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Chatbots: a Comprehensive Beginner’s Guide

Chatbots are actively taking over the social media space, e-commerce platforms and even corporate websites. Just like any “next big thing,” the chatbots matter raises dozens of questions to be answered. In this article, we’ll have a closer look at what chatbots are, whether they are useful for digital businesses and how to make best of them if you’re grimly determined to use one. Check out Skelia’s chatbots guide below.

What are Chatbots?

Chatbots GuideThe chatbots concept was brought to life to conduct conversations with online users using divergent textual methods instead of humans. As a software program, a chatbot consists of a defined set of rules that would trigger programmed sequences, one after another, when certain conditions are met. Sometimes chatbots are driven by Artificial Intelligence (AI). We’ll discuss this kind of superpowered chatting apps later.

Chatbots interact with real users via chat in different messaging programs (the most popular are Facebook Messenger chatbots), moving the conversation about your product or service towards the selling point. With a thoroughly “trained” chatbot, you can determine how users communicate with your brand. Moreover, chatbots are perfectly suited for mobile which makes their usage even more cross-functional. Being in step with messaging, chatbots have already become an integral part of a mobile experience.

An explosive growth in the popularity of chatbots is directly proportional to the massive popularity of social media messengers that are becoming increasingly more used for business communication purposes. The area of chatbots application is a fruitful ground for almost any business. With a properly developed and fine-tuned bot, you can really take communication with customers to the next level on social media.

Artificially Intelligent or AI Chatbots

AI ChatbotsImagine that chatbots are robots of the digital realm and artificial intelligence is their brains that allow chatbots to replace humans in business conversations online. It’s artificial intelligence that gives chatbots a ticket to the upper caste of today’s advanced business technologies.

AI chatbots are self-trained, so they are able to grow dictionaries according to the information they receive from interacting with customers. Tech businesses don’t spare thousands of dollars to improve the combination of machine learning and pattern recognition, making their AI bots more intelligent and better trained. This means they would keep on getting smarter with time to serve business in due course.

So, how do these smart chatbots talk to us? AI chatbots use each conversation they hold to learn more word combinations and improve responses. Powered by artificial intelligence, they can react differently to thousands of possible answers. Such bots can come up with suggestions, deny or approve speculations, help a user make a choice. The more humans talk to bots, the smarter they get, pursuing an ultimate goal to understand entered text queries just like humans do.

Application of Chatbots for Business Purposes

Chatbots GuideMirroring the behavior of a subject matter expert with level 80 sales skills, chatbots can be applied to endless business fields. Almost everything that is offered on the Internet can be offered by a chatbot: ordering sushi, scheduling a doctor’s appointment, booking a hotel room or checking the weather forecast and many other selling or buying activities.

What are chatbots in terms of global business? Here’s a simple but striking figure: 33,000 developers had written 34,000 chatbots for Facebook Messenger (this was disclosed by David Marcus, Facebook’s Vice President of messaging on Web Summit 2016). Market predictions indicate that the number of corporate chatbots will keep increasing and changing how people interact with brands on the Internet at a larger scale.

Here are several examples of trending spheres for chatbot apps:

  • Language learning platforms and services offering smart virtual language tutors and language practice on the go.
  • Time tracking and planning software with scheduling chatbots keeping an eye on all the user’s activities, offering a tailored timetable for busy users.
  • Fitness apps where a bot can track training efforts through messenger conversations.
  • Retail industry interested in personal shopping assistant bots simplifying the buying process and offering completely new shopping experience.
  • Tourism or traveling industries where flight searching and flight tracking chatbots allow to find the best tickets first and then to check on flight information, status or departure/arrival time.

This is just a brief overview of chatbots application popular with users that shows the variety of industries and fields where this technology can be successfully used.

Conclusion

As we’ve discussed in our chatbots guide, even though for many people chatbots still sound like something from the future, they are already present on the software development market and are probably here to stay. With almost infinite but quite unpredictable and underinvestigated opportunities of AI, intellectual chatbots are still a bit of a shadowland but they offer plenty business advantages.