A chatbot is a text-based dialogue system that users can use to communicate by entering text or by voice. Chatbots help users to find quick information and are therefore becoming increasingly popular.
According to dictionaryforall, the term “chatbot” is made up of the words “chat” and “robot”. A chatbot is a digital assistant that enables direct communication between customers and companies through text or voice input. In this way, users receive quick information and answers to their questions, for example about the weather or a product. Many users are already using chatbots without knowing it. In addition to Amazon Alexa or messenger apps such as Facebook Messenger, websites also use chatbots in various areas.
Chatbots are increasingly used in customer service for customer inquiries, orders and support. They can answer specific questions about products or services within seconds and thus ensure a personal customer experience. With every conversation and every request, the AI (artificial intelligence) collects more data and thus continues to improve its performance. The person only has to answer if the chatbot receives requests that are too specific or too complex. Because his experience is not enough to be able to answer such questions satisfactorily.
Chatbot: how it works
Most chatbots use a database (knowledge database) with answers and recognition patterns to answer the questions. The functionality is the same for all types:
- A user forwards a messagein text or voice form to a chatbot via a channel such as a website. This can be an order or a question. The program breaks the entered message into individual parts and processes them according to programmed rules. Among other things, spellings can be adapted, punctuation marks interpreted and typing errors corrected.
- The second step is the actual recognition ofthe message. It is usually solved using recognition patterns, but other chatbots also allow a combination of different pattern recognition. The chatbot uses NLP to determine the intention of the message.
- When the chatbot has found a suitable answer, it returns it to the user via the same channel. These steps are repeated until the user breaks off communication. This is mostly the case when an answer to the question is received, a solution is found, or the request is forwarded to an employee.
Types of chatbots
There are different types of chatbots that are suitable for different purposes. In order for the chatbot to be perceived as authentically as possible by users, it needs both a name and a human expression. In addition, most chatbots are graphically represented as humans or robots. With a personality, users have the feeling that they are communicating with a real person. For a human-like dialogue, it is important to have a pleasant and promotional expression that is not intrusive.
- Rule-based chatbots (clickbots):
These chatbots answer simple questions from users according to predefined rules. Users can click on various options, although personal input via the keyboard is often not available. These are mainly used for mobile websites so that users can get information quickly. For example, the opening times of a store or the telephone number of a company. For this purpose, the corresponding question-and-answer options must be added to the knowledge database so that the chatbot can access them when searching for a suitable answer.
- Intelligent chatbots:
AI-based chatbots are able to learn all the time. The installation and function are more complex, but they offer expanded and better possibilities. Intelligent chatbots can identify the entered message of the user with artificial intelligence and natural language processing and react accordingly. The chatbot is supposed to imitate a human conversation, which has a great influence on the user experience. These chatbots are mainly used in large companies to find out more about the respective target group. In this way, your own products and services can be adapted much better to the target group.
The purpose of a chatbot
Chatbots offer a wide range of functions and applications, which is why they are increasingly used. But chatbots are only well received by users if user-friendliness and specific added value are in the foreground. Otherwise, this leads to users finding the chatbot annoying and ignoring it or clicking away. However, when a chatbot is used correctly, companies can benefit from many advantages. In this way, companies can win new customers and increase their level of awarenessraise. Chatbots also ensure that your own brand appears less intrusive and that the company convinces with added value. They are a relief, especially in customer service, as they can process thousands of inquiries at the same time. Chatbots are used in various websites, mobile messenger services or social networks for the following purposes, among others:
- Answer questions (for example in the areas of health, nutrition and products)
- Process inquiries in first-level support
- Reserve or rebook tickets / seats / rooms
- Make appointments
- Order food / goods
- Inform customers / employees
- Manage employee plans
A successfully used chatbot not only leads to higher customer satisfaction, but also has many other advantages.
- Constant accessibility
- Immediate answer to the questions
- Strengthening the user experience
- Simultaneous administration of several customers
- Efficiency increase
- Increase recognition value
In addition to the many advantages, using a chatbot naturally also has disadvantages.
- Installation is time consuming and costly
- Complex inquiries are not possible
- Chatbots cannot save entire conversations. This can frustrate consumers as they keep repeating their concerns.