Chatbots are becoming mainstream, featuring in many homes. Think Alexa, Siri, Google home. But there is still confusion about what a Chatbot really is and how they can be used, particularly by business. So what is a chatbot? A chatbot enables people to converse and engage with technology, thru the use of artificial intelligence powered software, without the need or human intervention. Put simply, it can intelligently answer questions or perform tasks, without the need of humans.

So how do Chatbots work?

Broadly speaking, Chatbots work in two ways. The simple rules- based bots, which is a Chatbot that answers questions that are based on a set of rules on which it is trained. The Chatbot would reference a list of question and answers based on a set of rules that defines the question. If this question is asked, this is the answer.
The more sophisticated Chatbots are complex and are self-taught. They use machine learning to classify questions and to reference a library of information to formulate a response. They can answer questions based on the profile of the user to ensure the answer is relevant to the user, not just a generic question. A query about a flight is more complex, as the answer required relates to you rather than just a list of flights.

Chatbots, what are they and how do I use them?

Source: Cognizant

Natural Language Processing and Chatbots

One thing all Chatbots have in common is natural language processing (NLP). This is the field of study focused on the interaction between languages and computers. NLP enables programs to understand human language. It can understand text and overlay the text with an understanding of the context of the text and the topic. NLP is particularly useful in business when text is translated to the nuances of the business. For example, the word ‘power’ to an energy company means electricity as opposed to ‘power’ to the fitness industry meaning strength. The great news is there are existing NLP toolkits, in many languages, that are available at present.

Chatbots are changing business

A Garter report estimated that by 2020, chatbots will be handling 85% of customer-service interactions. At present, they are already handling about 30% of transactions now. This will save billions of dollars globally in costs to business.

So how can your business use Chatbots?

Chatbots are a great way to answer customer queries. Simple Chatbots reference simple answers to simple questions. But there is an opportunity to build more sophisticated machine learning enabled Chatbots that will add a greater level of customer service to businesses. The ability to intelligently learn from questions, to provide a more accurate response, is the future of Chatbots and engaged customer service.

Black Belt Digital can support your business to articulate how Chatbots can deliver better customer experiences. We offer practical solutions, with proven experience, in machine learning and artificial intelligence.