Instant Messaging is the preferred mode of communication now, make no mistake about it. The millennials prefer texting to calling. The popularity of messaging apps has changed the way people communicate. These messaging apps have also spurred a Chatbot revolution. The Chatbot is essentially a chat agent driven by artificial intelligence that can communicate with users. Many of these Chatbot applications are built on top of messaging services and offer utility to end users like placing orders, finding weather updates or stock market fluctuations.
Chatbots are not new in the world of computer science. Infact, they have existed for decades. Eliza was the first chatbot created by the German professor at MIT Lab in 1966. It used to provide human like interactions, where people could converse with it and get answers to their questions based on pattern matching techniques. The chatbots have evolved over the years. Apple’s Siri, Facebook Messenger apps, Amazon’s Alexa are all pushing the boundaries of what bots can do. These bots are now powered with artificial intelligence, natural language processing and self learning capabilities. We are entering a new era of computing with these intelligent chatbots assisting in finding new places to visit, booking restaurants, ordering groceries, paying your bills, scheduling meetings and answering many of your questions. Here is a look at some of the interesting chatbots that will be driving the future:
1. Flight Finder, hotels & travel :
Travel portals can make use of chatbots to converse with customers, get their requirements and offer them the best offers based on their needs. The travel bots can be used to communicate with customers, answer their queries and offer them customised options. You can talk to the travel bot and tell them your requirements, your schedule, your flight options and hotel preferences etc. The chatbot will be able to find out the best deals for you & will also offer personalised recommendations for you based on the nature of your travel. The chatbot can also offer personalised recommendations for attractions, events & places for a traveller.
2. Ecommerce stores :
When ordering items from ecommerce portals, the customers should be able to talk to the agents and get their queries addressed. Ecommerce stores can create such agents that can address the queries of the customers in automated fashion. FAQs, Return policy or basic product information can be answered through the use of bots. The bots can engage the customers, based on the interactions suggest them the best options. For some cases, the bots can also transfer the session to Customer service executives. The idea is to improve customer interaction when they’re on the portal. Price alerts, offers and personalised recommendations based on the user’s purchase history can also be sent to users by the chatbot.
3. Customer Proposals & enquiries catalogue :
A chatbot can automate interactions with prospects for delivering information & proposals for your products/services. Once you have the prospect information, the chatbot can send product information & proposals to the prospects with a simple command. When customers enquire about your products or services, they should be able to get a reply promptly. The agents can help to automate handling the product enquiries. For the interested prospects, the agent can also send an automated proposal with a simple file transfer.
4. Banking :
The banks can use chatbots as virtual assistants on phones or FB Messenger. The bots can be used by users to transfer money with a simple message, make bill payments, get travel cards, Forex deals etc. The chatbot can also tell you about your balance, transaction history and also notify the latest offers from the bank. The users can also interact with the banks to know more about the products and services from the banks. The customer interactions can be automated with the chatbots reducing the need for manual interactions that take up significant time & efforts. The grievances, feedback and customer issues can also be handled with the chatbots for faster resolutions.
5. Finding Jobs :
Finding the right job for your profile requires tedious efforts. However, searching jobs can be made easy with chatbots. The chatbots can be programmed to work like placement agencies. You can talk to them about the kind of job profile you’re looking for, the locations, packages, and the companies you’re looking for. The chatbot can also apply to these open positions on your behalf and notify you when you receive calls for an interview.
6. Discounts & Offers :
A chatbot can work as a virtual assistant and help you find the best deals in the town for you. They can track your online purchases, shop locations you visit and your surfing habits. A chatbot can pull interesting offers and discounts near you with personalised recommendations. The chatbots can improve its recommendations based on the user feedback for the offers made to them. This chatbot will ensure that you will never miss a great offer around you.
7. Fun & Jokes :
Chatbots can mimic human beings for conversations. They can also act as stress relievers for people.
These chatbots can be programmed to talk with you and also entertain you with humorous comments and jokes. You can ask the chatbot to tell you something funny or a joke. They can also show you cartoons, pictures and videos to keep you entertained. These chatbots can also be leveraged by brands for marketing their companies and engage users.
8. Call center & Customer Support :
Customer support job is hard, time consuming and often thankless. A chatbot is an ideal tool to handle customer related queries, address their concerns and route the call to experts, if need be. With chatbots, the customer responsiveness can be improved. The repetitive tasks can be handled by the chatbots. The frequently asked queries can be addressed by chatbots. For e.g. insurance companies can deploy chatbots to answer information regarding claims, they can get the customers to fill all required information and collect relevant details before transferring the details for the settlement. The generic information for claims, insurance policies etc can also be answered by chatbots.
9. Education & Learning :
There are lot of interesting learning applications that can be handled by chatbots. The chatbots can be used to teach foreign languages to users. One can have a conversation with them where they can do the translations realtime. The chatbots can handout tips for time management; best practices and recommend learning tutorials as per users’ preferences. The chatbot can be used to share the latest tutorials on technology, related videos or white papers with its users. Companies can also develop chatbots to create training content through messages. People can now chat with the bots to get personalised and specific content they are looking for.
10. Enterprise Application bots :
These chatbots can be built on top of various enterprise applications like CRM, AMS or any other business process application. The chatbot can talk to the user to notify the important tasks that need to be done. Say a meeting is due with the customer, or a quotation needs to be sent to a prospect then the chatbot can simply send a message to the user reminding the same. The users can also send simple messages to the bot to get things done. For e.g. schedule meeting with Sr. Account Manager at CCD club. And the bot would do the needful. These chatbots will be able to accomplish tasks based on simple messages; they will also be able to alert the users on important events. The chatbots can use the conversational interface to make software applications more intuitive and easy than ever before.
WeChat, Facebook, Line, Telegram, Slack are now providing the platforms for developers to build chatbots. These chatbots will be able to provide value added services to their users. Now you can book a taxi from your FB messenger itself, you don’t need to login to Uber or any other app to book a taxi. You can use the chatbot for restaurant recommendations, booking an appointment with the doctor, parking passes, ordering pizza, flowers, and do much more. The WeChat bot platform has changed the way people interact and do business in China. With the major push from leading technology companies like Apple, FB, Amazon, Google & Microsoft, the future of bot technology looks very promising & exciting.