The rise in the popularity of the chatbot is a thing of excitement in the tech community. It wasn’t exactly on the radar for this long standing artificial intelligence to see such a surge in interest, but with new and promising developments in its capabilities programmers and businesses alike are seeing how valuable this technology can be.
From individualized customer service on a scale that would be impossible otherwise to digital assistants that act as effectively as personal assistants do, chatbots are poised to become an integral part of our personal and professional lives much like Capps and websites are now.
Fear for Jobs
It stands to reason that with the rise of the chatbot comes some apprehension about the implications of this artificial intelligence coming to dominate the market. If trends are to be believed then soon enough chatbots will overtake apps in popularity, and as companies large and small clamor to develop their own chatbots, people are beginning to worry that it won’t be long before this more cost effective and efficient form of technology replaces humans at work altogether.
Why not bots?
As a cheaper, faster, more efficient, alternative to humans it isn’t hard to see a chatbot’s appeal. They don’t require a salary and can be programmed to always act ethically and appropriately. Consumers can easily interface with them and they are able to answer all queries in a knowledgeable manner and will do so even more effectively as their command of language patterns and intent is improved upon. Businesses will be able to use chatbots to communicate, upsell, suggest, and guide users throughout the purchase process.
No need for cashiers anymore?
Service providers will be able to program chatbots to aid in selections and schedule user’s appointments. The possibilities of integrating this technology to the benefit of any business will be close to boundless. So, it stands to reason that customer service jobs will undergo a transition from being done by humans to being automated and handled by chatbots. The need for cashiers and servers in retail industries will decrease as consumers are offered the option to order and pay for their goods via text message and then have it delivered or pick up the order themselves at their convenience.
No need to panic
Though the advent of chatbots will undoubtedly replace some jobs now done by humans the fact that they will also vastly increase the reach of the companies that use them is sure to mean new job opportunities for people. Without the physical human manpower in place to solve problems, troubleshoot technology, serve the customer, produce the products, perform the services, and maintain a standard the quality of service will suffer and eventually business will too. It’s this fact that will ensure that artificial intelligence can never truly replicate or replace the human touch.
The popularity of chatbots comes as no surprise to programmers and the reason for it is no mystery to them either. The technology is equally beneficial to developers and users because of its ability to process interpret and remember information. Developers get to learn and analyze user data while users get personalized results and feedback. Bots are an interactive and ever evolving form of artificial intelligence whose potential is limited only by the developer’s imagination and the amount of access the bot is permitted to have to its user’s information.
It’s easier to chat than to surf
In addition to their vast and varied potential to assist, chatbots are extremely easy to use. Unlike apps and websites, users don’t need to navigate through pages or sift through search results to get a chatbot to find what they’re looking for, they only need to speak to a virtual assistant bot or text a messenger bot. This convenience, safety, and simplicity of easy interaction is something apps and websites won’t ever be able to replicate or compete with.
Reach more people for less money
Brands and businesses large and small are eager to capitalize on chatbot technology because of its far-reaching capabilities. Chatbots are a unique way to guide a user through the purchase process with a personalized, interactive, enjoyable experience. They can also speak to lots of users at once, outpacing their human counterparts and so reaching more people while giving each user a distinct, personalized, and effective experience. Chatbots expand the reach of the companies that use them to numbers never before possible by making it possible to interact with each user who talks to the bot, and does so efficiently and in a cost-effective way.
Chatbots are the future
As bots continue to evolve and learn to fully understand language and intent they will become even more capable and productive. Through their convenience, cost effectiveness, and the benefits and simplicity of their use, Chatbots could conceivably not only become preferable to apps and websites, they could end up replacing both platforms altogether.
Any brand or business using chatbots in their most basic form isn’t using the talkative form of artificial intelligence to its fullest or most effective potential. Chatbots can do a lot more than send a text or read an email aloud. They are more than local weather reports or convenient news updates. They have come very far in recent years and can now offer the user an immersive and personalized experience that has the potential to guide the consumer throughout the purchase process for a variety of products and services.
Businesses and brands with a clear vision of the needs of their customers and users can get creative with the build of their chatbot assistants and develop them to be a real help to the users they serve. When considering how to make a bot as effective as possible it’s important to know the incredible ways digital assistant chatbot technology is being implemented today.
