You may not be aware of this, but you have probably already communicated with a chatbot. You may have even heard about them recently from your friends or the newspapers. But, what are chatbots and where on earth have they come from?
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A chatbot is, in essence, a piece of robotic software used to imitate human conversation through text chats and voice commands (a good example being Siri or Amazon Alexa). Chatbots have actually been around for a long time and they are already used in various industries and businesses to deliver information or perform very basic tasks, such as making hotel reservations or telling you about the weather.
Chatbots are now using artificial intelligence and natural language processing to improve and learn from past occurrences. This is known as machine learning and it can be used to create algorithms from which chatbots provide responses, whilst natural language processing can be used to learn the ins and outs of speaking like a human.
A chatbot takes the information you give it and translates into some other information using these complex algorithms. It analyses the data contextually and uses it to deliver spoken or written results. With machine learning, chatbot discovers new data patterns in areas it has provided help before. It can use this data pattern in comparison to other data patterns and ‘learn’ from it.
These machine learning occurrences consist of different means of analysing and learning from data. It is super advanced and very complicated, that’s for sure!
Chatbots got a lot smarter as we started to make more advancements in artificial intelligence technology alongside the massive growth in social messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger.
With this, they are becoming increasingly popular among businesses with an online presence who want to create a better customer experience. Chatbots are becoming increasingly relevant in many major industries and although they have already been around for decades, new advancements in machine learning have made them more useful and viable for businesses.
The developments made in natural language processing mimic human speech patterns and help improve human-to-computer interaction, which creates an environment that is more beneficial and useful.
Uses of Chatbots
Chatbots are extremely valuable for businesses and this value will only increase as time goes by. They are very beneficial and have lots of uses.
For example, because chatbots are available 24 hours per day, seven days per week, and do not require breaks, bereavement, or get tired like human employees, they are much better at performing repetitive and mundane tasks which humans would otherwise need to be paid to do.
Speaking of customer service, bots are invaluable. Waiting on hold may soon be a thing of the past as they become advanced enough to deal with basic level customer service queries, and this is already being used by a lot of companies worldwide. Nordstrom, for example, implemented a chatbot to assist with customer service at the end of 2016, and this has made their technical support much more responsive and immediate. You will never need to wait on hold when a chatbot is handling your customer support query, because it can handle thousands of individual peoples’ problems at once and deliver solutions to these problems, all without breaking a sweat or making a mistake.
Chatbots help companies save money, too. If you are a business, chances are you have a lot of employees who all need to be paid. Not only that, but they get other benefits such as sick pay, holiday pay, and company benefits. All of these costs very quickly add up, especially as your business grows.
In contrast, chatbots are a (cost effective) one time investment which can be used all of the time. They do not need to be paid, they will never get tired, and they will not break. They are foolproof solutions to mundane tasks which can be automated. This way, you save money as you do not need to hire extra employees for your workload.
Do you want to learn more about chatbots, the role they currently play in our world, and some predictions for the future? Check out our infographic below.