Chatbots are software applications that use artificial intelligence & natural language processing to understand what a human wants, and guides them to their desired outcome with as little work for the end user as possible. Like a virtual assistant for your customer experience touchpoints.
A well designed & built chatbot will:
- Use existing conversation data (if available) to understand the type of questions people ask.
- Analyze correct answers to those questions through a ‘training’ period.
- Use machine learning & NLP to learn context, and continually get better at answering those questions in the future.
The adoption of chatbots was accelerated in 2016 when Facebook opened up its developer platform and showed the world what is possible with chatbots through their Messenger app. Google also got in the game soon after with Google Assistant. Since then there have been a tremendous amount of chatbot apps built on websites, in applications, on social media, for customer support, and countless other examples.
Chatbot Technology - How Do They Work?
One of the most interesting parts of the chatbot software space is the variety of ways you can build a chatbot. The underlying technology can vary quite a bit, but it really all comes down to what your goals are. At the highest level, there are three types of chatbots most consumers see today:
- Rules-Based Chatbots – These chatbots follow pre-designed rules, often built using a graphical user interface where a bot builder will design paths using a decision tree.
- AI Chatbots – AI chatbots will automatically learn after an initial training period by a bot developer.
- Live Chat – These bots are primarily used by Sales & Sales Development teams. They can also be used by Customer Support organizations, as live chat is a more simplistic chat option to answer questions in real-time.
What are the Benefits of Chatbots?
Today’s marketing & sales teams are under a lot of pressure to not only show results, but to constantly be improving the customer experience. It’s a big task. Not to mention the ever-increasing expectations of todays consumers (aka, the Amazon effect).
Today, we expect answers immediately and we expect that they will be accurate. This can be done with human beings up to a certain tipping point, then technology has to be the answer. This is why forward-thinking brands have adopted chatbots to help them:
- Increase their website conversion rate – Marketers put a lot of work in to drive traffic to their website, to only have that traffic convert anywhere between 0.25%-1.0%.
- Generate more qualified leads – It would be nice if we could talk to every lead and ensure they’re a good fit before we schedule a meeting. In reality, that’s impossible for most organizations to do at scale. Bots can help use advanced qualification logic to do lead qualification and improve sales acceleration.
- Combat Customer Churn – Bots are a perfect answer to high-volume support inquiries, especially where customers become frustrated with standard knowledge bases that are hard to sift through.
Why are Chatbots Important?
There’s no denying the hype that’s been surrounding automated chatbots over the past few years. Whether you view the technology as a passing fad, or believe that chat bots will revolutionize how people communicate and interact, the impact chatbots are having on online experiences is real…and it’s measurable.
To help shed light on how chatbots are reshaping online experiences today, the teams at Drift, SurveyMonkey Audience, Salesforce, and myclever have come together to create a data-backed report based on a survey of 1,000+ adults.
How to Create A Chatbot
Getting started with chatbots can feel a bit intimidating at first. The strategy, the tools, the technology, the process, the reporting – the list goes on.
Luckily, our team put together a handy guide on the bot creation process to help you go from amateur to expert.
The Ultimate Chatbot Example Library
Our team have assembled the ultimate library of chatbots. Take a look at our chatbot examples library, where you can browse the variety of chatbot styles & approaches. You’ll see examples from B2B, B2C and everything in between.
Looking for more resources?
Check out the 2020 State of Conversational Marketing report for more metrics, trends, and best practices to help you get started.
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