How to Get Started with Chatbots for Your Business
Chatbots are the new trend in the world of business and customer support in particular. More and more companies adopt chatbots for customer service and technical support. This is not surprising as chatbots offer a number of advantages and simplify communication with customers. In this article, we will analyze the phenomenon of chatbots, analyze the technological side of the issue and discuss the most popular chatbot tools.
In case you’re not familiar with chatbots we will explain in a simple language what they are. Chatbots are special programs which are programmed to simulate human conversations with users. They use special algorithms for analyzing the input of end users and produce corresponding responses.
Before we go into detail about the technical specifics, let’s about why chatbots may be a great idea for your company.
Chatbots offer a number of noteworthy advantages:
- 24/7 Availability
- Save human resources, time and costs
- Unlimited capacity
Let’s analyze each of these advantages in detail.
Unlike people, chatbots don’t have to sleep or eat and never get tired. They provide support 24/7, every day of the year. Therefore, you don’t have to hire additional staff for providing technical support in the off hours. Let chatbots do it instead.
Save Human Resources, Time and Costs
Needless to say, chatbots can substitute humans to a significant degree. Therefore, they allow you to save precious time, human resources, and correspondingly – the costs associated with these.
Your human resources have a limited capacity for handling customer requests. Chatbots, however, can handle an almost unlimited number of requests.
The Main Chatbot Technologies
The bottom line is, the purpose of chatbots is simple – to make it seem as if you’re talking to a real human, not a robot. Although one can argue that chatbots have not reached perfection yet, they are constantly improving (heard about machine learning?). They do their job by utilizing a number of principles and technologies:
- Artificial Intelligence
- Machine Learning
- Natural Language Processing
Of course, the actual list of technologies involved is going to be much longer. These are just the main technologies utilized which we’re going to analyze below.
As we’ve said, chatbots are programmed to simulate human conversations. Therefore, they must also be programmed to think and make decisions like humans. This is where Artificial Intelligence comes in. Speech recognition is part of it.
Just like humans, chatbots are able to learn and constantly improve. They utilize special machine learning algorithms for becoming better and smarter with every conversation.
Natural Language Processing
Natural Language Processing (NLP) is part of Artificial Intelligence which focuses on recognizing and processing speech. Based on a bot’s processing of users’ input it generates a corresponding output.
Of course, all chatbots run on special algorithms. Engineers write special sets of code which tell a bot what to do and how to do it.
Now that you know how chatbots work and what technologies they use, let’s about the most popular chatbot tools at the moment.
Most Popular Chatbot Tools
Don’t worry, you don’t have to build a chatbot from scratch. Fortunately, there exist many reliable solutions for that purpose. Here are the most popular tools at the moment:
- Facebook Messenger
Let’s analyze each of these tools in detail below.
When Facebook announced its launch of chatbots for Facebook Messenger, we knew right away the world of chatbots is never going to be the same. It was a true revolution – Facebook made chatbots mainstream. It enabled anyone to design chatbots for its Messenger. Now almost everyone on Facebook got familiar with chatbots and got used to them.
Chatfuel is a chatbot design tool for Facebook Messenger. Its goal is to simplify the process of building Messenger bots. If you’re having trouble building your chatbot directly on Facebook, Chatfuel may be a good alternative.
This is a multi-platform chatbot solution which allows anyone to build bots for the most popular platforms such as Messenger, Kik, Viber, and Telegram.
This tool offers even more supported platforms for building bots: Messenger, SMS, Skype, Slack, Twitter, Kik, and many others. It’s one of the most popular tools at the moment which is used by some of the largest media companies such as BBC and Wall Street Journal.
Chatbots are the future of customer service and technical support. As more and more businesses adopt this technology, staying aside from this trend is no longer an option. They offer serious advantages such as 24/7 availability, practically infinite capacity, and significant savings in time, human resources and costs.
Chatbots utilize artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other technologies for achieving a perfect conversation experience. There exist many suitable tools for building chatbots such as Facebook Messenger, Chatfuel and others. If designed correctly, chatbots can become a powerful tool in your business success.