It is becoming quite common for online enterprises to use a chatbot platform to communicate with their clients these days. In simple terms, a chatbot is an electronic application programmed to enter a dialogue with the user instead of employing an actual person for the purpose. Typically, the conversation is conducted via text messages, although some more advanced apps can imitate human speech too.
This new communication tool applies artificial intelligence to provide customer support, process applications, and collect information in a more cost-effective format. Here, we shall highlight the benefits of having a chatbot on your site and discuss its types and functions. We shall also explain in detail how to build it and attach it to your page.
According to the statistical research conducted by consulting companies in Stamford, almost one-fifth of all client relationship management worldwide has begun to use a chatbot by 2021. The main reasons reported for the tendency include the restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemia and the considerable cost reduction that helps companies save billions of dollars every year.
Facebook seems to have become the leader of the chatbot technology, accounting for the largest share of all the investment in the chatbot market, which currently amounts to almost $8 billion. The company's recent survey has revealed that more than half of all enterprises that have accounts on Facebook seem to prefer this communication channel to the social network's mobile apps these days.
In the same vein, the actual customers seem to favor this communication format as well. As a result, chatbot marketing has become a lucrative investment, and its total retail revenues have increased more than 50 times in the last couple of years. Numerous surveys conducted since 2016 reveal that almost two-thirds of consumers prefer to use a chatbot for its continuous availability and quicker response.
Moreover, intra-organizational communication and business operations have also begun to rely on the chatbot to automate the daily routine tasks and streamline the workflow. One of the main reasons for the trend is that companies save considerable amounts by delivering low-skill jobs to artificial intelligence.
But it does more than help company directors to economize on wages. Even more significantly, it enables them to employ their personnel more productively as well. The survey conducted by Forrester Research, Inc. revealed that about a quarter of all jobs had relocated to the chatbot platform by 2019.
So why is it that virtually every reputable online operator wants to build a chatbot on his webpage these days? As it happens, bots provide several considerable advantages of real people performing the same functions.
Even though many people will find it hard to believe, a bot can understand a message just as well as a human being does, plus it processes the grammatical component a lot faster than an average person would.
Besides, a chatbot does not respond to the emotional content of the message, which helps it get straight to the point. And its almost perfect access to the database compares favorably with an average person's memory as well.
As a result, it can make the conversation a lot shorter and execute the required task more efficiently, especially if the emotional intent is irrelevant to the case. Bots seem better at making routine announcements, scheduling work assignments, processing simple requests for customer support, and instructing an employee on more successful execution of a task.
A bot can provide customer support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and it can do that at no extra cost. Thus, your clients can rest assured that they will receive the required assistance at any time, and your company can economize on the wages as well. Plus, at times of work overload, your support team will be able to handle more delicate cases, delivering simple routine responses to the machine.
Moreover, unlike a human being, a chatbot can process several requests concurrently, and it does that without a higher risk of errors or exhaustion. In other words, a bot on your site will make your service available to a much wider audience and around the clock.
Furthermore, a bot can instantly analyze the input and optimize the support it provides. For these reasons, it can considerably improve the quality and precision of your customer service, facilitating your business operations and boosting customer satisfaction in the process as well.
A considerable amount of the internal workflow in your company is tedious, involving many employees for long hours yet requiring no particular skills on their part. Typically, these are some simple routine transactions that distract your personnel from their professional functions and exhaust them in the process too.
But even when a task does require some knowledge, our limited cognitive capacities make us inferior to an average chatbot, and you can always feed the necessary data into it quite easily. For example, in an experiment conducted at JPMorgan Chase & Co., a team of office workers spent 360,000 work hours reviewing a pile of contracts, which a single bot managed to do in a few seconds.
Last but not least, a bot can combine several trade channels and integrate them with your other business operations too. If you want to attract and retain customers, it is vitally important to provide them with different ways of purchasing your products or applying for your services. And a chatbot can do that easily, and it will even integrate them into one convenient and seamless omnichannel shopping experience for your clients too.
In addition, it can integrate your online marketing operations with your mobile apps and accounts on multiple social networks as well. This way, it will not only promote your products and services on a larger market, but it will also enhance your potential and actual customers' experience with your site and considerably boost your public image too.
Many different types of bots have become available on the market these days, and we will now mention the most common ones for you to choose from, depending on your particular business needs.