Assisting through listening
The capabilities of digital assistants are at an all-time high. Bots that were once limited to very simple voice activated tasks are now equipped to provide personalized help to users on new and very user specific levels. Virtual assistants are no longer just capable of running basic web searches and reading off the results or listening to and logging appointment details into a calendar. Now these bots can immerse themselves into the details of our lives via stored information from previous queries and conversations as well as location information they receive from the devices location services. They can then take this data to give more accurate, detailed, and helpful responses to the tasks we ask of them. The more an assistant chatbot is able to learn from its user the more it will be able to aid the user and the less effort the user will have to put forth to get the bot’s help. It will be able to anticipate many of the users’ needs and requests automatically by assessing patterns in the data it collects.
Putting information to action
Though many users only see their digital assistance as a way to use their devices handsfree, soon it will be clear how much more this technology can do beyond weather forecasts and flight schedules. Today’s digital assistants can open music apps and go to specific stations, songs, or genres. They can keep users on schedule by suggesting departure times based on daily routines and their assessment of traffic conditions on regularly taken routes. They can also update users who search for specific flights on flight delays, departure times, expected weather conditions, and other trends in travel at the time of a trip. The digital assistant is quickly becoming the digital personal assistant, learning user preferences and assisting user needs on an individual level.
Chatbots are equally useful to a variety of businesses because of their versatility and the ease of creating them. With all the programs and resources available – many free of charge – for bot building anyone with or without programming knowledge can make a chatbot to fulfill whatever task their site or profile needs. Still, even with the aid of expert software, the process can be daunting and knowing where to start can be difficult. The easiest thing to do to begin is to establish the design principles of the project and go from there.
What basic principles should be considered?
Design principles are a set of rules that developers put in place at the start of their build which they adhere to throughout the project to guide and focus their objectives. Knowing the design principles of a project is a great way to keep track of goals and make sure they’re met.
Beginners and professionals can follow these project specific rules to successfully create a well-developed and efficient chatbot user interface. Design principles can also be brand or business specific to help make sure the project’s end result reflects the brand’s image well.
Design principles help to clarify the goal of the project and in turn make those goals easier to achieve. If the design principles are considered throughout the design process they can make any dilemmas or decisions that arise during the build easier to navigate. The following are some basic design principles that can be helpful when developing a chatbot:
Keep it simple – Users usually don’t want too much interaction, just enough to get the help or clarification they need.
Remember it’s a chatbot – Your bot should have a personality but it shouldn’t try or be expected to mimic human behavior. People know they’re interfacing with AI and will appreciate the experience more if they know they’re dealing with a bot but that human support is needed if necessary.
Keep the platform in mind – Design your chatbot to be compatible with and take advantage of the most popular assets of whatever platform it’s built for. If it’s a messaging platform be sure to include the use of pictures, videos, gifs, and emojis. Social media bots should be programmed to post content that users will find engaging. Whatever use your chatbot is put to its important to maximize its effectiveness by incorporating relatable features.
Streamline the experience – A bot should be programmed to deal with a variety of user queries, but at the core of its design should be a streamlined and efficient approach to all interactions. Having a basic set of principles in place makes the bot’s behavior more reliable and also benefits the information it gives and gathers.
Chatbots are specifically designed to carry out conversations with users while simultaneously collecting information it can then use to create more detailed and specific responses to their queries. In order to allow users to feel comfortable and excited to interact with a chatbot it’s important for a chatbot builder to consider and create a distinct personality for it and to program the bot respond accordingly to whatever it is asked. Choosing the right characteristics for a chatbot’s personality is important, the interactive nature of the bot is its strength.
Although users must know they’re talking to some form of artificial intelligence and not to a human representative, they don’t want to feel as though they are having a run of the mill, overly generic encounter or else they’ll feel the effort is a way of time. The more personable and distinctive a chatbot is designed to be the more enjoyable users will find the experience of interacting with them to be. This will also help them to find the experience memorable and so they will be more likely to use the service again. To create a chatbot with a winning personality keep the following tips in mind during the development stage:
Consider the brand
Since your chatbot will act as a representative for your brand or business, it needs to behave accordingly just as its human counterparts would. When developing a chatbot’s personality it’s important to consider the mission, target customer, and goals of the brand or business that the bot is for to be sure that the end result reflects those characteristics. Your bot can have a friendly helpful disposition, a dry and witty sense of humor, or anything in between, as long as it represents your business or brand image well.
Consider the user
Knowing who is likely to interact with the chatbot is important, since you want users to understand and be understood by the chatbot for it to work most effectively. Age, gender, and intent of the average user should be clear and at the forefront of the minds of the bot’s developers to help in anticipating the kinds of queries the bot will receive and the responses it should give.
