What is a Chatbot ?
What is a chatbot ?
Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Open AI’s ChatGPT, … we often hear about these artificial intelligence (AI) applications, which are in fact chatbots. A chatbot is a conversational agent using natural language to assist humans through voice or text messages. It is starting to support real conversations, even if you can still find simple chatbots where users are guided by choices or buttons. It is mainly thanks to new technologies such as AI, data science and machine learning that chatbots are currently experiencing an accelerated evolution. Companies see this as an opportunity to improve their performance and position themselves well against the competition in the information age. Find out in this article, everything you need to know about chatbots in case they can also help to take your business to the next level.
How a chatbot works ?
A chatbot is a program that allows a human being to dialogue with a robot assistant that understands and imitates human language. The principle is simple, you ask the chatbot something and it gives you the corresponding answer in your language. This technology uses the information contained in its database to respond to user requests.
In general, these three steps are repeated throughout the conversation in the chatbot. First, the user makes a request to the chatbot. Then, the chatbot interprets the content of the request and consults the data at its disposal. Finally, the AI technology provides an answer to the user. If it has not found the right answer, it asks the user to rephrase his request or guides him to a manager to contact.
In order to understand the user’s requests, the chatbot feeds its system with a large volume of data by speculating on the requests it may be asked to make and by pre-recording the corresponding answers. Thus, when the user formulates a request, the programme takes the content, compares it with the pre-recorded data in order to identify the words or expressions that trigger responses.
There are also other AI techniques that can understand human language and make the chatbot speak human language. These are NLP (Natural Language Processing) and NLG (Natural Language Generation).
The different types of chatbots
In general, there are two types of chatbots whose main difference lies in their complexity. These are the declarative chatbot and the conversational chatbot.
Specificities of the declarative chatbot
Let’s first talk about the less complicated of the two types which is the declarative chatbot. It is also called task-oriented chatbot. This type of chatbot has been designed to perform specific functions. The user cannot ask for everything he or she wants, as the requests are directed by the program. At the beginning of the conversation, the chatbot specifies its main functions or offers to choose between several options to continue. This process is repeated until the chatbot provides the final result. Thus, we can say that the communication with the declarative chatbot is structured. It is commonly used to automate responses to frequent user queries, which do not involve many parameters in their request. For example, companies use it to facilitate appointment setting, sales steps until its conclusion, information requests, etc.
Characteristics of the conversational chatbot
The conversational or predictive chatbot is an advanced and more dating an introvert with anxiety that owes its performance to artificial intelligence. Indeed, it uses natural language processing, semantic analysis, a lot of machine learning and other AI technologies to achieve very realistic conversations.
This chatbot model has a broader knowledge base that allows the user to expand the conversations and not limit themselves to their initial request. As it talks to the user, the predictive chatbot also learns about the user’s preferences and habits. In turn, it suggests content or products that might interest him. One of the greatest strengths of conversational chatbots is that they can learn continuously and become more efficient over time. This type of chatbot is quite rare on the market because it is powered by AI and requires a large investment. Alexa and Siri are among the most innovative and successful conversational chatbots available.
Some uses of the chatbot
The chatbot was initially used to handle simple, but frequently recurring, queries. At the time, its only difference with FAQs is that it is interactive, but both provide almost the same information. Nowadays, the chatbot is also used to handle customer relations requests. It automates appointment scheduling, accompanies customers during their purchase and redirects customers to the appropriate manager if necessary. The chatbot is also used for marketing purposes. It allows you to promote your products directly to your customers, and also gives you the possibility to collect important data for sales in the interactions between customers and the chatbot.
Benefits of chatbots for companies and customers
The chatbot improves both the customer experience and the business of a company. By implementing a chatbot in your communication channel, the customer can get immediate answers to their requests. Indeed, the AI system can work 24/7. He also receives personalized assistance such as guidance during the ordering and purchasing process, suggestion of items matching his personality and preferences, etc.
For the company, the robot assistant first of all offers considerable time savings. It eases the workload of customer services as some routine operations can be handled by the chatbot. Customer services can thus better focus on important and unique requests. The chatbot also helps to convert your prospects into customers. It is a marketing tool that you can make the most of, for example, to distribute new products to all your contacts, share your newsletters, inform about new promotions, etc.