What's the best Shopify chatbot

Chatbots: The Future of Marketing?

The rise of robots is happening around us right now. But fear not - it's not the dystopian future that the Terminator series is bleakly foretelling (at least not yet). Your next interaction with a robot is more likely if you answer your customer service questions under the guise of a chatbot.

What is a chatbot?

According to chatbots.org, a conversation agent (better known as a chatbot) is a software program that interprets and reacts to statements made by users in ordinary natural language. It integrates computational linguistics techniques into communication over the Internet. "

(It sounds a bit like it was written by a robot. In simpler terms, it's software that people can interact with in conversation.)

Chatbots process the user's question or request before responding using algorithms that interpret and identify what the user said, deduce what they mean and / or want, and use this information to determine a range of appropriate responses.

We've all interacted with chatbots - probably sometimes when we're not even aware of it. Your ability to mimic human speech to facilitate conversation or interaction with a real person is constantly improving. Currently, chatbots are most commonly used in customer service and take on tasks traditionally performed by people such as first-line support and general inquiries. They are already used in many messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Viber.

Part of the reason they are becoming more common is because it is much easier to set up - it is no longer the case that it requires highly skilled developers or other technical skills. For example, you can create a chatbot in FB Messenger, and there are websites where chatbots (albeit fairly simple) can be created using drag and drop blocks and "if then" logic.

Why are chatbots important?

We live in a time when consumers and customers expect information quickly. This need for speed has led companies to turn to bot technology and voice search. While the technology is relatively new, it is improving very quickly. A combination of different AI such as natural language processing, machine learning and semantic understanding is available for chatbot technology.

Chatbot technology improves the interaction between people and the services they want to access and improves the customer experience. They also provide an opportunity for companies to improve the customer loyalty process and business efficiency by reducing customer service costs.

However, a human element is still necessary. The robots are not yet ready to simply be switched on and work independently. We still have to configure, define and optimize the chatbot's system and processes.

So what do you need to consider when considering implementing chatbot technology in your company?

Advantages and disadvantages of chatbots

advantages

Unlike pesky human employees who occasionally have to eat, sleep, or go to the bathroom, chatbots are always available. Chatbots provide consistent answers to questions with good, responsive customer service. Customer satisfaction is usually increased because users can get the answers they want quickly. The lack of a human element translates into lower labor costs. They can be used for a variety of purposes.

disadvantage

While technology is constantly improving, sometimes bots only provide a limited number of answers. Being unable to get the answers they want can lead to frustration (if someone had to ask Alexa or Siri five times the same question, you are probably familiar with it). While we talked about the cost effectiveness of chatbots, the more sophisticated ones are still expensive.

How do you use chatbots?

It is very important to understand your customers' questions and to test and optimize your chatbots so that their answers are meaningful and can answer those questions. This is important because chatbots can be just as frustrating as holding a call center when they can't answer questions.

Create a conversation workflow, monitor how it works and optimize it the more it is used.

We recommend that you also make it clear that your customers are talking to a bot. It is better to be up front than to pretend that the customer is talking to a real person.

Information bots

Information bots connect users to data to provide an answer to a question and can provide basic information on a wide variety of topics. Common uses that people are probably most familiar with are bots that answer questions about weather, sports, or news.

A good example of an information bot is Kayak for Facebook Messenger, which answers questions in order to formulate an efficient travel plan for the user. Kayak's vast database of travel options can search thousands of flights, hotels, activities and other options.

Utility (or task) bots

Task bots automate processes and improve the user experience. This type of bot can perform a wide variety of functions beyond answering simple questions.

Slack, the communication and messaging app, is a great example of a service that uses task bot technology in the form of 'Slackbot'. Slackbot is not only able to understand and answer questions entered into Slack, it also has questions that individual companies can configure (e.g. here at Eastside Co, it reminds us of the WiFi password, when asked, alerting staff that they are using the language poorly (we also set it up to remind anyone who talks about Christmas before December that it's not yet Christmas) It also integrates with email, calendars, the corporate shared drive, and social networks.

Other examples of task bots are Domino's chatbot ('Dom'), which can be used to save previous customer orders and reorder them. The chatbot has the ability to track the food order from the kitchen to the customer's house and estimate the time of delivery. It can be used via FB Messenger, as an Amazon Alexa Skill and via SMS.

China's WeChat messaging platform integrates hundreds of utility bots to do an incredible amount of tasks. The system can be used to pay bills, book medical appointments, order food, and transfer money.

Conclusion - are chatbots for you?

It is clear that chatbots are increasingly used in the business world and become more common as AI and machine learning improve. As with any other marketing tactic, you need to consider whether chatbots are right for your business and your customers. Remember that the starting point is the bot's purpose: it has to provide a solution and help your customers. So before you decide to add one to your business, ask yourself if implementing a bot would fulfill this role. We have recommended live chat systems for customers. So if you want advice or marketing support, drop us a line and a human or bot will be in touch. *