How can your business benefit from bots

Chatbots are considered the next big thing after apps. With businesses going online and communication and engagement becoming a norm, the chatbot is another tool that can be leveraged to grow your business.

If you want to know more about chatbots first, click here.

By 2020, more than 50% of medium and large enterprises are set to use chatbots in their business operations, according to a forecast. The demand for chatbots leads us to examine what they have to offer.

What does a chatbot offer to a business?

Chatbots have a lot to offer to businesses in terms of their applications and use cases. But the essence of it is two-fold.

  1. A chatbot, like any computer program, is faster, less error-prone and can process more than a human can.
  2. Chatbot, being an intelligent system, has an added advantage in its ability to learn, understand and respond to humans.

This lets us delegate tasks to chatbots that we previously couldn’t to leave to computers. So here’s how chatbots help in business.

Specialize bots to perform repetitive tasks:

Bots can perform repetitive tasks quickly and more efficiently than humans can. An obvious statement, but let’s understand better with an example.

Company X provides transportation to all its employees leaving after 8 pm. To avail this, the employee has to mail the support team the time they’re leaving and their address. The support team schedules the cabs on a sharing basis with the other employees heading out in that direction around the same time and responds to the request.

It is a great initiative that encourages working beyond the hours without worrying about the commute. The drawbacks of the system, the correspondence takes time for the employer and the support team has to dedicate time and resources everyday.

A chatbot can be specialized to handle the same, in this case, a support bot. An employee staying late can drop a message to the support bot stating the time they will head out (the support bot can store the previous drops)*. The bot then collates all the incoming data to assign cabs automatically and update the employees. The process now needs bare minimum human intervention, saving time for all the parties involved.

Enhance engagement through a chatbot:

Customer engagement and satisfaction can directly reflect in sales in B2C companies.

Consider an e-commerce app or website, there is provision to search, sort and filter, but it takes time and is not always accurate, especially with the numerous categories, brands and features. A user wants to buy ‘purple running shoes’ and looks for it in the search bar and lands at about a hundred products, that may or may not be purple. The alternative is to look for running shoes and pick the required color in the filter after going through all the filter parameters like brand, size, discount, features, etc.

By using a chatbot, let’s call it a salesbot, the buyer can ask for a specific product, state the requirements and choose from the options narrowed down by the chatbots. The conversation can go as follows:*

Another advantage of having a salesbot, you can make customer engagement that was reactive (due to resource constraint), proactive instead. The salesbot can drop an alert about a price drop if the purchase was not made, a notification if it was out of stock but is now available, or a prompt to look at purple coats.

Let’s go back to the previous example of cab assignment for employees staying late, and make the interaction proactive. The support bot drops a text to the employee staying late and ask when he/she plans to leave and carry out the rest of the process.* The quality of engagement is undeniably higher.

8 ways your business can benefit from a chatbot:

While the above section outlines how chatbots add value to your business, there are several side benefits of integrating chatbots. These benefits are on par with, if not overweighing the value added by chatbots.

1. Availability:

Chatbots can be available 24×7, all 365 days of the year while humans assigned the same task work in shifts and require breaks. Your business can make customer support, helpdesk or a virtual concierge available for your customers at all times.

2. Time-saving:

The ability to parallelly process and complete tasks enable the chatbot to finish the work in a fraction of time that humans require to do the same. A bot can clear them up in hours whereas a human operator would take days if not weeks to complete the task.

3. Capacity:

As mentioned in the above examples, a chatbot can process large volumes of requests or tasks that is humanly impossible or requires a dedicated team to deliver. A salesbot can engage all the buyers online and work to close the sale in each case.

4. Scale operations:

A bot can carry out, say a hundred conversations with ease where its human counterpart can manage at most five. This means an increase in an operational capacity.

5. Low cost and maintenance:

Chatbots require low to minimum maintenance and support to perform with the same efficiency consistently. A bot obviously costs lesser, especially so as it can complete the work of an entire team.

