Chatbots: A Complete Guide for Beginners

Chatbots: A Complete Guide for Beginners

2016 is considerably the year of the chatbot revolution.

So what are they? How do these chatbots work? Why are they considered the next best opportunity?

In this article, we are going to discuss chatbots in detail, answering all those questions that are probably going through your mind at this particular time.

What’s a chatbot?

Chatbot’s a service powered by rules or sometimes, by AI, that can be interacted with through a chat interface. This service can be anything, ranging from simple functions to that of fun. The best thing is that this function can be in any major chat applications such as Slack, Facebook Messenger, text messages, telegram etc.

Let’s go through a simple example. Take a look at this video below. A simple facebook chatbot video is provided below.

How should you expect the chatbot to work from the point of view of your customers?

Say for example, your company is an e-commerce company selling hoards of products online to customers on a global level. If you have a chatbot for your customer support, your entire support tasks will go much smoother and easier at the same time. That’s because through chatbots, you are going to reach your customers on places where they are highly reclined to be. You don’t have to pull customers to your specific website all the time to give them support.

Right, now let’s talk about how it should work from the point of view of the customers.

For the sake of explanation, we’ll say that the customer wants to buy a certain clothing product (jeans) from your website. He will look you up on his Facebook messenger and will be able to message you directly. Your chatbot will come up with an automated answer like “what do you want?” or something similar. He will reply and the conversation will go on until he gets the right product. So you see chatbots has a high ROI value.

Are there any other chatbots?

Course there are. In fact, you have seen many in the circumstances to be honest. You probably haven’t realized it yet that they are chatbots and not humans. Anyway, let’s look at a few other examples:

  • The weather bot: You have probably seen this in google. Ask the weather and it’ll come up with the answer.

  • Grocery bot: You’ll be able to choose and place your grocery orders on your messenger itself. A chatbot of the respective company would help you out, interact with you and take the order for you.

  • News bot: You’ll just have to ask this bot about some interesting incidents related to anything starting from sports to that of politics, and you’ll get your answer.

  • Finance bot: This one helps you to manage your finances better.

  • Life advice bot- Just ask for solutions about various life problems. You will surely receive honest answers.

So you see there are many. The list above doesn’t even compile even 20% of it. But still, why should you make a bot? Yeah, it’s definitely cool but will that suffice enough? There are a handful of advantages associated with it. We’ll explain that below.

Chatbots provide your business with a huge opportunity to succeed

“Why are these chatbots a big deal?”

These look like some sort of a simple text based service…so why does it play a significant role in a business?”

You probably have those questions in your mind. Well, there’s one simple (yet effective) reason for which these chatbots play a significant role in business.

All businesses have this notion that their customers spend a significant portion of their time in social networking sites which is true to a certain extent. They do spend a lot of time on social networking sites but the same people use messenger apps (such as WhatsApp, Facebook messenger) more than their specific social networking apps.

So look at this from a logical point of view. If you have a business online, you would definitely want to spend more time in those places where your customers or potentials customers are. Chatbots are more than capable of giving your business that opportunity.

Working of chatbots

There are 2 types of chatbots that are based on a certain set of rules or on machine learning.

Chatbots based on rules

These are limited bots that can only respond to specific commands. This bot’s not too smart and is only smart as it’s programmed to be.

If any wrong thing is said to the bot, it will fail to grasp the meaning of that statement because it has no prior knowledge of how to deal with the same.

Chatbots based on machine learning

This bot is based on some sort of an AI and is more advanced than the one depicted above. It comes with a number of flexibilities. Meaning, you don’t have to take a ridiculously specific approach to question this bot. It’s not command specific to be honest. In fact, it’s more specific to a language. This is tremendously beneficial indeed because your customers won’t feel that they are talking to a robot.

Chatbots based on machine learning continue to be smarter because they have the capability of learning from past experiences.

Should your chatbot have a specific purpose?

Of course, it should. Say, for example your business deals specifically in shoes. Your bot must be designed in that image so that you are able to turn your potential customers into actual customers in a moment’s notice.

So what should be your chatbot’s purpose? Your purpose should be any of these 2 or both:

  • You can use your bot to help your customers purchase a specific product from your inventory. Such aid is beneficial to a customer and it also looks pretty gratifying from the customer’s point of view.

  • You can use your bot as a form of a customer support.

So what do you reckon?

Should you go for it? Is it good for your business?

Regarding that second question, we have only one thing to say. This technology can undoubtedly be of considerable benefits to you. So we reckon you should go for it if you want to make your business a standout among the crowd.

That’s all for now folks. Hope you had a good read.

Sudipto Das

Sudipto writes technical content periodically for softz solutions and backs it up with extensive research and relevant examples. He's an avid reader and a tech enthusiast at the same time with a little bit of “Arsenal Football Club” thrown in as well. He's got a B.Tech in Electronics and Instrumentation.

Follow him on twitter @SudiptoDas1993

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