So, what is a bot?

It’s simple. It’s no more than a computer program that automates tasks, through a conversation channel e.g. Facebook Messenger.

For bots to be more advanced, they use artificial intelligence (AI) which allows the bot to comprehend more complex requests, personalise messages with names/details and learn from itself.

Smart isn’t it?!

However, don’t be under the impression that you can have an in-depth philosophical conversation with a bot. The time to produce something like that with current technology would be mind-blowing. Today, many bots follow a basic set of rules programmed by a human.

So, a chatbot is a piece of robotic software used to interact with people through text chats and voice commands (Siri and amazon Alexa are good examples).

Chatbots may seem like the new kids on the block, but this is far from the case. They have been around for a long time and are used in many industries to perform basic tasks such as booking a nail appointment, making a complaint, buying cinema tickets, or booking a hotel room.  However, today chatbots now use AI and the processing of natural languages to improve and learn from past events. This use of AI is called machine learning which allows computers to learn by themselves without programming while natural language processing which is their ability to understand human speech or text.

The benefits of a chatbot are extensive. They’re available 24/7; they don’t require breaks, holidays or get tired as we do; and they are much better at performing repetitive/ basic tasks which humans would otherwise need to be paid to do, consequently cutting costs for the business.

The question is – How will bots work for your business?

It’s all about your target market and utilising bots to benefit their experience. If you’re running a fast-paced business and need take bookings or respond to queries, instead of paying for someone’s time, you can just set up a chatbot to resolve this issue. However, you must consider your consumer. They may prefer to deal with another human being, not a bot who has no human emotion or empathy. Although if programmed correctly many bots can give a wide range of detailed responses and many companies use emojis to create more of a human-like conversation.

Chat Bots in Action

In 2016, the luxury department stores Nordstrom, implemented the use of chatbots to assist their customer service department.

Picture this; you never have to wait on hold ever again! When a chatbot is handling your customer support query, you always get a response because it can manage thousands of individual people at once and deliver solutions to these problems, all without breaking a sweat or making a mistake. From this Nordstrom reported their technical support increased in efficiency and customers were very pleased with their overall experience.

Another brilliant example of a company utilising the use of bots is KLM airlines. Who in 2016 began using AI and machine learning capabilities to improve their customer’s experience and increase efficiency. Instead of their customers spending time filling out forms for lost and found, booking flights online, or filing a complaint, they can send a message and a chatbot can do this all for them. KLM is one step ahead of the likes of Easyjet and Tui who do have their own native apps but do not utilise chatbots and AI as well as KLM.

KLM knew that their customers are unlikely to download their app or if they did, they would delete it after their trip. As a result, they chose the implement Facebook messenger bots that can handle booking details, check passengers in, send boarding passes and give flight updates.

One great aspect of this whole process is that if your flight gets cancelled, the chatbot automatically books another flight and sends you the boarding pass, meaning you don’t need to move a finger! Also, if your flight gets delayed, your boarding pass doubles up to be a voucher for compensation for your wait.

Now that is good!

 

By 2025 the global chat bot market is expected to reach £1.23 billion, with an annual growth rate of 24.3% and with more than 25% of the world’s population predicted to be using mobile messaging apps by 2019. This market shouldn’t be ignored.

If you want to improve your customer service response rate, or simply become more efficient and dedicate your time to more important tasks; you should consider implementing bots for your business.

Liv