6. Customer insight and data:

A bot can record the user’s conversation (for internal evaluation and reporting) while processing and responding to the users. This gives a huge amount of actionable data and gives more insight as to what the users are looking for and expecting from your business.

7. Platform independent:

One additional advantage of using a chatbot is that it can be integrated across different platforms to give the same functionality. So a business can offer support on their website, app or through messaging apps without needing additional resources or costs.

8. Efficient talent management:

Almost 80% of customer queries are repetitive or redundant and don’t need human involvement to satisfy the customer. While most of the benefits listed above compare the performance of the bot with humans, the intention is not to replace humans with bots, rather use their talent to drive efficiency and productivity.

What are chatbots and virtual assistants?

“What do you know about chatbots and virtual assistants?”

If your answer to that question is a reverse “why do I need to know?” or a casual “I don’t know much”, you are unaware of the upcoming tech revolution and we need to address the second part first.

Why you need to know about chatbots and virtual assistants

Chatbots are increasingly transforming the way we interact with software and by extension, the way we use technology.

First came automation, making machines work on repetitive and dangerous tasks by programming it to do so. Then came smart systems, instead of being bound by strict rules, we made machines function within desirable parameters emptying our hands (and heads) to be employed elsewhere. The latest wave of technology today is Artificial Intelligence, and with that, teaching machines how to understand and interact with humans.

Chatbots and virtual assistants are a step in that direction and they’re already here.

You know what virtual assistants are, Alexa, Siri and Cortana have been advertised enough. So you know that you can order your groceries online, know the weather, listen to a song or go through your schedule by simply asking the assistant to do so.

It’s borderline fancy, but virtual assistants are convenient. Did you know you can use this technology to grow your business though? Yes, you can and we’ll tell you how.

“OK Google, define chatbot.”

What is a chatbot?

A chatbot is defined as ‘a computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users.’ It can be a simple decision tree preprogrammed to respond to user’s queries or it can be an AI-based ‘intelligent’ bot capable of learning.

As accurate as the above explanation is, it is not very helpful in understanding chatbots.

So we will start at the more bot. Bots are computer programs designed to perform repetitive tasks automatically. From the useful crawlers to malicious spambots, the internet is full of bots. A chatbot is a bot designed to carry out conversations with the users online.

What is a virtual assistant?

A virtual assistant is an artificial system that emulates human interaction that helps the users perform a wide variety of tasks.

Learning, understanding and reasoning are the three main features that define a virtual assistant. Artificial intelligence advancements in deep neural networks, machine learning and natural language processing enable the systems to interact with humans like humans.

Difference between chatbots and virtual assistants:

Intelligent systems like chatbots and virtual assistants are often bandied together because they seem similar in principle though it is far from true. Both chatbots and virtual assistants interact with humans but they primarily differ in their purpose.

Virtual assistants are user oriented rather than task or goal oriented. That isn’t to say that virtual assistants are incapable fo carrying out tasks, rather user interaction takes the front seat for these systems. Chatbots are specialized to carry out tasks and interact with humans to achieve those tasks. Sales bots, for example are designed to aid in selling of a product/service and so have extensive knowledge of the domain.

Do chatbots work?

Chatbots have become extraordinarily popular in recent years largely due to dramatic advancements in machine learning, artificial intelligence and natural language processing. But as a business owner, you may be skeptic about integrating chatbots into your website. Let’s address some of the common questions you have.

Are chatbots useful?

Undeniably so. Chatbots can talk to your customers for you. These applications streamline interactions between people and services, enhancing customer experience without having to spend manhours to do it. Not only does it reduce the costs, but efficiency is also higher. This also enables exploring new leads through customer engagement.

How receptive are the audience?

If you’ve come across a few clunky chatbots that failed to be helpful or took up the screen space, we can understand your doubts. Chatbots done right (which we at Kenyt, definitely guarantee) are a great addition to the user experience as they are engaging, informative and efficient. Not convinced, read about why users like chatbots.

How accurate are chatbots?

