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Chatbot – what is it and how do they support businesses?

Even years ago, new trends in internet marketing were infographics and video content. Recently, however, a new player has appeared on the market: chatbots.
What exactly are they? Why do people interact with them and what benefits can you get from putting them in business? This you will learn from this article.

Chatbot – what is it?

One definition gives:
A computer program designed to simulate conversations with human users, often over the Internet.

Chatbots have been around for many years. The first of them was created in 1966 under the name ELIZA. He was supposed to parody the behavior of the psychoanalyst, who mocked the patient, often repeating his statements in the form of questions. However, only recently have companies started to pay attention to the business benefits of their use. The real merit for popularizing chatbots, however, should be attributed to Facebook, which allowed them to be integrated with their messenger.

Depending on how the individual chatbots have been programmed, we can divide them into two main groups:

Simple chatbots
They operate on the basis of a previously prepared set of keywords that they are able to understand. Each chatbot reaction to a particular query must be designed separately by the programmer. If the user asks a question without using one of the known keywords, the robot will not understand the query and will usually respond with a “sorry, I don’t understand” message.

Advanced chatbots
Self-learning algorithms were used in their design. Instead of using pre-prepared answers, chatbot creates them on an ongoing basis, based on flexible rules and their knowledge. All customer queries are saved for later processing. Nevertheless, in this case artificial intelligence does not work perfectly, and preparing such a chatbot requires a lot of work. It must be admitted, however, that great progress has been made in this area. The proof is the world famous voice conversation of the Google machine with people who wanted to reserve a place at the hairdresser. It perfectly imitated even momentary reflection in the style of “mmmmm” or “eeee”. People were convinced that they were talking to another person. She definitely passed the Turing test.

What encourages users to interact with chatbots?

According to one study, the main factors are:
Productivity – chatbots provide quick and effective help and access to information.
Entertainment – chatbots entertain people by giving them funny tips, and help to pass time when users have no classes.
Social and relational factors – talking to bots gives some people the chance to talk without being judged and helps work on conversation skills.
Curiosity – many people are interested in the very idea of “talking programs”, which encourages them to interact with them.

Let’s move on to how chatbots can help your business grow:

Answering questions
The simplest and most popular chatbot application is to make it an interactive FAQ. Chatbot filled with answers to individual questions will be particularly useful in situations where customers use a particular jargon. He will be able to answer the most common questions, leaving the employee service for really demanding cases.

The introduction of a chatbot will also help you improve your visibility on social media. It is difficult to make the customer service team be able to answer any query on the platforms on which you are present. Even if you succeeded, it would be rather time consuming and, consequently, expensive. Chatbot, in turn, can be active 24/7. This will not only save employee time, but also maintain better communication with customers and improve statistics related to reply rate.

Reduction of operating costs
Service and contact with clients (current and potential) takes time and generates costs. However, according to Paraphrase-Online.com research, implementing virtual advisors or chatbots helps reduce customer service costs by up to 30%.
Of course, such solutions will not completely replace people. Chatbots will successfully deal with simple and repetitive tasks, so that employees can be assigned to more complicated jobs.

Collecting and analyzing consumer data
Your chatbot is a great tool with which you can collect customer information. If you don’t really have a specific reason for doing so, you won’t be willing to complete the survey. Chatbot approaches feedback collection in a gentler and natural way by entering relevant questions during the conversation.
Additionally, thanks to the use of machine learning algorithms, your chatbot can analyze opinions and other information that it collects from users. This will give you better insight into what they really want. It will also help you improve your marketing strategy to focus more on your needs.

Personalized customer contact
Customers don’t always know what to do to find information that interests them. In fact, they may not even know what they are interested in. Maybe they just heard about your brand and decided to take a closer look.

Therefore, chatbots integrate with social media, collecting data about each person with whom they interact. When a user enters a specific query, chatbot can respond by offering personalized advice based on purchase history and customer preferences.

Even if chatbot does not use such a solution, it can get to know the potential customer better with a series of questions.

Streamlining the payment process
Advanced chatbots use features that allow them to make payments. Customers can pay for their products without leaving the chat interface. Bots that store the payment details of regular customers significantly improve the ordering process for subsequent products.

Summary

Chatbots are undoubtedly a useful tool in business and their popularity will grow. They help to meet recipients, adjust marketing activities, reach new consumers and save employees time. It’s definitely worth using their options as soon as possible. Chatbots currently support businesses, but in the near future it may turn out that … they will be businesses themselves. An example is the movie “Her”, where the hero enters into a conversation and is connected with an advanced algorithm (woman’s voice) managed by a company that was established to provide satisfying, platonic relationships in a world in which interpersonal relations were qualitatively getting worse . Sounds familiar? Ha! Maybe the demand for such a service is just around the corner.

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