What is an AI chatbot?
Chatbot, otherwise bot, chatterbot, smart conversation robot, virtual advisor, assistant, or specialist is software that communicates with you in natural language. A wider chatbot definition can be found on wikipedia pages.
The word comes from the English word chat (conversation) and the bot (a program that performs some activities in the replacement of man, which implies its behavior).
OK, but what is an AI chatbot? It is a computer program, an application that uses the latest in IT, artificial intelligence and, above all, natural language processing (NLP). Chatterbots are programmed to simulate conversations with the computer user through analytical, recognition and speech synthesis. The synthesis method we use is called TTS (text to speech) and thus the bot is able to convert text information into an artificially generated voice signal. The goal of all speech synthesis specialists is the most accurate representation of human speech.
We can develop and refine our language analysis methods so that our chatbot not only processes text from speech-to-speech, but also really talks to users, answers their questions, provides information, and helps them navigate web pages, making them irreplaceable.
In the age of the internet, bots are no longer just research or curiosity, but they gain new skills and become an extremely useful tool that brings real benefits eg. delivering news right on time.
So the answer for – What is an AI chatbot – should be – something that you should start using in your business today.
Where you can use chatterbot?
Tests of the first chat robots confirm their superiority in areas such as customer service and service delivery. First and foremost, the use of chat robots is straightforward, as opposed to applications that have mostly the same interface for each user.
It is not just software to satisfy small aspirations like ordering pizza or shoes, chatterbots also aim to replace assistants in companies – handle customers and execute processes that so far cost too much money and time.
Some types of chatbots – Online Robot Examples
- Shopping bots
Sellers have noted a sevenfold increase in purchases made online in the last 5 years, so the move to commerce, in the wake of conversational commerce on messenger platforms is a natural play. When shopping in a store we often use the help of salespeople, advisors. Of course, online platforms tend to offer better terms, discounts or a larger selection of products, but they will not help us make a purchase decision. Chatbots of big shopping portals are supposed to fill this gap.
The implementation of the chatbot for the online shopping network, Spring, has shown Facebook’s first aspirations to become the Western response to the Asian giant WeChat. For the first time in the history of Messenger, users have been able to shop online straight through the communicator and take into account the help that virtual assistant can provide.
Spring brings together more than 800 brands and designers, and the shopping process begins with the chatbot question about our sex, the type of product we are looking for and the price range. After this short interview the user gets a box of thumbnails with suggested products, which when clicked – transfer to the online store.
The creators spent a lot of time observing the typical behavior of their customers, and after a few weeks in action, the bots on the Messenger are being constantly improved to be even better.
There is also a chatbot for those who are looking for opportunities and price promotions – PennyCat, chatbot providing information about current discounts. Just enter the store or brand you are interested in, and in response we will get available at this time promotions or discount code to use.
- Utility bots
Online chat bots are replacing apps, even those that belong to really big companies. There are dozens of chatbot examples in this group. Bot Sure, helping to find the right place for lunch or coffee, was created by the growing aversion of its creator to the need to use 5 different applications to choose a restaurant and cafe. So he joined the full base in one chatbot, which, depending on our current needs, will indicate the ideal location. Starbucks tried to get us used to using its application, which was supposed to make it easier to order coffee every day, but statistics show that only 16% of customers choose to use it. It will certainly be a better step to build a bot for the platform we already have, rather than forcing customers to download the next one.
KLM also noted the potential of moving its operations to the communicator. When you book your ticket, you can opt to receive automatic notifications on Facebook Messenger. KLM sends information about the ticket you have purchased, upcoming check-in times and even our electronic ticket. Everything takes place within a well-known application, and the access is extremely simple.
A typical chatbot that supports all flights will be InstaLocate. If you are not interested in using external FlighRadar24 applications, we can simply send a bot with the flight number that we want to check and he will send detailed information such as possible delay, current position of the aircraft, scheduled landing time.
It is hard not to mention the sensational and well known in the world of bots – Hi Poncho. It is the first weather chatbot ever presented at the Facebook F8 conference. His capabilities are constantly growing, as the team has already gathered first data from users, and patches are being implemented on a regular basis.
About 3 programmers worked for 3 months to create Poncho and the results are really satisfactory. Online chat bot is able to carry with us a loose, interesting conversation on topics deviating from the weather. So, the functionality of small talk is most preserved. Of course, Poncho’s most important mission is to inform us of the weather, and it comes out great. The user gives his location and, in response, receives the current temperature and data on expected precipitation.
Then we can set a subscription so that every day at the specified time the bot itself sends this report. It will not be pushy, but here the creators have used a smart trick – a user with push notifications will receive a weather forecast, but only after the message has been read the right report will be send.
- News bots
The solution to the problem of overflowing information that will flood us every day will certainly be news bots. According to research-live.com, 55% of Internet users visit 2 to 3 news sites trying to bypass the avalanche of content, but it is not a reliable source of sorting news. 44% of respondents use the content on their social networks once a week, and 29% of respondents – once a day.
We rely on materials shared by others, because we do not have to tear ourselves through tons of content. But with the increase in the popularity of social networking sites, the amount of information appearing on them is increasing, and in the end, every minute there are 684 478 new posts on Facebook. In this case, we can reach the smart chatbots from the best news sites in the world and entrust them with the mission of taking care of providing us with our daily news feed.
Hopefully this chatbot examples showed you that the possibilities of conversational AI are endless.
How to make chat bots? Create it in a few steps
First of all – what do you have to remember before you decide to create a chatbot?
- Decide what do you need your chatbot for
Would you like to use it as an additional traffic source for your website or as a showroom for your products? Maybe you need tools to improve the work of customer service? Bot is able to accomplish everything, but you have to have a clear vision. 63% bot users declare that this is the fastest way to get an answers to simple questions, and 37% is ready to make transactions with them.
