This article is designed to address the issues surrounding both the typical and non-standard use of chatbots. Here you will find lists of convenient bot builders, plus example-laden instructions to help you appreciate the advantages of chatbots as a modern business tool.
What is a chatbot?
A chatbot is a program which makes it possible to chat with users while simulating human behavior. It can work on the most well-known platforms such as Messenger, Telegram, Viber, etc. Today, these virtual assistants can replace many services, such as call centres and customer service centres. This allows companies to optimise their business costs and attract new customers.
Chatbots are virtual partners who communicate with users through a text or by imitating human speech. Another type of virtual partner is service chatbots which are designed to undertake specific and designated tasks. They may accept orders, provide information, and select or suggest suitable products.
Chat robots can be used wherever there is a message feed: in CRM, work chats, online consulting, social networks, and a constantly growing number of online platforms. There are two main types of chatbots; ordinary bots, and those that self-learn with the help of artificial intelligence. While the former act on the basis of pre-described scripts, the latter imitate natural speech and live communication.
Examples of chatbot functions
- Technical support;
- Help in choosing a product;
- Consultation on typical questions;
- Collecting leads and ‘warming up’ future customers;
- Receiving and placing orders;
- User entertainment;
- Search for information;
- Selection of candidates or job search;
- Sending messages;
- Segmentation of leads in the sales funnel;
- Non-standard functions.
Benefits of chatbots
Chatbots have no requirement for down-time and can be employed for use around-the-clock. They are efficient - every interaction receives an answer as soon as possible. The communication is simplified, meaning there is no need to visit the site. Tasks and their statuses are updated automatically - and offer valuable metrics. The ways in which bots can be used continues to grow on a daily basis - limited only by imagination - they may be used to conduct surveys, identify needs, and make unique offers to different audiences. Chatbots are one of the many evolving technologies influencing how businesses are changing the buying behaviour of their customers and prospective customers.
Disadvantages of chatbots
The main disadvantage of chatbots at present is the possibility of errors in non-standard situations - bots only respond to certain keywords so there must be a redirect towards human interaction.
Where and for what purpose are chatbots used?
Chatbots are used in an ever-increasing assortment of businesses to improve customer service, technical support, build brand loyalty, and drive leads to the next stage in the pipeline. They are also a valuable means of data capture.
- In insurance, the bot is able to help conclude an agreement and draw up an application for payment;
- In the utility sector, it informs about changes in tariffs, receives meter readings and notifications about accidents;
- In medicine, a chatbot can make a doctor appointment and conduct an initial survey;
- Bots can book a table and take an order in a restaurant;
- In online stores, they help to complete the purchase, delivery, and payment;
- In the call centers of large companies, robots provide communication with customers and provide them with services at any time of the day or night, the bot can also switch chat to communicate with a live operator.
Chatbots are a vital part of cross-selling when a need arises to communicate with an entire customer base and familiarise them with new information, or to create an offer to buy an additional product or service, as well as offering discounts and promotions.
The chatbot creates the illusion of ‘live communication’, creating another level of connection between the consumer and the brand. If you plan to expand your customer base and provide more services to your existing customers, a chatbot might be the solution you need.
- Your potential customers have a lot of similar questions. Robots will help save time for both users and managers.
- Complex call routing. Bots will help users journey through the entire chain to the desired operator.
- Frequent and regular mailing of the same type of information. For example, changes in exchange rates, weather, news, price updates, etc. The following are the five most successful e-commerce chatbots across various industries: Argomall, Lego, Decen Muebles Infantiles, Hello Fresh, Bot Burger.
The most popular platforms
Chatbots are used most commonly in social networks and instant messengers, with each site having its own unique characteristics:
- Telegram. This is a communication messenger service that provides an opportunity to create easily usable bots. They can be programmed to perform almost any task; sending comments and notifications; translating texts; displaying the weather; playing games with the user; finding an interlocutor; etc. Information for developers and a separate “Bot API Reference” are available on the official site.
- Facebook Messenger. One of the most popular chatbot platforms in the world with over. It has a wide range of functions: templates for product lists; extensions; receipts; check-in templates; authentication; payment acceptance; etc.
