There is a paradigm shift happening on how people get information over the internet and how they get fast and efficient customer service. This shift is a result of steady advancements in artificial intelligence by way of bots or internet bots.

Many of you may not know it, but internet bots have been around since the 60s, but the actual mass consumer application was made when the internet was made available to the public.

Search engines like Bing and Google use bots or spiders in indexing all websites and producing search results according to relevance or based on the term or keyword you use whenever you’re doing an internet search. When you get an automated “away” reply when you send someone an email, bots are the one designed to send you the reply.

When you go to a fast food joint and select your order using a touchscreen, bots are taking and billing your order. Whenever you visit a website and a chat box appears in one corner and ask how they can help, they are custom chatbots to answer some of your common questions.

Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant and Microsoft’s Cortana are voiced generated bots that are backed up by artificial intelligence.

As you see, bots are making communication and information gathering easier since there are fewer apps to use and less web browsing to do. As a user, you can “talk” to these bots and they provide solutions or answers to what you’re looking for. Although present-day bots are not yet as sophisticated as “Jarvis” or “Friday” just like what you see in the Iron Man and Avenger movies, that is the end goal. We don’t have the technology yet, but we’re slowly getting there. For now, let’s get to know what bots are and what they can do for all users.

What is a Bot, Chatbot and a Robot?

In general, a bot is a defined as a computer program that performs automatic and repetitive tasks. It’s also defined as the primary tool for automating interactions and engagement with website content on a large scale application.

A chatbot is designed and programmed to interact with humans or users in a more conversational way using a chat box. Chatbots automate the process of talking or interacting with any website visitor or a social media user by providing top-notch customer experience and customer service. Chatbots help maintains a presence every time and which can answer simple or common visitor inquiries 24/7. Facebook, Slack and websites such as Hubshots and XEN Systems are using the chat box in providing information to the customer based on the specific questions they have typed in or entered.

A robot is designed for repetitive tasks and is a machine that resembles a living creature that is mostly used in manufacturing and assembly lines of large factories. A robot is an actual physical machine that is built to do a physical job, based on their design and programming.

What Are The Functions of Chatbots?

In this case, let’s focus on how chatbots are becoming the defacto tool whenever customers are trying to get customer service in a more personalised and fast manner. More people are now ditching apps and prefer to use bots in getting information or customer service. In fact, according to a Hubspot research, 57% of people prefer using bots in getting information whenever visiting a brand or business website.

For example, a person can check his or her flight status through the Facebook messenger KLM bot.

You can ask Siri or the Google Assistant about the weather for the day. You can set it up if you want to receive daily or weekly weather updates on your phone or computer.

An example of a Google Assistant weather report for the day.

People want a fast and efficient response whenever they have a question or want to have an issue resolved. And because of this need, people now prefer instant messaging applications instead of downloading several apps or calling a human representative just to ask some basic and repetitive questions about a business or product.
Chatbots are like your virtual assistants or a virtual help desk.

They are designed to do this because it eliminates the traditional way of getting in touch with a human customer service agent or a specialist through a toll-free number. Wait times are greatly reduced or totally eliminated because bots can handle multiple inquiries and resolve issues at the same time, thus providing efficiency and great customer service faster.

Some other examples of chatbots applications include:

  • Ordering a takeaway food using a chatbots
  • Allows restaurant customers to order food from an integrated bot on their table.
  • Helps customers in deciding and purchasing in different eCommerce websites. Chatbots can also make suggestions based on the questions you answered in the onset of the website visit.
  • Chat can answer common customer service questions and provide faster resolutions.
  • A chatbot can have personalised tasks (like reminding bill payments, meeting schedules, weather reports, news etc.) for you using your mobile phone or computer.

On the other hand, human customer service agents and specialists will be able to handle more core and specialised tasks that a normal bot will not be able to provide.

When created properly, chatbots can do a number of tasks effortless and fast, which is a big advantage today because if the current trend continues, typing term or keywords using search engines to get information will be obsolete and a more conversational way of artificial intelligence through bots will take over.

What Are The Advantages of Chatbots?

Chatbots are here to stay until another more advanced technology takes its place in providing user satisfaction and top notch customer service. Advantages include:

#1 Chatbots are Available 24/7

Chatbots are computer programs that can do its repetitive tasks 24/7 without any breaks or lags. By using instant messenger apps, or a specific website’s native chat box, any user will get instant answers to their queries. No more waiting in phone queues and wasting precious minutes or even hours just to get hold of someone to help resolve your issue. Fast customer service means high customer satisfaction.

#2 It Can Handle Multiple Queries

Chatbots can handle hundreds of inquiries at the same time and provide the right and personalised answer without skipping a beat. Every response is sent in an instant. A human can only handle one person at a time, thus resulting to queue, wait time and impatient customers at the end of the line.
Even though the human rep is able to resolve a customer’s inquiry, the rep will have to pacify and apologise for the long wait and prevent any escalation calls and result to low service levels for the business or brand.

Image credit: Drift

#3 Chatbots are Flexible

Chatbots can be applied and implemented in any industry and across all platforms, thus it can save the business or the brand money and time. Unlike mobile apps and other programs, there will lots or testing and developments for each platform to make sure that it will work as designed.
Also, if some of you happen to have some small business or enterprise and don’t want to be left behind, there are available chatbot builders that you can use and implement on your website. No need to have cross platforms and testing, you just have to follow the instruction on how you can customise your chatbots.

#4 Chatbots Don’t Get Bored

Humans tend to get bored if they do the same thing over and over again. Chatbots are automated programs that will not get affected by any repetitive tasks and will provide the same level of service 24/7.

Image credit: Drift

#5 Chatbots Are Not Evil

Chatbots are not evil in itself, it can be bad will only be bad if it’s programmed to do illegal things. There are some cases that individuals or social media influences have used boats in raising view numbers or trying to influence an outcome of certain results of an election or a competition or any form of cheating.

To conclude, chatbots are communication tools with great potential and promise for excellent customer service. The continued advancements in artificial intelligence will provide fast and quick information gathering without using the keyboard and converse with bots just like normal humans do. Take advantage of it because it works.

Further Reading

Click on the links below if you want to know more about bots and how it can affect you as a consumer or as a business owner.

How Chatbots Can Improve User Experience 

Using Bots In Your Business To Drive Customer Growth

The What And Whys of Bots

What Are Chatbots? And Why Does Big Tech Love Them So Much?

 

 

About Author

Jon specialises in research and content creation for content marketing campaigns. He’s worked on campaigns for some of Australia's largest brands including across Technology, Cloud Computing, Renewable energy and Corporate event management. He’s an avid scooterist and musician.