- Start slowly
It is important to divide the task – how to make a bot – to several stages. First, implement the basic functions and see how it works. With this knowledge you will be able to make corrections and updates in the next phase. It is important to listen to the voices of your audience – ultimately they are using the bot and they know what they need the most.
Remember, if the customer experience is negative, 73% of them will not come back. Therefore, it is important to have a gradual and thoughtful introduction of change. It is also important to clearly communicate that they speak with a machine – 75% of people prefer to know who is on the other side of the screen, and 50% claims to know the difference.
- AI suggested suggestions?
Do not fool yourself – it is not easy to create a program that foresees all scenarios of conversation. Do not let your customers guess what they might ask for on bot chat. Offer them more templates with a few answers to choose from, and you’ll know what they really need.
- Think about what information you want to collect
Chatbot offers great opportunities to collect information about your customers. So you should take some time to implement and consider what information you need. Are you a pizzeria network? Ask for a postcode. You will know which menu version to present. Maybe you are working in a fashion industry, have an ecommerce store and it is important for you to know their shopping preferences?
Ask them to choose their favorite styles from the ones you are presenting, and the next time they talk to the bot, you’ll be able to show the sets that match their tastes. Remember that you can always forward all your data to your marketing automation system and send messages to other channels.
Bot chat can also initiate conversations with users you have previously spoken with. This form of “newsletter” has a much larger open rate and clickability than traditional emails. But you have to remember that the frequency of communication must be much smaller and the content itself much more personalized.
- Create the personality of your bot
It is important that your bot feels natural. Chatbot is supposed to say “Hi”, “Good morning”, “Dear members”. Match the way your bot communicates to your brand image. Bot can not pretend to be a human, but you have to give him some human qualities like a sense of humor. This will allow users to better identify with it.
Free chatbot app platforms …plus some paid solutions 🙂
- Beep Boop
Beep Boop is a hosting chatbot app platform that is designed for developers looking to make apps for Facebook Messenger and Slack. Bots created with Beep Boop are able to interact with your customers with real-time chat and messaging.
Chatfuel is another bot app platform that makes it easy to create own Facebook and Telegram Chatbot without any coding knowledge. It works by letting users link to external sources through plugins. It is definitely a chatbot creator worth seeing.
Chattypeople is great choice to create chatbot with integrated Facebook commerce. Using Chattypeople website you can create a Facebook message both quickly and there is no coding required. You can make a simple bot answering customer service questions or integrate it with Shopify to monetize your Facebook fan pages. Chattypeople is 100% free to get started.
- Facebook Messenger Platform
It is possible to build your own bot directly through the platform’s landing page. There is a lot of resources that this chat app platform provides in order to let you know how to make a bot and help you build your own bot – for starters – guides, case studies and a forum for Facebook developers.
Build a chatbot with bot maker – best practices
Below we provide you with some technical tips worth remembering.
- Immediate event handling. The server that provides the webhook should respond as soon as possible. This step may be to move the message to the queue, but it is very important. Some platforms do not tolerate delays. It is worth protecting, already at the stage of the project.
- Constant process assigned to the user. The user during the conversation should be supported by the same process. This implementation guarantees message handling in the order in which they were sent.
- Load balancing. The event queue should, where appropriate, balance the number of users in the processes.
- We should prepare for a situation in which the process will end with an exception (especially at prototype stage). The queue must be able to transfer its tasks to other processes.
- Event processing loop. The loop that processes the data consists of several steps: retrieving messages from the queue, retrieving the state of the conversation with the user, handling the message, saving the changed state, and possibly responding.
- Data storage. The location of the conversation should be stored in the database. The good database has a flexible structure and a short access time (write and read). A reasonable choice is the NoSQL database. Due to the simple data format MongoDB may be a good choice. Storage of the data can be also handled inside the chat bot maker platform of your choice.
As you can see knowing how to build a chatbot with chatbot app platform is one thing but having it extended and running smoothly may require some support from IT professionals.
Find someone to build you a chatbot
“I’m not an chatbot expert – I need to run my business and I don’t have time to master chatbot building” – don’t worry you don’t have to. There are freelancers and companies who can do that for you. Not only they specialise in chatbots – thanks to their knowledge and prior realisations they will build your chatbot quickly and reliably, how to automate some processes – they know what kind of questions and problems users may have – remember – experience is a key here.
They can work on their own and get that totally out of your mind or you can support them by providing info about your business and build even better chatbot. This will definitely pay back in the future. Happy customer is a customer who comes back and refers you to his friends.
Best chatbots online
It is hard to tell which chatbot is the best AI chatbot out there. Like with any other kind of software – it’s hard to compare apps created for totally different purposes.
- Duolingo – learn the new language having conversation with the bot.
- GymBot – an AI chatbot online that tracks your training efforts.
- Dinner Ideas – will suggest the perfect recipe for you.
- Hipmunk – allows users to ask questions like “when is the best time to go to Washington D.C. from Philadelphia?” or “what is the cheapest hotel in Los Angeles?” – probably the most useful chatbot online for travelers that you can imagine.
Conversational AI is a vast topic. Even answer for the simple question – what are AI chatbots is not so obvious and definitely not a short one. The most important thing to remember is that chatbots can – and in the future – will automate lots of tedious task that customer service centers perform right now.
There is definitely no such thing like one best AI chatbot but rather lots of great and constantly improved conversational AI apps that allow businesses to grow. You don’t need to know how to build a chatbot, especially not the complicated one – but if you are aware that there are bot app platforms and chatbot creators – you know what or who to look for. Probably it is also a good idea to start reading some chatbot magazine to stay up to date on this exciting technology.