What is a chatbot?

For some years now, and increasingly, chatbots have become very important in those functions that have to do with the interaction of a company and its customers.

Whether to provide answers to questions or questions from users, or to send personalized messages for commercial purposes, they are gradually becoming part of the digital transformation of companies in any industry.

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You probably have heard about these “virtual robots ”, but you don’t know exactly what they are yet.

To do this, it reveals its definition, so that you can take ideas to implement them in your business and be able to offer better attention to your potential customers.

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What is a chatbot?

A Chatbot is Artificial Intelligence (AI) software designed to perform a series of tasks independently and without the help of a human. By For example, bots could make a hotel reservation or mark a date on the calendar of our smartphone.

The most common model is that of the virtual robot with the ability to simulate a conversation with a person, and therefore they are increasingly present in the digital world.

And what is it because of it? The truth is that bots have been around for over 50 years, when Alan Turing, British mathematician, invented the concepts that make computers and artificial intelligence work today.

But, the rise of mobile messaging apps such as:

  • Facebook Messenger.
  • WhatsApp’s messaging system.
  • Slack.
  • WeChat.

All of them have caused these systems to become important again for many digital businesses.

What are chatbots good for? How do companies use them?

The rapid optimization of AI software has gone in the last decade, generating great growth in the use of these robots by companies.

Large companies such as Skype, Telegram and Windows have opted for chatbots, as well as a large number of start-ups, these systems offer a great boost for customer service .

But… in what other ways do companies use them? The way they can be used are many, but the main and most used are:

► Customer Support

As I had told you, in the vast majority of cases they are used to perform customer service functions on major social networks.

They can collect registration data, provide information, answer frequently asked questions, etc.

They improve attention to current and potential customers in a thoughtful way and make interactions with this service faster and easier, generating user-friendly experiences .

► Manage online purchases and payments

Chatbots help make online purchasing and payment processes easier and simplify. They provide information and resolve problems users have throughout the purchase decision process.

They can also search, provide similar products or even allow you to make payments from the chat chat itself.

► Sending information and news about your company

They are able to send information and news about the company in an automated way to customers and potential buyers of our online business.

If properly used, it can be a very useful tool for any company or brand.

► Build trust and empathy

Obviously, you have the type of business you have on the internet, create an environment of trust between your business and your potential customers is a fundamental factor.

In addition, this factor will tilt the balance in your favor, as soon as this automatism manages to provide them with the help they need.

This help can be given both in the face of a search for products similar to the one they were looking for, and by resolving issues related to home delivery of products.

► Assistant 365/7/24

Similarly, one of its most attractive utilities is that, because they are automatisms programmed to perform certain functions within the digital business, they are still available.

Therefore, whatever time or day of the year a user enters in order to be able to find out about our products or services, the user will be able to assist them with total solvency.

► Investing in them is quite profitable

Since once we have properly programmed automatism, it will hardly need maintenance, it is a fairly profitable action within our business strategy.

If the implementation is done through a plugin, module or plugin, you will only need to update it regularly and change your schedule , in case we want to vary some aspect of its daily functions.

► They offer the immediacy that users demand

In terms of speed, the chatbots that exist today are so versatile and offer such immediacy, that they allow the user to have the solution to the question or problem that they are facing them at the moment.

This factor is very relevant, considering that today users demand more and more versatility in this type of program, given the great competition, if they are not happy with the response of it.

► Ease of use

Much of their success today is due to the fact that they are very intuitive and their installation and programming is not usually too technical and tedious.

Therefore, even an eCommerce or Internet business who would have never managed one of these systems could manage their response and customer service system.

What are the most commonly used types of chatbots?

You can find as many types of bots as you can think of uses. In companies, these are the most commonly used types:

1) Chatbots to interact with customers

On this type of system, we can take as an example applications with personal assistance functions for speech recognition, such as:

  • Siri : Created by Apple for iOS, tvOS, watchOS and macOS.
  • Cortana : Developed by Microsoft and available for Windows, Xbox OS and Android.

more users are making use of this technology, and it is not surprising, since this type allows the user to interact from naturally with the program More and , answering questions, taking action and making recommendations.

There are a huge number of companies that are incorporating chatbots as part of their technical support service.

Ikea, for example, is another one: on its website, consumers can make multiple brand queries, services or products by interacting with one of them.

2) Chatbots to optimize tasks and processes in marketing

We’ve talked a lot about customer service, but the truth is that the use of chatbots is not just about improving the user experience, but there are also some aimed at marketers .

Imagine being able to quickly get all the information you need for your email marketing campaign, such as data on the best shipping platforms, statistics, or new marketing trends in contents.

There is a type of chatbot that connects to a wide variety of databases and marketing systems, to provide you with real-time information about traffic data, customer prospecting information, keywords, etc.

In the world of sales and business, we can find examples such as MarketSpace , a robot that keeps you up to date with the latest and most relevant information about the companies you are interested in.

It alerts you about product or service launches, openings of contracting processes, etc.

There are also some that can help you classify your customers, such as Driftbot, which, through a round of questions and answers, interacts with customers in order to find the ideal product or service for each one.

In this way, we can channel the conversation to the most suitable member of your team.

3) Bots on social media

The use of bots on social media has been a subject that has generated some controversy, because it involves creating “ghost” accounts to increase the number of followers .

It is a strategy in which several fictional accounts propagate messages through social networks, with the aim of influencing users’ opinions or lifting a trend.

All this, using techniques made with social media tools, programmed for the publication of this type of content.

Examples of Chatbots used by major CMS (PrestaShop and WordPress)

Finally, considering the types of automated systems you can use for your online business and their various advantages, I would like to give you a few examples.

Whether you have a WordPress blog, or your business is an online store on PrestaShop, you can implement a chatbot in each of them:

1) WP Chatbot for Facebook Messenger

In a non-intrusive way, but at the same time very much in view of visitors to your blog or corporate website, you can implement this free and easy to install plugin.

Coordinated with the Facebook page of your company or digital business, you can provide the possibility of having this medium as inquiries about your services or even about products that may give rise to clarification.

2) Messenger and Chat Bot Module

It is very common that, when we enter an eCommerce, even though the details concerning a certain product are properly detailed, we have doubts.

It will also happen to most visitors to your PrestaShop store, if this is your type of business. Therefore, this chat module through your business’s Fan Page will be able to solve this necessity.

Conclusion

It is currently speculated that even some politicians (such as Barack Obama) have used this communication strategy through chatbots, as have some famous artists, brands or athletes.

As you can see, the incorporation of artificial intelligence into business, but especially in the marketing world, is not simply a fad.

Rather, we could say that it is the beginning of a new era, a time in history when brands will have more and better opportunities to get closer to their consumers.

Once you’ve understood what a Chatbot is, would you dare use them in your own online business?

Main images courtesy of Freepik.

Tell me about your experience about this innovative and currently used digital element.

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