84% of their time using just 5 different apps.
On the other hand, the number of messaging app users continues to grow. 97% of smartphone owners uses them on a regular basis. Research indicates that the number of messaging app uders is expected to rise from 1,4 billion people in 2015 to 2 billion in 2018. Businesses are responding by increasingly reaching out to their customers through Facebook Messenger and Telegram.
This shift created a corresponding shift in customer service. The number of channels through which your customers expect to be able to reach your business (and through which you can connect with your customers!) is growing. And with it, customer contact has become faster and more personal. We think all this makes for an interesting combination. These changes were quickly followed by the development of chatbots.
What is a chatbot?
Chatbot, or as it is officially know, chatterbot, is a computer programme which can conduct conversations through sound or text. The bot simulates human reactions in conversation, often with the purpose of providing customer service, information or facilitating sales. The bot uses a language processing system to recognise words. It understands what a customer is asking, eating or buying.
Simple bots allow you to, for example, order stuff online. You enter a command such as ‘order pizza’ and the bot presents you with a number of options. You indicate which one you want, enter your address and pay. This type of bot has a limited functionality, depending on what they are programmed to do.
More intricate bots use artificial intelligence. These bots can make out which words in a sentence are important. They not only understand simple commands, but can process sentences like ‘I would like to order a Hawaiian pizza’ and grow smarter the more they are used. An artificially intelligent bot learns from its conversations.
In many other countries, such as China for example, communicating with a chatbot has become the new norm. Conversations mostly happen through WeChat, a messaging app used in Azië by hundreds of millions of people. The bots they use are a lot smarter than ours. For instance, they can be taught to avoid certain subjects. By using a filter, politically sensitive issues can be kept out of a conversation.
Platforms like Facebook, Slack, Twitter and Google Allo have already introduced integrated bots to help customers with bookings and requests. Bot use is only expected to increase in the nearby future. Especially brands who deal with a lot of similar requests and bookings are expected to switch to chatbots. Using bots saves a lot of time, which also means saving money. Bots also give customer service staff more time to answer less usual questions.