Hackernoon logoDoes your company need a chatbot (and what are your options)? by@Bairesdev

Does your company need a chatbot (and what are your options)?

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@BairesdevBairesDev

Powerful insights in business, technology, and software development.

Artificial Intelligence is not only driving innovation, it's embedding itself deeply into the technology of businesses across the globe. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the intelligence demonstrated by machines and is used to improve the functionality, reaction time, and features of modern technology. AI is used in nearly every sector of business and compliments deep learning, Big Data, and CI/CD.

Because AI can be used in so many different ways, it should come as no surprise that it's really a boon for businesses of all sizes. But one use-case that clearly shows the thriving interest in AI is the chatbot. Countless companies contact BairesDev to learn more about the benefits of having one, so we thought to write this article to help you decide whether you’d benefit from developing your own chatbot. 

What is a chatbot?

Simply put, a chatbot is an artificial intelligence that can simulate a conversation, using natural language, via messaging services, mobile applications, or even a phone conversation. Chatbots serve by answering questions, using Natural Language Processing (NLP).

There are three types of chatbots:

  1. Rule-based chatbots are those where a chatbot asks questions and requires users to make selections. The chatbot then analyzes the answers to form a reply.
  2. Intellectually independent chatbots use Machine Learning (ML) to learn from user input to form replies.
  3. AI-powered chatbots combine rule-based and intellectually independent methods such that they can understand natural human language and use a predefined flow to help form responses.

Once a chatbot has enough input, it can then return an answer, which might consist of:

  • A generic response, based on predefined text.
  • Information gathered from a knowledge base.
  • Contextualized information, drawn from user input.
  • Data from a third-party system.
  • A follow-up question to gather more data.

How a chatbot works depends upon which one you employ. Regardless of the system you choose, a chatbot can help expand your business needs. So if you're a retail empire, a QA testing service, or even a small business, you can benefit from a chatbot.

But how? Let's take a look at why your company might need a chatbot (and what options are available for you).

Why you need a chatbot

The reasons why your business could benefit from a chatbot are plenty. One of the most obvious benefits to be had from a chatbot is to make it easier for clients and customers to find information about your products or services.

Questions answered immediately

By employing a chatbot, users can visit your website, ask questions, and receive answers immediately. There's no need to make a phone call and be placed on hold, send an email and wait for an answer, or wait in line for the next available assistant to chat with. A chatbot doesn't have a queue and can be called upon immediately. 

That's the type of service consumers want—instant. We live in an always-on, 24/7/365 world and the idea of waiting for answers is one sure way to send consumers heading to your competition.

Building trust

Having that chatbot always ready to answer questions helps to build trust between consumers and your business. When a consumer knows they can trust you to immediately answer their questions, it builds a very important bond. Even if the consumer knows they're being answered by a chatbot, so long as their query was sufficiently answered, they're good to go.

Scalability with cost-effectiveness

Chatbots are also a great way to scale your business, by adding a service capable of handling far more users than an employee can take on. Chatbots are capable of determining an answer to a question far faster than a human. So not only are they able to take on more questions at once, they do so more efficiently. 

Normally, when you need to scale, you hire more staff. That can get costly. A chatbot can scale at a cost-effectiveness human cannot deliver.

Younger audience

Millennials are a very different bread. They are the most technically-inclined generation to date. They not only know technology, they excel and flourish with it. This generation also has a deep aversion to actually speaking on the phone. If your only option for customer service is a phone call, you'll lose them quickly.

If you want to attract this generation, you need to turn to technology that gives them immediate answers to their questions and make it such that it's always available, otherwise they'll turn to another company.

What are your options? - Chatbots to Consider

Fortunately, you have a lot of options available. Here's a shortlist of chatbots you can employ.

Botsify makes it possible to integrate a chatbot into your existing website, Facebook pages, and messaging apps. With Botsify you can create multiple chatbots for dedicated customer support and even include the ability to easily switch from the chatbot to human support.

Collect.chat is a support chatbot with the goal of converting website visitors to customers by engaging them in natural conversation. With a simple drag and drop tool, you can add relevant questions and customizations. The Collect.chat bot can be installed using HTML code, a WordPress plugin, or landing page links. You will also get instant email notifications, a user-friendly dashboard, and various integrations.

Drift includes an integrated AI functionality that not only gets to know your customers but your business as well. Because it's driven by AI, the more it is used the more intelligent it gets. Drift not only can serve as a support bot but can also automatically book meetings.

42Chat promises it only takes their chatbot 3 seconds or less to answer queries from customers and the response rate is 95% correct. 42Chat has its own conversation design engine that has already responded to millions of questions, so you can be sure it can be trusted with your customers and clients.

Botpress offers an open-source version of their chatbot that includes an NLU engine, an admin dashboard, a visual flow editor, a chat emulator, and support for multiple messaging channels.

Shade.ai is specific to the insurance industry and is empowered to help consumers get the answers they need. With this tool, you'll get faster on-boarding, easier claims processing, and in-depth interaction analysis.  

Conclusion

Of course, there are a vast number of options available for you to try. If you don't find one that perfectly fits your needs, you can always turn to either your in-house developers or use a third-party development service to help bring the consumer/customer interaction of your QA outsourcing, retail, manufacturing, or service industry into the 21st century.

Find a chatbot that works for your company and rest assured your customers’ and clients’ questions and concerns are being addressed with an immediacy you might not have been able to meet otherwise.

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