Chatbots: What Is A Chatbot And How It Works?
Artificial intelligence evolved in the recent years and chatbot is essentially a software capable of simulate and imitate human conversation. Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and have access to a wide variety of information. In many cases, they are faster than humans and more accurate.
More advanced chatbots can connect to multiple predefined databases at the same time and pass on different information on demand, tailored to the preferences of users. Although chatbots have been around for a long time, they gained momentum when Facebook also allowed the use of bots in its Messenger App and opened a new communication channel with very specific features.
Some people might swipe or skip the new communication opportunity – because it’s overwhelming – but research shows it is well worth getting acquainted with them. All the more so because they have huge potential to implement individual and contextual communication, while one source can address many people, and many enquires.
But what should we pay attention to when setting up a chatbot?
Many people who work in the tech industry are already familiar with chatbots, however for ordinary users it is a novelty. They are not experienced in using them yet, and so let's see how according to the expert's advice, you can make a user-friendly chatbot.
1. Be honest with your users
Don’t try to fool people. If you state something about your chatbot that isn't true soon or later users will find out about it. Bots should deal with things they're good at. They don't necessarily have to take over the role of a person, while you obviously want your chatbot to be as human as possible, you don't want to make the mistake to think it is a human. To regain trust is much harder than simply telling them they're talking to a robot. It's not even worth trying to make the chatbot look smarter than it is. Let people know it abilities and potential, so they can choose when to use it. And, of course, take responsibility if something goes wrong.
2. Use conversation
AI-based bots (such as Siri) have been with us for some time, yet people are not very experienced in talking to them, either verbally or in writing. The bot designer's job is to tactfully assist users, in using the chat interface. It's a good idea to use buttons and after few clicks, you could let the user join in. You can do that by giving him an enforceable order that he/she can issue. Finally, it's important that all your buttons and commands are executed.
3. Plan human emotions
Talking to a robot is boring. It might be effective, but people won't feel like coming back. According to the research, if you don't give your bot a personality, people will assume one, and so you better plan for it in the first place. You should be aware of the personality since you already have a brand to look after. Use friendly language when talking to your users to make them feel like they're chatting to a friend or acquaintance. Repeat their signals to make sure you understand clearly what they said. It'll make them feel better and help to build trust.
4. Update conversation regularly
Language is one of the most powerful instruments on Earth. And speech—is to shape sentences and select words for what we have to say— becomes automatic at some point in our lives. At the same time, if you're building an artificial intelligence, you have to dismantle this unconscious model in order to teach the machine. Along the way, you'll learn how many ways there are to call things/objects, which words are most often missed, and how they could be used. Test the system with people who are different from habits. Search for the most common mistyping and errors. Finally, accept that building artificial intelligence takes a long time, and it won't work very well at first. But you can only learn from mistakes. Create boundaries to limit the number of errors.
5. Draw boundaries
We usually use web pages, apps, digital devices whose limitations are given by the width of the display, by the length of the page, or the number of buttons that can be clicked. We get used to these limitations and directional elements on the Internet, but the conversation is unlimited if you let it be like this. In order to maintain people's commitment, you have to create boundaries and paths that people feel familiar with. Guide people with executable instructions and buttons that guide them in conversation. Use buttons to make interactions look like websites and apps. Create content units to fix errors and get the conversation back to normal. Finally, educate visitors how to interact with your chatbot.
6. Get ready for errors
Unless your bot is entirely based on a template or uses only buttons, you'll make errors at some point you can't avoid. Also, the conversation could be unlimited, and you don’t have a good/available answer to everything users may raise over the months and years. Therefore, the best thing you can do is to make mistakes even though is painful. At first, show them that you understand their disappointment. Then offer options on how to handle the situation and get back to normal within the system. You may even provide an opportunity for human intervention. But what's important is that you don't show an unreasonably blank surface, with more question to come.
7. Every interaction counts
Every click and user input means something. What you should do is properly tag your content blocks to make it easier for you to interpret with your bot. Find out at which content blocks and inputs users leave. Check the reasons, and of course, get it right. It's also important to recognize that not all products are beneficial for the user, and so you don't have to maintain their interest at all times.
8. Help the user to help you
You can't plan everything your users want at any given moment. After all, as we've said, conversations are unlimited. So instead of always trying to figure out what people might want or asking them to fill out a questionnaire to get to know them, try to get them to give you a feedback directly through the bot in an interaction that seems natural. Let users tell you if your bot gave them the right answer, but also let them indicate what they want if they get the wrong answer.
9. Identify and target user feelings
In a conversation, there are many more emotions than in a user interface that is common on the Internet. You don't have to always ask users to give you feedback, because they're going to give you a feedback without even knowing they're doing it. Take advantage of their positive emotions to promote your product or let users do something for you. Identify negative feelings and take a step to save the situation. Don't respond to feelings with a default text because it makes users feel they need to understand their desires better. Bots are extremely effective tools when prepared properly. And they just get more efficient as time goes on.
Types of chatbots
There are two basic types of chatbots.
Pre-written (Scripted) - Conversations with this type of chatbot can only take place in a predetermined way and directions. For every question that arises, we get a pre-programmed answer. There's no way the chatbot can deviate from that. This is the simplest type of chatbot.
Intelligent - The use of artificial intelligence allows them to provide more flexible answers to users' questions. The chatbot learns from each conversation and next time it answers questions using these experiences. However, artificial intelligence also has limitations. The chatbot does not understand more complicated contexts and ambiguity, nor can it shape the conversation, it only provides answers.
How can chatbot be useful for me?
Shoppers prefer chat when contacting businesses, according to a survey by Facebook.
In the same survey, the following things were pointed out:
63% of survey participants communicate with businesses more than they did 2 years ago
67% of survey participants are expected to send more messages to businesses in the next two years than they have done so far.
It is clear that Facebook Messenger has become one of the main arenas for communicating with customers. The question arises, how will this message be handled by businesses? Plus, 24 hours a day.
In this situation, the application of the chatbot can be the perfect solution. Even a simpler chatbot can answer the most frequently asked questions instantly, even to thousands of users at once. And when the chatbot can't answer a question that's come up, it immediately forwards the message to the customer service team.
Chatbot trends in 2020-2021
Chatbots have brought revolutionary changes to people's lives in countless areas and their development remains unbroken. According to the forecasts of the coming years, chatbots will soon be ready to fully simulate human behavior, thereby freeing up a lot of human resources in the life of companies.
In the ever-increasing online competition, serving the needs of interested parties, potential customers or existing customers is increasingly a task for companies. Thanks to the different evaluation systems, there is an immediate trace of a customer's dissatisfaction with the service, so every company strives to provide the highest possible standard in this area.
But how can requests be made available 24 hours a day continuously and in countless areas? The answer, of course, lies in chatbots, which, with ever-higher intelligence, tirelessly help build a higher user experience for companies.