Chatbots are coming to a messaging platform near you. So how can you use them for your business?

Chatbots are the next big thing for business

April 20, 2017

Chatbots have existed for awhile now, but this year you’re really going to see them emerge.

If you’re not familiar with them, chatbots are used to automate intelligent conversation within chat platforms. It’s a form of artificial intelligence. We already interact with similar technology on a day to day basis. For example, email drip campaigns often use some sort of artificial intelligence to send out emails with the right contact information and the ability to track links.

With chatbots, you are using a messaging software that usually has a conversational interface to allow you to simplify a task. It’s more personal than email. Think of it as conversational AI.

Statistics show that 90 percent of our time on mobile is spent on email and messaging platforms. If you can make a presence where your audience is already hanging out, why would you miss out? This is what chatbots let us do. They allow us to be found easily and make us available using the platforms our audience already is comfortable with.

“I would love to back teams that build stuff for places where the consumers hang out!” — Niko Bonatsos, Managing Director at General Catalyst

Chatbots are even coming to some of the most well-known chat platforms, namely Facebook Messenger.

How you can use it for business

There are several ways you can implement a chatbot for your business. Chatbots are firstly great as a customer resource. You can do numerous things, like use bots to answer consumers questions. Better yet, a bot will remember users information so that future questions can be answered more specifically. This not only helps users get the answers they need but gets you research data you can use.

When you use a bot on a platform like Facebook, you’re making communication easier for both you and your target consumer. For instance, if you’re often asked basic or simple questions, these may be bogging up your phone lines or email inboxes. Instead, try a bot that is preloaded with the answers to the frequently asked questions you receive. Customers get their answers immediately and without hassle; you have more free time to focus on other projects.

Try implementing a bot into Facebook so you can communicate more easily with your followers. It will let you answer and respond to people’s questions easily, even during non-business hours. For a guide on how to build your Facebook Messenger chatbot, visit here.

How chatbots work

There are two kinds of chatbot that each work a little differently. One functions based on a set of rules. The other, a little more advanced and thus complex, uses machine learning.

What does this mean? Well, the kind of chatbot that functions based on rules is limited in its conversation. It can only respond to very specific commands. If you say the wrong thing it won’t know what you mean. It’s only as smart as it is programmed to be.

The more complex versions of chatbots can learn from people, meaning the more they talk to us the smarter they become. These types have been tested on popular social media platforms like Twitter. In fact, Microsoft infamously tested their chatbot on Twitter in 2016. The result was less than ideal. However, this example shows just how quickly artificially intelligent chatbots can learn from humans.

Apps to get you started

If you want to learn more about chatbots and perhaps introduce them into your own business, there are a couple different apps that allow you to incorporate bots. Here are our favorite.

Teach your own bot: https://wit.ai/

Build your bot: Octane AI

Want to learn more?

We covered this topic more extensively during our Training Tuesday web series. Check it out here.

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