3-Minute Guide to Understanding “What Is a Chatbot?”
Find out what an AI chatbot is and explore the different types and the benefits of them.
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What Is a Chatbot?
Artificial Intelligence is the face of modern-day technology and chatbot is one of its beautiful features. With business getting tech-oriented, conversational AI is the key for better customer interaction and corporate communication. Before getting into the complete wave of this subject, we must first understand what is a chatbot.
A chatbot is a basically a computer programme designed for the verbal/non-verbal interaction with the human through online medium to solve their queries and doubts. Businesses are using ai chatbots to reduce the cost involved in hiring customer support executives. The virtual chatbot is quicker and more appropriate than manual chat help.
Now, when we move a layer deeper, we need to answer another significant question;
What Is a Bot in Computer Terms?
A bot is a simple and tiny computer app developed to perform certain tasks that need to completed in the same manner over and again. While a human is more prone to make errors in accomplishing these tasks, a bot provides almost 100 percent accuracy and is way faster than manual methods.
Chatbots are almost 4 decades old and are being used in a plain fashion since then. But the needed revolution hit them when Artificial Intelligence came into the picture. AI opened the doors of their growth and made them the most needed thing in the online commercial sector. It has led them to a completely new dimension and has given whole new meaning to their existence. They are now not just a random computer program but have become a system that may overtake the business of mobile and web apps in the coming future.
Now, when we are done with what is a chatbot, we must understand about the AI chatbots. They are smart, interactive, user-friendly and can be used for an array of business purposes. While the chatbot was just limited to simple human interaction, they are smart. They learn from the customer behavior, and inbuilt algorithms push them to make smarter decision and moves in favor of business and in accordance with the need/query of the customer.
Types of AI Chatbots
There are basically 3 types of Artificial Intelligence chatbots and to understand their significance, we must know about them.
- Menu based Chatbots: They are categorized as the most common kind of Chatbots. They work based on the hierarchy tree structure and want several inputs from the user to get the desired answer. Virtual chatbots represent button including menu and even submenu based on the parent menu selected by the user. They work fine for the basic questions asked but could not be preferred for the reasoning or logical questions.
- Keyword Based Chatbots: They read the question put by the user and captures the main keywords placed in it. They are smarter than menu-based ones and try to answer the queries more appropriately. For example, if the user asked the question, "How to create a new account," then the keyword-based virtual chatbots capture ‘How,’ ‘Create,’ and ‘New Account,’ and it will check with the data source and fetch ‘create account’ information and push it to the user in an ideal format. However, these conversations AI chatbots have their own limitation and often get stuck where keywords are same in different questions. Therefore, they could not be used for all the purposes.
- Contextual Chatbots: They are considered as the smartest and the most logical virtual chatbots. These chatbots are fed by the combination of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. They learn a lot and captures the behavior of the user. What question users are asking and how they are doing it, they keep a record of everything and accordingly, suggest the answer. They only get better with time and experience. They may not work ideal initially but as they learn, these virtual chatbots become far better than menu-based chatbots and keywords based chatbots put together. For example, if you are diabetic patient and order for sugar-free sweets. In such a case, conversational AI chatbots will learn that you order sugar free things and will even capture your address. Thus, the next time you order anything sweet, they will come up with the suggestion, "Do you want it sugar-free and at ‘so and so’ address?" You need to just respond with a yes to get the order done.
Examples of AI Chatbots
There are various examples of Artificial Intelligence chatbots, but here, we have listed the ones that make a direct impact on our day-to-day lives.
- Weather bot: It helps you in getting an instant update about the weather in your city or of any location around the world.
- Grocery Bot: Are you running out of the grocery items? These bots can help in ordering grocery items.
- News Bot: Do you want to remain connected with the world? Ask newsbot, it will help you with the latest update on the topic of your choice or significant things happening around the world.
- Life Advice Bots: Are you stuck with daily-life problems? It can help you in finding a probable solution to the problem.
- Personal Finance Bot: It manages your money in an ideal and a progressive way.
- Scheduling Bot: It can book an important appointment for you be it online or offline.
- Bot Friend: Yes! It can be your friend too. Xiaoice, a Chinese bot, talks to millions of people every day.
Benefits of Artificial Intelligence Chatbot
There are countless benefits that conversational AI and other bots can offer, but here, we have listed some of the greater ones:
- Client Retention – It seems ages to the customers when they must wait for the customer care executive to solve their queries. With the emergence of the virtual chatbot, the long wait is all gone, and they can now get an immediate response to their queries. This results in sticking to the brand and being loyal to it.
- Greater Sales – Virtual bots cover the opportunity marks left by the visitors over a website or on an application. They to complete insight analysis of a user visit and based on that it creates an offer for him, which can appeal and convert him into a customer.
- Cost Reduction – AI chatbot has resulted in reducing the marketing cost, promotion cost and support cost of the businesses. They can do all these tasks without much manual help and can also take the decision on its own, which even saves the time.
- Accuracy – Businesses have faced a lot of problems because of sharing inaccurate or improper information. Conversational AI ensures accurate and proper flow of information. These bots are intelligent enough to make a wise decision that can land in favor of the company.
Future of AI Chatbots
We have talked about what is a chatbot, its benefits, and examples, but let's discuss the future of AI chatbots. If we go by the market trend, they are going to be the biggest thing in the future and surpass the success of mobile phones and applications put together. Let’s have a look at the three most probable things that would be a part of the future of AI chatbots:
- A bot will be an Integral Part of Every Business — The messaging apps are going at an overwhelming rate. They have taken over the Facebook in terms of usage. They have become most trusted, convenient and user-friendly form of communication. Therefore, businesses are bringing these messaging apps for day-to-day communication with their customers. But, is it possible for a human to sit all day and interact with customers? And, imagine the cost and resources it will incur. The bot can do that on behalf of human but more accurately, immensely faster and in better context. Thus, in future – business could not survive without virtual chatbots.
- Bots Will be in Place of Websites and Apps — Virtual Chatbots, without any doubt, is doing a phenomenal job and are helping the businesses in some of the other way. However, they are not much smart to represent a business on their own but in future, they are intended to be the one-stop solution for the business. This will put an end to the need of websites and mobile. How? Let’s have a look at these scenarios:
It takes minimum 30 seconds to load a website and there are certain manual inputs required in order to perform any action. But the bots would not require much human input and will provide instant result based on the minimum or no input from customer’s end. Therefore, people will prefer bots over websites to interact with businesses.
In the case of applications, you require to download it, you need to access it and it also captures space on your gadget. But conversational AI won’t require any such thing. Just shoot a text message and the bots would be ready to provide you the solutions. This way, it will also capture the apps market too.
Bots will be Better than Any Other Technology — Websites and applications have user-interface as a medium through users can interact. But it requires a level of intelligence to understand the flow of a website or an app and to perform the needed action. Since each website/app is different. Thus, you need to learn new technology or method to interact with different websites/apps. Bots do not require any such expertise or intelligence. It works on the very basic form of human intelligence, which is language. Thus, anybody can comfortably interact with it and get the work done quickly. In addition, bots also learn from the way we act, ask questions and things we prefer. Thus, in future, they would be able to remind us most of the things and would do most of the things (if given permission) on their own. There could be no technology that can surpass such technical proficiency.
Which Chatbot Is Right for You?
Artificial Intelligence comes with a wider spectrum of technologies and tools that can be used to develop a Chatbot. Some technologies might appear more appropriate than others for certain use cases. A combination of different AI Forms such as Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, and Semantics Understanding can drive the desired results for your requirements.
Published at DZone with permission of Sourabh Nagar. See the original article here.
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