First of all, What the hell is a chatbot?
A chatbot is basically a conversational interface using natural language to understand what the user, on the other side, wants to know or wants to do. Since the sentences can be small talk, such as asking how he is feeling, to asking for an order; chatbots, at most, have behind the curtain a machine learning technology to allow each conversation to become smarter, whereas in the first interaction it might be dumb, the idea is to learn from this. The trending of this technology is not just to have a machine friend to talk with but is to deliver a service in an automatic way, like ordering a pizza. Doing the job of a good variety of processes that you do nowadays talking with a human or clicking and filling a form on the internet. In other words, the technology is replacing some manual and simple activities — robots replacing humans? Who would image that? ~~ feeling sarcastic
With a more and more connected world, the robots are capable of connecting with everything using an API interface or other types of protocols. Big companies are accelerating the investment in this area developing their own solutions and buying companies with advanced or complementary technologies to deliver a better product for people who want to take the advantage of artificial intelligence to solve their day-by-day problems or doubts.
One of the most spoken words last year, CHATBOT is totally a trend for our present and future. It’s awesome to talk with someone who you don’t know, whether it’s a human or a machine. But it has a real pain to be solved?
I’m studying and researching about this trending topic at the moment and I have found a lot of “vanity” solutions that just want to say, use a chatbot technology. Otherwise, there are a lot of people trying to solve real problems and introduce to the market different ways to minimize the time to interact using chatbots and customize with a real good understanding intelligence to give answers.
If are you looking to build a bot ask yourself some questions:
Why do I need a bot?
I need it because it is cool! BAMMMMMMM… WRONG ANSWER.
You do really need a bot if you will really automatize any process that’s very painful to be completed by someone. A simple example is to offer support or provide frequent questions, that are easy to do, but are boring if they have the same questions every time or so many people asking in a short time. A person answering in a manual way is good but you will be spending money on a mechanical job, so this is a typical case that a chatbot can help you, sometimes you will have a person to answer more complex questions or an important issue, but 90% of the conversations solved by an algorithm is not a bad idea, right?
What it does that I can’t do?
You can do anything you want. Let’s say someone is asking for hotel options around some area, you can do some research in the hotel marketplace and send him the options links. That’s ok, it would use a lot of your time to do the whole process, in this scenario is shown the importance of API’s in the internet market, using the API of a hotel provider the chatbot can search the hotel availability in the area asked for. Indeed, it’s not a unique feature, but the messengers’ platforms provide a bunch of customized items to improve the experience of the user with a chatbot, and it’s not provided for regular conversation. Using this example, some platform has a calendar to pick the date, a map to select the geo ratio and rich snippets for results giving the book action directly from the messenger.
What will the difference be for my customer?
The customers expectation is to receive what he really wants as soon as possible, giving him straight options and actions. Therefore, response time is one of the most important aspects, but as we saw before it has a lot of benefits to the user experience. Another good aspect is to take the advantage keeping him inside the messenger platform which is used to talk with friends, decreasing the opening screens or waiting for another experience to select and do what he wants.
Will it be smarter than my current solution?
It depends on, — nice answer — it will be smarter if you are investing in the intelligence of the answers, better integrations, an experience-oriented to the users intent, and an easy conversation to complete the process. Sometimes you will need a person to improve both the machine learning and the questions and answers, it’s always important to be supervised by someone who knows how to improve that, or to answer manually if it’s the case.
How can I build a chatbot for my company?
Easy peasy, nowadays we have a lot of solutions having a group of features to create the intelligence, putting the first entries to the bot, filling the answers, designing the flow for the users interaction and integrate with messengers platforms.
Some examples are IBM Watson, API.ai, Wit.ai, Microsoft LUIS, and Amazon Lex.
In summary, you have to analyze your goal with a chatbot, the platforms you currently use to talk with your customer and what the user expects from you when he sends a message or wants to interact with your company. My advice is to keep updated about this market because it is growing and getting better each day.