Chatbots are growing smarter and reliable. The accuracy of the chatbot depends on its algorithm and data available. With the advancements in natural language processing, the scope of understanding of the chatbots has increased. When chatbots are posed questions beyond the scope of its framework, they can be deflected or forwarded to a human operator to be taken care of.

Chatbots: All you need to know

By 2020, over 85% of customer interactions will be handled without a human according to Gartner, a global research and advisory firm. While the percentage may seem inflated at first look, with virtual assistants, voice integrations and chatbots racing towards perfection, we might reach that mark sooner than anticipated too.

Alexa and Siri may not need much introduction, but have you encountered a chatbot online? You might have visited some sites that had chat windows pop up with a friendly ‘welcome to XYZ, how can I help you today’. Yes, those were chatbots. The live chats that we have on websites are in fact robots. Today’s chatbots are smart, responsive, natural and undeniably useful and we’re likely to see them more often in the coming years.

The global chatbot market valued at around $350 million is estimated to reach $2.1 billion by 2024, set to multiply by six times. The chatbot technology is here to stay, so let’s take a look at what exactly is a chatbot and how they work before addressing the common questions about chatbots.

What are chatbots?

As the definition goes, ‘a chatbot is a computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users, especially over the internet’. Chatter robot or simply chatbot is a form of human-computer interaction that is picking up pace. It is an application to simulate a conversation with a user through message applications, websites, mobile apps or voice calls.

It is an automated system of communication that is designed to replicate the patterns of human interactions. The conversations with a bot can be text or voice-based.

The arrival of chatbots has opened up new doors in the form of conversational commerce and marketing and is redefining customer engagement.

Types of chatbots

There are several types of chatbots on the basis of application, intent and working among other factors. You can read about the types of chatbots depending on their application here. The nomenclature of chatbots may vary from source to source, but the concept at the core remains the same. In this article, we have classified them into two main types that will help you understand it’s working.

Script chatbots:

These are the question-answer type of bots that take inputs from the users and respond via a pre-programmed set of instructions (the script). It is a decision tree with each question opening a predetermined set of possibilities.

Smart chatbots:

These rely on artificial intelligence to communicate and instead of a predefined set of instructions, it relies on machine learning to respond to questions with adequate suggestions and capture the queries to process later and ‘learn’ from.

Both types of chatbots can be made ‘chatty’ through natural language processing to make the interactions more human-like and conversational. Most bots are hybrid, a combination of scripted and smart bots that integrate algorithms and artificial intelligence.

Deconstructing chatbots:

Chatbot applications have a few distinct aspects essential to make it work.

  • Database: The database stores product information, user data and transactions.
  • Application layer: This is the brain of the bot that contains the instructions to make it functional.
  • APIs: These integrate the chatbots to the existing platforms to say process payments, generate quotes, etc.
  • User interface: The chatbot interacts with the user through this window.

Different types of businesses have different requirements of the above layers depending on their goals and audience.

Do chatbots work?

Chatbots have become extraordinarily popular in recent years largely due to dramatic advancements in machine learning, artificial intelligence and natural language processing. But as a business owner, you may be skeptic about integrating chatbots into your website. Let’s address some of the common questions you have.

Are chatbots useful?

Undeniably so. Chatbots can talk to your customers for you. These applications streamline interactions between people and services, enhancing customer experience without having to spend manhours to do it. Not only does it reduce the costs, but efficiency is also higher. This also enables exploring new leads through customer engagement.

How receptive are the audience?

If you’ve come across a few clunky chatbots that failed to be helpful or took up the screen space, we can understand your doubts. Chatbots done right (which we definitely guarantee) are a great addition to the user experience as they are engaging, informative and efficient. Not convinced, read about why users like chatbots.

How accurate are chatbots?

Chatbots are growing smarter and reliable. The accuracy of the chatbot depends on its algorithm and data available. With the advancements in natural language processing, the scope of understanding of the chatbots has increased. When chatbots are posed questions beyond the scope of its framework, they can be deflected or forwarded to a human operator to be taken care of.