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Chatbots FAQ

What are chatbots and how do they work?

A chatbot is computer software that simulates interaction or conversation with a human. By using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, a chatbot can hold a relatively engaging conversation with a human and provide customer support. Assuming the chatbot has been programmed for a variety of conversation scenarios and given information that can easily be referenced during the conversation, a human may have difficulty determining the difference between a human and a chatbot.

A chatbot on a website might ask visitors standard questions related to their visit. Depending on the visitors’ replies, the chatbot will then answer the visitors’ questions, lead them to contact a live person, or encourage them to make a purchase. More companies are finding customer support chatbots to be invaluable contributors to increasing revenue.

What are the benefits of a chatbot?

There are multiple benefits of using chatbot technology. Improving customer service is perhaps the greatest driver in using chatbots. Customers sometimes have questions regarding a product or a service. Chatbots can quickly address a great percentage of such questions.

In addition to improving customer service, organizations can realize substantial savings by implementing chatbots rather than paying for a fully staffed rapid-response team round-the-clock..

Chatbots can also improve lead generation, lead qualification, and nurturing of hot leads. This can be done locally, nationally, or on a global basis across multiple countries and languages. Programming chatbots to engage prospects and customers in multiple countries can help any organization establish a global footprint while keeping costs low.

What are the types of chatbots?

There are generally four types of chatbots organizations can deploy to better engage customers and prospects.
  1. Menu- and button-based chatbots. Menu- and button-based chatbots are perhaps the most common type of chatbot used in business today. In essence, these chatbots are enhanced decision-tree hierarchies offered to the user as menus or buttons. This approach is akin to the automated phone menus many of us are familiar with, allowing us to make selections in order to get closer to our objective.
  2. Keyword-recognition-based chatbots. Keyword-recognition-based chatbots are capable of listening to what users type and respond accordingly. With this approach, chatbots use customizable keywords and AI or natural language processing (NLP) to determine how best to respond to the user.
  3. Linguistic-based chatbots. A linguistic-based, or rules-based, chatbot is helpful for organizations if there is an opportunity to predict the types of questions your customers might ask. This type of chatbot uses if/then logic, creating realistic conversational flows ideal for customer support scenarios.

    If you can define the language conditions by assessing words, word order, synonyms, and the like, you can implement a linguistic-based chatbot that matches the conditions it determined in the initial programming. In this way, customers can easily receive the help they need with no human intervention.
  4. Machine learning chatbots. To maximize customer and prospect engagement within proper context, a machine learning chatbot represents the most advanced chatbot available to most companies. Through the use of machine learning and AI, this type of chatbot can remember conversations with users in order to learn and grow over time. Machine learning chatbots are programmed to improve their contextual recognition over time by continually engaging users.

How do you create a chatbot for your website?

With widely available technology, almost anyone can create a chatbot for their website. There are generally two ways to go about creating a chatbot for your website. The first involves selecting a chatbot platform that must integrate into your site. The most popular platforms are Tars, HubSpot, MobileMonkey, Freshchat, Drift, and Tidio. Prices for these platforms will run anywhere from $50 to $500 per month, depending on the features you require.

A second way to create a chatbot for your website is to hire a chatbot development professional who can create a chatbot for you using their programming and development skills or through one of the platforms identified above.

Chatbot experts can be found on sites such as Upwork, where solutions providers offer various levels of expertise at a variety of price points.