What are AI Chatbots and What They are Used For?


What are AI Chatbots and What They are Used For?

Understanding AI Chatbots

Chatbots are computer applications that employ artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) to comprehend inquiries from customers and provide automatic responses, effectively mimicking a human conversation.

The Importance of AI Chatbots

Chatbots simplify the process for users to acquire needed information by answering their inquiries and requests, using either textual or voice inputs, and without necessitating human intervention.

This technology is pervasive, found in everything from home smart speakers to office messaging apps. Present-day AI chatbots, sometimes referred to as “virtual assistants” or “virtual agents”, can use voice commands like Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa, or communicate via SMS text messaging. Users can make queries conversationally and the chatbot can assist in refining the search via responses and follow-up questions.

How AI Chatbots Work

In the past, chatbots were primarily text-based and designed to respond to a restricted array of simple queries with pre-scripted responses from the developers. These chatbots functioned like interactive FAQs but struggled with complex or unanticipated questions. Over time, chatbots have incorporated more rules and natural language processing, allowing users to engage with them conversationally.

The latest chatbots are contextually aware and capable of learning from increased exposure to human language. Modern AI chatbots utilize natural language understanding (NLU) to ascertain a user’s requirements, then employ sophisticated AI techniques to comprehend the user’s intent. This functionality relies on machine learning and deep learning, subfields of AI, to progressively build a comprehensive knowledge base of queries and responses based on user interactions, thereby improving their accuracy and relevance over time.

For instance, when asked about the weather for the next day, a standard chatbot could provide a simple response about whether it will rain. An AI chatbot, conversely, might also suggest setting an earlier alarm to accommodate for a potentially longer commute due to the rain.

Comparing AI Chatbots

The terms chatbot, AI chatbot, and virtual agent are sometimes used interchangeably, as some chatbots now employ complex algorithms for more detailed responses. However, the deep learning capabilities of AI chatbots enable them to improve the accuracy of their interactions over time, establishing a network of suitable responses via human interactions. Hence, an AI chatbot utilizing deep learning is likely to offer a more detailed and accurate response to a question, and especially to the underlying intention of the question, than a chatbot recently equipped with algorithm-based knowledge.

Chatbot Applications

AI chatbots are employed for a variety of tasks by consumers, such as interacting with mobile apps or using intelligent devices like smart thermostats and kitchen appliances. Businesses also find diverse uses for them. For instance, marketers use AI chatbots for personalized customer experiences, IT teams for enabling self-service, and customer contact centers to manage incoming communications and direct customers to resources.

AI chatbots can be found on social media messaging apps, standalone messaging platforms, or web applications. Some common use cases include providing local restaurant recommendations, assisting with form fields in financial applications, scheduling healthcare appointments, offering customer service for brands, setting reminders based on time or location, and providing real-time weather conditions with corresponding clothing suggestions.

Advantages of AI Chatbots

Modern AI chatbots analyze data within human language to provide highly personalized experiences, resulting in significant benefits for both businesses and customers.

Enhancing Customer Engagement and Brand Loyalty

In the era before mature e-commerce, customers had to email or call a business for any inquiries or issues, awaiting a human response. Maintaining customer service departments to handle unpredictable demand and ensuring staff provides consistent responses to similar or repetitive inquiries can be challenging and costly for many businesses. Today, chatbots can manage customer interactions around the clock while continually improving response quality and reducing costs. Chatbots automate workflows, freeing employees from monotonous tasks and eliminating prolonged wait times for phone or email support, as they are immediately available to multiple users at once. This improved user experience increases the likelihood of customers staying loyal to the brand.

Cutting Costs and Increasing Operational Efficiency

Maintaining a 24/7 customer support center is costly and may not be feasible for some departments, such as human resources. Outsourcing this function has its own considerable costs and reduces control over the brand’s interactions with its customers. A chatbot, on the other hand, can answer queries at any time, serving as a first line of support, providing additional assistance during peak times, or presenting an alternate support option. Using a chatbot can lessen the number of users who need human assistance, potentially saving businesses from scaling up staff due to increased demand or implementing round-the-clock support staff.

Generating Leads and Pleasing Customers

Chatbots can aid in generating sales leads and improving conversion rates. For instance, a customer perusing a website might have questions about product features or different plans. A chatbot can provide these answers, helping the customer decide on a product or service or take the next step toward a purchase. For complex purchases with a multistep sales funnel, a chatbot can qualify the lead before connecting the customer with a trained sales agent.

Choosing AI Chatbots

Choosing a chatbot platform can be straightforward and offer significant benefits to businesses and users. Supplying customers with a responsive, conversational channel can help meet expectations for instant, always-available interactions while controlling costs. For instance, an e-commerce company might deploy a chatbot to provide browsing customers with more detailed product information, highlight differences between models, and offer additional user guides and instructional videos. Similarly, an enterprise’s HR department may seek a chatbot that can provide employees with 24/7 access to benefits information and aid in navigating that information without requiring human interaction.

AI Chatbots Examples:

Bing Chat
Google Bard
HubSpot Chatbot Builder
Watson Assistant
Appy Pie Chatbot
Zendesk Answer Bot
Salesforce Einsten

The Future of AI Chatbots

Like all forms of AI, chatbots are constantly developing and enhancing our human potential. By managing mundane tasks with superior efficiency, chatbots provide an opportunity for humans to channel their energy towards more inventive, innovative, and strategic pursuits.

No matter the stage of your entrepreneurial journey, leveraging chatbots can greatly enhance customer interaction, widen your customer reach, swiftly qualify leads, and facilitate effortless expansion into global markets. Considering these extensive benefits, integrating chatbots into your business operations now is a strategic move towards robust growth.

Adrian Carver, who holds a Master’s degree in Computer Science, brings over 20 years of experience in the tech field. Throughout his career, he has served in various roles, including Computer Engineer, Network Engineer, Software Developer and Software Engineer. Since the start of the pandemic, he has been working entirely remotely. Adrian has a strong interest in technology and science.