Here are five typical uses for chatbots in business:
- Mass mailing in messengers. More suitable for small businesses with a loyal audience and a unique, niche product. Also suitable for companies with a high percentage of repeat purchases. For the rest, this scenario is not recommended, since it reduces user loyalty, and the account can be banned. Be sure to follow the mailing rules - notify about the subscription, do not spam, give the opportunity to unsubscribe.
- Sending transactional messages. They are sent automatically as a result of the completion of a transaction, for example, an order was delivered to a customer. A useful script for any business.
- Sales and lead heating. Users are directed not to the website, but to the messenger, where the bot acts as the first point of contact. The user has access to interactive commands with which he or she can get the necessary information and place an order or request a callback. This is one of the most popular scenario examples, sales in chatbots are built into Bitrix24 - the small business social enterprise platform.
- Important Notices. These notices can take many forms; changing weather, important events, overdue tasks, price reductions, discounts, promotions, and more.
- Information support. Bots can be used in cases when users regularly have the same questions that can be answered unambiguously. For example, a bot recognises a keyword in a request and displays a selection of articles related to the desired topic.
Examples of using chatbots
Chatbots are already widespread in business with many companies using them according to the scenarios listed above. But every passing day brings new, non-standard implementation - the following are all examples of this implementation.
Talla is a Boston-based company that creates bots to help new employees adapt to the company and solve small organisational problems. The bot gives advice on work, informs about the date of salary payment, integrates with calendars and documents of Microsoft Office 365, and Google Apps for Work.
5 Top Ecommerce Chatbots
1 - Chatfuel
Chatfuel is shareware and is one of the most popular eCommerce chatbot services due to its many functions. With Chatfuel you can create bots for Facebook Messenger and Telegram.
- Unlimited bots;
- A large number of templates;
- Newsletters and subscriptions;
- Accepting payment through a bot;
- Using artificial intelligence and speech recognition;
- The ability to create non-linear bots: complex and deep;
- Built-in integration with various platforms (JSON API, YouTube, WordPress, Twitter, etc.).
2 - Botmother
Botmother is a cross-platform constructor to create bots for business. Make the bot once and it works in all the messengers – Telegram, Facebook, Viber, WhatsApp, VK, OK.
- Acceptance of payments via Pay Online, bePaid, Robokassa, internal Telegram payments;
- Sending and postponed messages for a specified time;
- Built-in analytics: the bot collects user responses and maintains statistics;
- Dialogues with the user with the ability to connect an operator;
- Integration with Zapier, which allows you to send data from forms to any service;
- Debugging the bot.
3 - FLOW XO
A flexible builder with wide functionality that supports the creation of bots for Facebook, Telegram, Twilio SMS, Slack, and websites. The basic plan allows you to create a chatbot for free.
- Newsletters and subscriptions (do not work on a free plan);
- Accepting payments and BePaid;
- Templates for creating bots: booking restaurants, tickets, registration, frequently asked questions, contact a manager, and other tasks;
- Collecting user data: phone, mail, booking date, number of people, etc.
- Wide range of integrations: over a hundred platforms available.
4 - Bot kits
Bot Kits is a cloud service for creating bots using flowcharts that do not require any programming skills. It allows you to embed bots on Facebook, Telegram, Skype, and websites.
- Endless combinations of bot behavior;
- Sharing with multiple users;
- Actual statistics that the bot collects when working with clients;
- Two-stage processing of user responses: correcting errors and searching for synonyms, which improves the quality of query recognition;
- Sending any content: photo, video, text, audio;
- Extending capabilities with external libraries.
5 - Aimylogic
The Aimylogic constructor differs from all previous examples - the developers suggest creating a real virtual interlocutor, and not just a simple text bot.
In addition to the fact that a chatbot can be embedded in instant messengers, applications, and websites, it can also be used in voice assistants. The service recognises natural speech and works with Alice, Google Assistant, and Alexa. Also, the creators claim that their bots will be able to determine the intentions of users.
- Speaking Recognition;
- Integration with voice assistants;
- Built-in analytics;
- Specialisation in non-linear stories and dialogues.
The popularity of bots is explained by the fact that many people prefer to send a message rather than call. In the business world, chatbots are an automation tool, an additional marketing channel, and a way to distribute content in a precise and targeted fashion. They help remove routine tasks from employees, reduce interaction time in information support, speed up service, and improve the quality of service and support.