Virtual agents that can converse with people for products and services have become a need with the widespread use of personal computers and mobiles. People are now spending more time on their mobiles with messaging apps than they are on social networks. This is causing a change in the way businesses will be done in future. Messaging apps are the future platforms and chatbots are the new marketing tools of the future.

According to report by Business Insider, by 2020, 80% of businesses want chatbots.

So, what are chatbots? If you are new to this term, this blog attempts to throw some light on what chatbots are how they are useful for your business.

In simple terms, chatbots are software programs that interact with users using a chat interface. Chatbots use artificial intelligence to simulate a real conversation with users. These chats could range from entertainment to solving life’s problems to any business-related queries using any of the chat apps, such as Facebook Messenger, Discord, Telegram, or Slack.
A chatbot interaction could be something like this – A Mumbai based online fashion shopping company Shopsense, launched a botfriend named Fify, in their app Fynd. Fify is conversational commerce bot for discovery and transactions. Fify is an intelligent fashion discovery and transaction bot, that helps customers with all their style related queries and gives them personalized suggestions related to fashion. Once a customer selects a product on Fify, they can complete the transaction using their mobiles without even having to install the app. So, buying fashion clothing is as simple as chatting with a bot, choosing your products, and completing your transaction using the chatbot’s help.

Some other areas where chatbots are being used are:

Weather forecasting

A weather bot helps you with local weather information for which ever city you want.
On-demand services
These bots help you with getting your day-to day issues fixed. For example, WeChat is a bot that can help you can get almost anything on-demand, like hiring a plumber, electrician, gardener, or a cleaner, buy movie tickets, and pay your bills. You can do this instantly via a simple text message.

Banking and personal finance

These bots use conversational Artificial Intelligence software and have a deep understanding of banking and finance. For example, MyKAI is a finance bot that helps you manage your finances, banking transactions, analyze spending, answer banking related questions just via simple text messages posted on the bank’s mobile app or on Facebook Messenger or any such messenger app.

Healthcare

A Healthcare bot delivers personalized care to patients. This bot helps to book appointments, track medical records and payments, and also educates the patient about his or her self-care. For example, HealthTap is a healthcare bot that connects doctors to patients.

Customer Support

Chatbots help to speed-up customer support processes. Chatbots are useful when having to deal with requests that are very similar in nature by automating repetitive requests. It also enhances the user experience while using technical assistance as customers do not have to go through long calls and explain their problems to customer support agents repeatedly.

Why are bots so important for your business?

According to surveys conducted by GlobalWebIndex states that more than 75-80% of Internet users now own a smartphone and are connected to at least one messenger, which means that if these chatbots reside within a messenger platform, it will help businesses to connect with their customers easily.

Rapid advancement in artificial intelligence technologies has allowed chatbots to become a powerful futuristic tool for businesses. Artificial intelligence compounded with natural language processing has made machine parsing and understanding of spoken or written requests very accurate. Another significant factor that has led to an increase in the use of bots is the integration of payments and commerce into devices supports secure and easy payments via devices.

There are several advantages of using bots in business – especially in customer support.

Bots are very useful to handle customer queries that are similar or repetitive in nature as it saves time. If this information is personalized, it can improve customer retention and loyalty. It is easily accessible to a customer 24×7. It can maintain multiple conversations at the same time, which a human cannot.

It helps improve customer satisfaction. A bot, being a program, treats all customers in the same way irrespective of bad customer behavior. It uses a customer’s order history to makes suggestions for the next order, remembers ordering details, such as addresses, phone numbers, and makes customer interactions simple and smooth. This factor gives businesses an edge over their competition.

A Chatbot is definitely a very powerful futuristic tool for improving brand image and enhancing customer engagement for businesses. It helps reduce costs and resources. As AI is being better understood and getting easier to integrate, chatbots will become smarter than before and soon become an important element of a company’s marketing strategy. Businesses need to rethink their communication strategies to strengthen their presence in the channels most preferred by their customers, which, for now, are messenger apps.

What is your ‘chatbots strategy’? If you need any assistance, do drop us a message and we will have our chatbot experts talk you through various possibilities which are most suitable for your business!

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