These merely follow a set of rules specific to a task in question, and they are comparatively limited in their capacities as a result. In most cases, the chatbot asks a question or invites you to ask one and provides you with a specified number of pre-programmed options to choose the one that suits you best. Typically, simple bots learn nothing from their previous experience.
A good example is a bot that inquires about your particular issue and instructs you on the buttons to press if you want to have it resolved. Perfectly ineffective in less straightforward cases, they happen to be good enough for the main bulk of queries. But they can only comprehend rigid linguistic constructions, which renders them virtually useless in a big city.
Based on artificial intelligence, these bots possess much better linguistic skills and learn from the context too. As a result, they are in a better position to provide adequate help, based on the superior understanding of your situation and their previous experience with similar cases. For example, such a chatbot will recognize your voice and remember your particular preferences and even your personal and financial data.
As its name suggests, this bot will combine the best of the two extremes. Typically, it follows specified rules to handle simple matters. But it is also sensitive to the contextual data and much better understands the emotional component of the message. That will help a mixed-type bot to shift between its artificial intelligence and simple instructions, as each particular situation demands.
Your choice of a chatbot, in terms of its functions, will depend on your particular business needs, but most bots available today are customizable anyway. What follows is a list of the most prominent features that the majority of bots have in common:
● Learning skills and that enable them to incorporate their previous experience and contextual data into the current interaction and rectify their mistakes too
● Multichannel integration to provide the user with a seamless communication experience across diverse platforms, such as social networks, mobile apps, and search engines
● Strict adherence to the General Data Protection Regulation policies and to ensure adequate protection of the user's data
Of course, more sophisticated bots will be capable of doing much more than that. For example, Bitrix24 chatbot uses the most advanced technologies to:
● Create support tickets
● Distribute information across appropriate databases
● Classify generated leads
● Use numerous templates to provide more intelligible answers
● Integrate with your helpdesk, call center, and any CMS
● Facilitate constructive and efficient client relationship management
Before you can start building a bot, you must complete the registration procedure to open an account at the framework of your choice. Most frameworks will offer you a free trial, although some of them will expect you to pay for the membership. And some, like Bitrix24, will even let you register for free.
When you have an account, you can:
1. Click on Create a Bot on the dashboard.
2. Give your bot a name.
3. Customize its image and text features.
4. Select and customize the buttons for the bot and the user.
When you finish building a bot, you should first make sure you have done everything right and that it works properly. To do that:
1. Click on Test a Bot to go to the Testing Tools section.
2. Assume you are a visitor on your page and enter a dialogue with your chatbot.
3. Test all existing options to ensure everything works as it should.
If you are happy with what you have just built, it is time to move the bot to your webpage:
1. Go to the Integration page and click on Chat Widget.
2. Click on the name of your bot in the Setup field.
3. Adjust images, fonts, and colors for your bot in the Appearance section of the General Settings.
4. Go to Publish a Bot and copy the code for your chatbot.
5. Paste the code in the closing tags of your pages and reload your site.
If you have done everything right, there should be a chat widget on your webpage now, and the bot is ready to chat with your visitors.
Attaching a bot to your webpage is not the end of the story, though. There is still some work for you to do before your bot can truly serve its purpose and do it well:
1. Decide which type of bot you want to build, depending on your business purposes and your customers' needs.
2. Select the communication platforms and the technological sets for your bot. Ideally, both should be as numerous as possible to provide your customers and visitors with a rich multichannel communication experience.
3. Create an optimal design for your bot, and you might need expert assistance from your framework's team at this stage.
4. Unless you have decided to have a simple bot, it is like your pet, and you have to train it. AI-based bots learn from experience, and you must provide yours with a sufficient amount of that to become a truly effective one. Try to imagine all possible scenarios your bot may land in and re-enact them in the dialogues with it, using all possible communication channels too.
5. Finally, analyze the chat stats regularly to feed updated and refined responses into your bot for truly adequate customer service.
As we have tried to show in this article, you will gain considerable benefits by installing a chatbot on your webpage. And you will even have a variety of bots to choose from, depending on your particular needs and preferences. Building one is a fairly straightforward procedure, but should you experience any difficulties in the process, your framework's customer support will gladly assist you with it 24 hours a day, seven days a week, free of charge.