What is a Chatbot and how does it work

What is a chatbot

A chatbot is an application or program that simulates human conversations. It allows a form of communication between a human being and a machine through a voice or text command. Chatbots have become very popular because they are changing ways in which marketing and customer service is done. With chat-bots, a business can reach customers easily, cheaply and deliver services much faster than before.

Chatbots are majorly of two types i.e. Rule-based and intelligent chat-bots.

Chatbot interacting with a human

Courtesy Image that shows a chatbot interacting with a human

Rule-based bots are those running on a predefined conversational flow that has initially been designed by a chatbot owner (The developer) and have no machine learning algorithms processing content from the user. Such bots do not understand the intent and context of the user’s conversation.

This kind of bots is relatively easy to create. The developer can simply create a question and add possible answer options from which a user can choose and assign what is returned when each of the options is click. For example, a developer can add a question like “Hey, would you like to send us an email?” and add possible answers like “Yes” and “No”. Each of the above options is then assigned a follow-up question like “Enter your inquiry below and we’ll be in touch” for the option “Yes” and “Please provide your email address in case we wish to contact you in future” for the option “No”.

Intelligent chatbots are those that use artificial intelligence (AI) to simulate a conversation (or a chat) with a user. An intelligent chat-bot is often described as one of the most advanced and promising expressions of interaction between humans and machines.

Well as rule-based bots are assigned responses, intelligent ones simply learn and respond according to what they have previously learnt. Training such chatbots occur at a considerably faster and larger scale than human education. While normal customer service operators and reps are given a manual instruction which they must follow, a customer support chatbot is nourished with a large number of conversation logs, and from those logs, the chatbot can understand what type of question needs, what kind of answers.

Why chatbots are important

Chatbots streamline interactions between people and services, enhancing customer experience and also offer companies new opportunities to improve the customer engagement process. They also allow room for increased operational efficiency by reducing the costs of customer service and office space.

To be successful, a chat-bot solution should be able to effectively perform both of these tasks. Human support plays a key role here: regardless of the kind of approach and the platform, human intervention is crucial in configuring, training and optimizing the chatbot system.

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