There’s far too much hype around chatbots, which are all about new ways of interaction between customers and businesses. Why bots are so popular and what benefits they bring to mankind – that’s what our article about.   

What Are Chatbots?

Every day we engage in snappy and witty dialogues with others. A conversation is the most fundamental arena of any language. We talk about our thoughts, feelings, and ideas, share our experience with friends, etc. With the evolution of artificial intelligence, new algorithms of conversation have appeared. These are conversational agents which include task-oriented dialog systems and chatbots.

Siri, Alexa, Google Now are vivid examples of dialog systems. They communicate with users in speech, text, or both ways. Such dialog agents can give travel directions, control home appliances, find public places, or help make phone calls and send texts. Companies deploy goal-based conversational agents on their websites to help customers answer questions or address problems.

Chatbots are designed for extended conversations, set up to mimic the unstructured conversational or “chats” characteristic of human-human interaction, rather than focused on a particular task like booking plane flights.

The word “chatbot” is often used in the media and in the industry as a synonym for a conversational agent. Most dictionaries define a chatbot as a computer program developed to have a conversation with human beings over the Internet.

Chatbots Background

The first chatbot is a well-known program Eliza designed by Joseph Weizenbaum. The agent mimics the dialog with physiotherapist realizing an active listening technique. Weizenbaum chose psychotherapy because he wanted to detect the complexities arising from the creation of the database about the real world (ontology).   

The development of real-time messaging has led to the popularity of chatbots. “2018 State Chatbots Report” shows that people from 195 countries are using chatbots to start a conversation on business websites. 41% of those people are executives and key decision makers. The report also demonstrated how many people communicated with businesses via chatbots.

chatbots

As you can see in the chart, 15% used chatbots in the past 12 months. That is the quarter of the number who used emails and phone to chat with businesses. It is expected that this number will grow. Let’s figure out why chatbots are gaining popularity.

Users turn to new ways of messaging and contacting business websites mainly because they face a certain number of problems using the traditional means of communication. The problems are as follows:

  1. Websites are difficult to navigate.
  2. A user gets no answer to a simple question.
  3. Can’t find the main details about a business.
  4. Too long to find services.
  5. Non-user-friendly and poorly designed phone apps.
  6. Search options are unavailable or not helpful.
  7. Services are not accessible on mobiles.
  8. No online forms or forms with poor design/quality.
  9. Services are impersonal.
  10. Other.

Today, people are used to getting what they want or need at any time. Consumers want to find the information they require at one click. When they are unable, they get disappointed. In most cases, they turn to competitors who are able to offer them that online experience they are looking for.  

According to the report, chatbots are expected to solve the above-mentioned issues. And here is how:

  1. Give a quick answer in an emergency.
  2. Resolve a complaint or problem.
  3. Give a detailed explanation or answer.
  4. Provide a human customer service assistant.
  5. Make a reservation (hotel, restaurant, etc.).
  6. Pay a bill.
  7. Buy a basic item.
  8. Provide ideas for inspiration.
  9. Add a person to a mailing list.
  10. Communicate with multiple brands using one program.

Customers are also expecting a range of potential benefits of chatbots like the following:

  • 24-hour customer service and support.
  • Instant responses.
  • Easy communication.
  • Complaints resolved very quickly.
  • Expert and clear answers.

24-hour service was the most reported benefit that customers expect to get from chatbots. However, customers aren’t ready to refuse the assistance of humans as chatbots are unable to give expert answers and be as friendly as humans can be.

Why Don’t People Want to Deal With Chatbots?

Despite a great number of advantages of using chatbot technology in messaging, there are a lot of factors preventing people of using these conversation assistants. The most frequently reported reasons why people don’t want to use chatbots are as follows:

  • I would like to chat with a real person.
  • I think a chatbot could be mistaken.
  • I would like to use a normal website.
  • I would like to have a friendly conversation.

Why Do Businesses Need Chatbots?

Consumers value their time that’s why they are expecting to get quick responses. When people were asked from which channel they expected to get the quickest response, 77% answered it was online chat; 75% – chatbots, 73% – face-to-face; 55% – apps; 40% – social media; 34% – web form; 27% – email; 16% – letter. As you can see, the majority of customers believe they will get an instant reply from a chatbot or via an online chat in real time. Implementing chatbots and combining the technology with online chats will enhance business response time delivery. By using chatbots businesses can generate more leads.

Chatbots are innovative applications but they have a tendency to replace the need for emails or phones. Currently, chatbot developers are working on creating such assistants which would be able to give expert and detailed answers. In spite of the high potential that chatbots give to businesses, we should not forget of traditional ways of communication. To get maximum efficiency businesses should combine chatbots with other, traditional channels. Chatbots can actually bridge the gap between different channels of communication enhancing the online experience of millions of consumers.