As early as 2017, according to GetVoip, many businesses have started using a chatbot to communicate with customers. Companies that use this new feature find that it has helped grow their customer base, as well as their bottom line. As you will see, a chatbot has several abilities that allow companies improve their business, and people gain information.
But, what exactly is a chatbot? It is a natural language user interface that allows you to communicate. If you remember using AOL Messenger - or if you used Facebook Messenger recently - you have already used a chatbot. According to refine.ai, It is a “service that runs on rules or artificial intelligence that users interact with using natural, conversational language”. They are used for a wide array of services ranging from entertainment to e-commerce.
Facebook Messenger is just one example of a chatbot. While most people use it to have private conversations with friends, and family, you can also use it to purchase items. For example, stores like Nordstrom’s now allow customers to talk directly to staff about an item seen on the website. But, that’s not all. You can now search for travel accommodations, check today’s weather forecast, and look for answers to your health questions. The possibilities are endless.
Chatbots have become popular among customers who shop online through their smartphone, as well. In fact, according to Adweek.com, more than one-third of shoppers are now willing to use chatbots to purchase items. Some are even willing to spend over $50 using a chatbot. But, it’s not just clothing store customers. People are now using chatbots to call for rides, and get flowers. In fact, almost 60 percent of customers said they are also willing to get suggestions from chatbots based on the items they look at or purchase. As for businesses, chatbots do make great customer service easier: they speak multiple languages, respond 24/7, and rarely require any coding skills to install. Chatbot pricing is generally quite flexible, too, and it is fairly easy to find your perfect tool.
However, retailers need to be careful. The same source states that 73 percent of users will not use a company’s chatbot if something goes wrong. Additionally, many people said they consider chatbots invasive if they remember prior purchases. Thus, it is essential for companies to make sure their chatbots work correctly. Companies should also inform the customer about what information is being used, and the purpose for that information. Doing so should alleviate the customer’s concerns.
While e-commerce is one way to use a chatbot, there is another popular use for it. Companies such as Amazon, and Google, have created chatbots that give you information on-the-fly. All you have to do is say a few words, and voila! The chatbot gives you the requested information.
Specifically, with the Amazon Echo, all you have to say is Alexa (it’s given name), and either ask a question or give it a command. You can ask it to play music from a variety of music apps such as Spotify or iHeartRadio, get the day’s news, or get a local traffic report. But, you can also control things within your house such as the thermostat, garage doors, and locks, as long as they are connected to certain devices.
Another great example is Google Assistant. Found on the Google Pixel, you can also go to Google’s website, and start asking it for things like directions while you are driving, setting reminders, and putting things on your calendar. You can do all of this at the touch of a button or by saying “OK Google”, and adding a few words.
Chatbots have only been around for a short time. But, their popularity continues to grow. The feature is available in several forms, and there are a plethora of uses that have made people’s lives easier. Moving forward, there is no doubt that chatbots will be used by several more people in excitingly new ways.