Chatbots 101


Are you a fan of Marvel’s Iron Man and maybe a little jealous of Tony Stark because he has Jarvis, the personal virtual assistant who is capable of doing anything and everything Stark asks for and also has his egoistic personality?

If you are, have we got news for you?!

The reality of having your own Jarvis is closer than ever. Mark Zuckerberg has successfully developed his own Jarvis; although not as sophisticated as the movie version,  it is 10 times cooler because this one is real and it gives us the hope that one day we might all be in possession of one such technology. And this awesome technology could take businesses to a new era of customer service interaction.

We all know that consumers are adapting their purchasing behaviour rapidly, thanks to technology. Everything starts with a search these days and buying decisions are more often than not taken without the presence of a real sales person. Effectively, we are heading towards a content driven world where customers are provided with informative and entertaining content that will help them make an informed purchase decision that they are delighted to talk about to their friends; not only about the products or services, but also about the experience and the brand itself.

In April 2016, Facebook introduced chat bots on Facebook Messenger. Since then, numerous businesses have created their own chat bots for different messaging platforms, providing customers with valuable content and a direct line of communication with businesses, in private, any time of the day – traditionally that would have required a phone call or an e-mail to customer services that may or may not be answered.

Although not yet perfected, this futuristic technology is simply not to be ignored.

So here are a few questions you may like answered..

1. Chatbots…huh?

A chatbot is a computer-generated service built for a messaging platform, powered by rules or machine learning artificial intelligence (AI) to interact with users in the form of audio or text conversation.

2. Why bots? We already have mobile apps, websites with built in e-commerce and a customer service system.

The use of messaging apps has skyrocketed over the last few years, so it was natural to add the bots to an increasingly popular platform.

The bots answered a need for better online user-experience (UI) and increasing demand for a more instant, 24-hour customer service, that ensures a more personalised and convenient communication channel.

Today, the super advanced AI technology is leading the content world towards the next level UI.

Messaging apps such as Line and WeChat have add-on features such as wallet and chat transactions, allowing brands to become a “friend” with their customers and interact with them through interactive content and widgets; customers are loving this as they want to be heard and engaged by the brands they are loyal to.

Snapchat has Snap-wallet and Shoppable Stories, where users can add their debit cards and make purchases with a simple swipe whilst viewing content on the app.

Purchases are instant, gratifying and efficient.

Those are just a few examples of the endless possibilities this new platform could do for businesses in terms of engagement with their customers.


No.1: “Chatbots are super expensive and complicated, I can’t afford them.”

Truth: Chatbots CAN be very expensive and complicated, but it all comes down to your business needs and what you want to achieve with them. You can build one that simply answers to pre-set commands and keywords that your customers type into the chat, or one that auto-selects topics or articles that your customers are interested in and then sends them the relevant content.

Or you can have one that is AI based, which is so sophisticated that it could learn your customers’ behaviour and interests, and offer them suggestions. Chatbots can be so sophisticated that the unsuspecting customer will not realise that it was a chatbot that answered them.

If this is all getting too much,  do not despair, here is a little tip on us: if you cannot/ do not want to spend a lot of money yet, try building a chatbot on third party platform tools such as ChattyPeopleChatfuel, or Facebook Messenger.

No.2: “Chatbots can replace human to human interaction”

Truth: Nope. Well, not yet. Of course you could develop several Chatbots to serve different objectives and enhance your business content delivery and customer UI, but when it comes to complex situations involving human emotions, even the most complex AI would need the help of a human.

So for now, Chatbots can enhance your services, help customers save time and eliminate human errors, but they definitely are so far only able to help, not to replace humans.

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