By now you would have heard about chat bots and how they’re changing the way we interact online. Yes, the robots are coming, but they’re coming to do all the boring tasks nobody wants to do anyway. Chat Bots are a great way for entrepreneurs to step into the Fourth Digital Industrial Revolution with an efficient and cost-effective way to automate processes.
Understanding Chat Bots
Chat Bots are a form of Artificial Intelligence, and fall into the category of Programmed AI. The other category is Full AI and includes Google’s AI chatbot and the incredible robots created by the likes of Boston Dynamics. Chat Bots for your business are programmed with a set of rules, questions and answers.
The bots understand natural language which means it knows that someone asking ‘Where can I order a pizza nearby’ and ‘Where can I buy pizza’ means the same thing. It understands context, so the bot won’t suggest a pizza place 50 kilometers from your location. The bots are constantly learning and the people who programme them, like the team at Blue Robot, monitor the stats to determine drop off points, in order to become more relevant. MTN Business recently used a Chat Bot to answer questions about The Digital Entrepreneur Masterclass. Pre-programmed with a list of relevant questions, the bot could tell users where the event would be held, who was speaking, which partners would showcase new technology and more.
Why Use Bots?
In a user-centric world, dialing in to a call centre is a frustrating and time-consuming task. Social media has become the ultimate customer service platform. Customers complain, ask questions and make all kinds of enquiries on Twitter, Facebook and other channels. Twitter in particular, has become the quick and easy way for brands and their markets to engage.
When you’re stuck in meetings or working on in depth projects, answering queries can become tricky and customers expect immediate feedback. Chat bots take the entire task off the hands of staff and business owners by engaging with users online in a relevant and clear way. As long as you have programmed the right answers into the system, you won’t have to answer mundane questions via social media.
It might seem very high tech, and it is to a certain extent, but that doesn’t mean chat bots are expensive. It all depends on how complicated the questions and answers around your business are. Companies like Blue Robot scale their pricing based on the complexity of the programming involved. Transactional bots have become increasingly popular across many markets. Uber, for example, uses a chat bot within Facebook Messenger to help users book and pay for a ride, and sends users the driver details.
Don’t Fear the Bots
If you’re really worried about robots taking over human jobs, you can rest assured this certainly is not the case. The point of bots is to save time and automate processes, not to make humans unnecessary. Business owners will still need to communicate with high intent customers. If you’d rather deal with customers who are ready to make a purchasing decision instead of those still in the discovery and research stage, chat bots are the way to go!