Consider the task
Whether offering product options or taking an order for its user a chatbot’s prompts and responses need to pertain to the task at hand. Its personality should also be task oriented in order to help the bot and the user to stay focused on the goal of their interaction.
Because chatbots are a kind of artificial intelligence that can be programmed to effectively communicate with users they are ideal to fit many of the needs of businesses large and small. Chatbots are also very easy to program and develop and no prior knowledge of coding or programming is necessary to create one. Through the development of tools and resources that anyone interested can find and use to create Chatbots that suit their websites or social media profiles it’s now very simple for all businesses to have access to the help of this technology. Whether it’s for answering customer’s questions or gathering and providing information about local weather and local events, a chatbot is only as versatile as its programmed to be. The following is a list of tools that are all anyone needs to program chatbots even with little to no programming experience:
Chatfuel – Specifically designed to allow anyone to create the bots they need without having any coding experience, this program prides itself on being easy to use and on providing advanced features and quick development as well. With a step by step guide that leads its users through the process this service makes creating the right bot for your needs easy. Chatbots created with Chatfuel are compatible with well-known platforms Facebook messenger and Telegram.
Motion.ai – This service is another one that allows users to build without having experience building Chatbots before. It too is compatible with many well-known messaging platforms, but it’s chatbots can also be used with email and SMS texting services as well as web chats and certain apps. It’s user interface is designed to make the process of getting the bots ready for use simple and fast and is completely free of charge up to 100000 messages a month.
Botsify – A popular option for a chatbot builder because of its compatibility with the ever-popular hosting platform WordPress, this service is a great option for beginners because it comes with many different tutorials – including video tutorials, that aid in the building process. It also features quickly evolving marketing and integration options that will make your bots more effective and versatile.
Mindiq – This tool uses no coding at all to provide its bot building services and is innovative in what it makes its bots capable of doing. Users have the option to do cool things like making a bot that delivers a company newsletter through messages in a messaging platform or sending out posts to social medias – including Twitter – via an RSS feed. These posts can be scheduled to be sent out at certain times. This builder also creates bots that are helpful with ecommerce and can be integrated for use with shopping platforms including Shopify.
Bot analytics – Once you’ve built your bot and have it running on your sites and social media profiles, it’s important to be able to monitor how well it’s performing and how effective it is at helping meet the goals of the business. It also gives users the chance to read and reflect on the data the bots collected. This tool allows business owners to evaluate not only their bots and the information they collect but also what customers and visitors found most engaging or were most curious about when interacting with the chatbot.
Chatbots have been around for years, but with new developments in what artificial intelligence can be coded to do new possibilities for their use have made them more relevant now than ever before. In fact, chatbots have quickly become one of the most convenient and preferred ways for large corporations and small businesses alike to communicate with users and potential customers or clients. In our online community where a customizable and personalized experience is key to effective customer service chatbots are able to collect user specific information and are capable of translating that information into data they can then use to create specific product or service suggestions and even to anticipate what the user will like or ask for.
With the ability to code them to complete a vast variety of tasks chatbots are invaluable assets to businesses of any size and can be especially useful in leveling the playing field and helping small businesses compete in ways they wouldn’t have the manpower or resources to otherwise. Here are a few examples of how businesses can use chatbots to their advantage.
They can help manage social media
xThe social media presence of a business or brand is an incredibly important way to connect with new and existing customers and clients, as well as to attract more business from the platform’s users. Most small businesses don’t have the resources to dedicate a full-time effort to recruiting social media likes, follows, or creating content to post that will attract attention. Chatbots can help small businesses get users to engage with their posts and in turn drive traffic to business pages and websites. Chatbots can also encourage site visitors to connect with the businesses social media profiles and alert them to special content and offers on those profiles as well.
They Can Provide Excellent Customer Service
It’s impossible for any business to hire enough people or devote enough hours to providing each person who interacts with their site with a personalized experience. The invention of chatbots and their many different functions has given small businesses and corporations the opportunity to provide personalized and effective customer service to every user, from answering questions that customers may have to creating suggestions to what products and services a user might need based on the information it gets from them a chatbots is an invaluable customer service tool.
They Can Accept Payments and Process Orders
In order to offer customers or clients the options to order products and services online it’s important to have software in place that allows them to safely and securely order and pay for what they want to buy. Chatbots are the ideal solution for this, since they can not only process orders and payment as well as shipping, they can also walk users through the process and interface with them as they go answering any questions or concerns they may have a long the way.