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What is a chatbot?

What exactly is it?

A chatbot is a form of artificial intelligence (AI) that can simulate a real conversation. A site visitor is able to chat with the bot, and receive answers to questions. Chatbots leverage Natural Language Processing (NLP) with question & answer programming to interact with people in an authentic way, remembering the conversation and following a predesigned conversation flow.

How does it work?

From the user’s side, if you visit a website and have a query, you can simply click on the chat window, type your question in and receive a response from the bot, much like a real person. Chatbots can be used for everything from telling you the latest weather and news, assisting with personal finance and scheduling, right through to customer service queries and driving sales.

From a technical view, exactly how the chatbot works depends on the software and processes used. Each software is slightly different with how you programme the bot, but they essentially work through rule-based responses or machine learning.

After doing some digging into the most commonly asked questions for your business, rule-based chatbots are programmed to recognise words and phrases, in order to respond with a pre-written response relevant to the question. They’re great for businesses who need a simple solution or are inundated with simple FAQs.

AI & Machine Learning bots are more complex, and use NLP to continuously train themselves. They work for higher-level conversations, and for more complex needs such as driving sales.

Why use a bot?

Although we haven’t yet reached the point of chatbots being able to rival humans when it comes to natural conversations, there are many benefits of chatbots which make them a top choice for so many businesses.

Bots are efficient and cost-effective. Not only can they be on 24/7 and handle out of hours queries, but they can assist limitless numbers of customers in record time. They can also massively increase cost to serve, as they are able to handle large numbers of queries simultaneously, rather than needing many employees on chat.

Chatbots can be integrated with human chat for a seamless hybrid solution. Bots can answer the simple FAQs and deal with common queries, passing over to chat agents for anything more complex, creating a smooth user experience. 

Chatbots can be used for everything from customer service queries to lead generation and sales conversations, so if you are looking to increase customer satisfaction or your website conversion rate, chatbots can be a great solution.

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Final thoughts

Chatbots are rising in popularity and the technology is rapidly advancing, meaning more businesses are now using AI to enhance their customer experience. Whether you need some extra support to answer questions, or you are looking to boost leads and sales on your website, a bot could be right for you.

Read more about using chatbots & AI.

Interested in seeing how a chatbot can work for you but not sure where to start? Chat with us.