Several companies across different industries are discovering the potential of conversational bots to help automate and streamline operations, improve employee productivity, and boost employee and customer engagement. The initial version of conversational bots merely provided a simple response. However, today, AI-powered bots are much more powerful, sophisticated, and capable of providing answers to queries in the coming years.
Enterprises that will evolve will survive in the race of transformation. Artificial intelligence and emerging technologies will help make quick and informed decisions, as well as craft highly personalized experiences for both customers and employees.
A conversational bot automatically communicates through various digital media—including intelligent virtual agents, organizations’ apps, organizations’ websites, social platforms, and messenger platforms. Users can interact with bots, with voice or text, to access information, complete tasks, or execute transactions.
Journey of Chatbots
A chatbot is a buzzword.
Everybody seems to be talking about chatbots. Underlining technologies such as natural language processing, artificial intelligence, and machine learning are making chatbots smarter and adding to the hype.
But it is not just hype. If you thought chatbots are only a recent phenomenon, you are sadly mistaken. Micheal Mauldin coined chatterbot in 1994 describes conversational programs.
Chatbots are here to stay as its human nature to stay connected. Right from mails, smartphones to wearables, staying connected is the key. The shift is now towards artificial intelligence and chatbots.
Chatbots have transcended beyond simple scripts and rules and now commonly make use of artificial intelligence (A.I.), creating realistic experiences and human-like connections with users a more profound level.
ChatBot: The Journey of Evolution from conversational to human conversations
Chatbots is a computer program that uses text-based live chat for customers often designed to persuasively simulate how a human would interact as a conversational partner. Chatbots are interactive software platforms imitating human conversations or behaving like a human through voice commands, text chats, or both.
This technology humanizes conversation with computers in their native language via a computer interface — is gaining popularity in different scenarios, especially customer service.
Evolution of Chatbot: Timeline
The first-ever chatbot that could “interact” with people like a psychotherapist would.
A.L.I.C.E. (Artificial Linguistic Internet Computer Entity) is software chatbot created in A.I.M.L. (Artificial Intelligence Markup Language), an open, minimalist, stimulus-based language for creating bot personalities like A.L.I.C.E.
A virtual friend is 24 hours a day to talk to you. She learns by experience, so the more people talk to her, the smarter she becomes.
- Albert One
Albert One is an A.I. chatterbot bot created by Robby Garner and designed to mimic the way humans make conversations using a multi-faceted approach in natural language programming.
SmarterChild was a chatterbot available on AOL Instant Messenger and Windows Live Messenger
How Chatbots can help Empower Organization
Chatbots are now going mainstream gaining popularity in a variety of scenarios, especially customer service. The rapid proliferation of messaging apps, growth of the app ecosystem, as well as increasing sophistication of artificial intelligence (A.I.) and cognitive technologies have driven the growth of Chatbots.
The meteoric rise of messaging apps, growth of the app ecosystem, advancements in emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (A.I.) and cognitive technologies, a fascination with conversational user interfaces and a wider reach of automation are driving the chatbot trend.
- Enhance Employee Productivity
Automatically follow up on scheduled tasks
- Client Queries
Enhanced ability to handle client queries by networking with other bots
- Customer Engagement
Deliver highly personalized attention to clients/visitors to the website by being more conversational
- Team Collaboration
Facilitate more effective communication within the organization
- Customer Acquisition
Improve customer acquisition/retention by assisting web/Tele-calling customers through the order and payment process
Challenges in Chatbot Adoption
- User Adoption Hesitancy
- Reluctance to engage with a conversational bot
- Inability to include history/context for personalized experiences
- Adequately understand human input
- Privacy Concerns
- Handle concerns related to privacy, security, legal, and regulatory frontier
- Lack of Manpower
- Shortage of skilled developers
- Poor mechanisms for discoverability
Types of Chatbots
Informational bots identify information and resolve customer & employee questions, moving beyond conventional search results to provide customer-and context-specific results via voice, text, or visuals, reducing the effort to get accurate results.
- Tailored product knowledge to customers or employees to increase engagement.
- Enterprise Productivity
Custom enterprise bots, an emerging application of the technology, seamlessly connect enterprise data resources, streamlines enterprise flow of work, and increases efficiencies.
- Employees can use bots to review sales numbers, gauge the actual performance of marketing campaigns, or observe the exact status of inventory.
- Enterprise productivity bots work well to schedule meetings, speed and improve decision making, as well as foster greater collaboration.
Robust interfaces for mobile applications to book tickets, order food, and manage bank accounts. These bots allow customers to conduct several activities solely focused on enabling bot purchasing.
- Voice-based conversational bots such as Alexa assist in taking voice a mainstream way to pay.
Control Device control bots support conversational interfaces for connected devices such as wearables, home appliances, and vehicles to interact with each other—improving user experience. For instance, devices with virtual assistants such as smartphones and smart home speakers can function with connected smart home devices like thermostats, switches, and lights.
Chatbot: Next Stage
It is obvious that chatbot application development is opening up new horizons for businesses. As more and more companies take the plunge gaining first-mover advantage success ratio with technology grows. For companies taking the step ahead, it is important to chart a chatbot development strategy in place to address several issues to ensure that your bot stands tall among other competitors; understand customers experiences in terms of design and functionality; fully integrate its bots with its mobile and web service; and enhance robust security and privacy.
Your chatbot development strategy should be aligned with the company’s broader futuristic vision and strategy and lead to a comprehensive road map that assists the company’s bot efforts over time. Besides approach, what matters in the success of bot include development, deployment, and use.