Everything you always wanted to know about Chatbots

Did you know that:

  • More than 33.000 Messenger chatbots have been developed since April 2016?
  • 55% of web users rely on instant messaging on a daily basis?
  • 6B messaging users are predicted before 2018?
  • The AI market is expected to be worth over $16B by 2022?
  • Messaging and Social Media are generation Y’s No.1 contact channel?
  • In 5 years, 80% of apps will have migrated to messaging platforms that include bots?

Messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger, which boasts around an astounding 900 million active users, show tremendous promise for improving customer support experience. The growth of messaging apps that has surpassed that of social networks is now allowing chatbots to become a reality.

Rather than picking up your phone and being placed on hold for what feels like an eternity, you can simply open up your favourite messenger, and chat with an automated customer service chatbot. Similarly, you can place an order online without creating an account at an unfamiliar website, or navigating a complicated app. Simply talk to the retailer’s chatbot, get all your questions answered, and make a purchase hassle free.

What is then a Chatbot?

A chatbot is a service, powered by rules and sometimes artificial intelligence, that you interact with via a chat interface. The service could be any number of things, ranging from functional to fun, and it could live in any major chat product (Facebook Messenger, Slack, Telegram, Text Messages, etc.). For instance, a coffee machine, can be a bot. You’ll press a botton and it will mechanically serve your coffee. Whether it’s in a conversation, live chat, messaging, a social network, etc.,bots can answer a human being instead of another human being.

Bot examples

  • The service providing chatbot. This bot notifies you about your confirmation order and allows you to react to the conversation if you need to find out more information about your reservation.
  • The experential chatbot. The bot builds a positive environment around the smokers within a “Smoke Free” Facebook page dedicated to their efforts and their encouragement of their supporters.
  • The commercial chatbot. It helps you to order pizza, obtain the current promotional deals and allows you to pay online via Messenger.
  • The entertainment chatbot. If you are a sport’s fan this can help you to gain as much possible knowledge in order to increase your chances of winning.

Here are a couple of other examples:

  • Weather bot. Get the weather whenever you ask.
  • Grocery bot. Help you pick out and order groceries for the week.
  • News bot. Ask it to tell you whenever something interesting happens.
  • Life advice bot. You’ll tell it your problems and it helps you think of solutions.
  • Personal finance bot. It helps you manage your money better.
  • Scheduling bot. Get you a meeting with someone on the Messenger team at Facebook.
  • A bot that’s your friend. In China there is a bot called Xiaoice, built by Microsoft, that over 20 million people talk to.

Why Chatbots are such a big opportunity?

It’s simple, because for the first time ever people are using messenger apps more than they are using social networks. So, logically, if you want to build a business online, you want to build where the people are. That place is now inside messenger apps.

This is why chatbots are such a big deal. It’s potentially a huge business opportunity for anyone willing to jump headfirst and build something people want.

How do Chatbots work?

There are two types of chatbots:

  • Chatbot that functions based on rules: This bot is very very limited. It can only respond to very specific commands. If you say the wrong thing, it doesn’t know what you mean. This bot is only as smart as it is programmed to be.
  • Chatbot that functions using machine learning: This bot has an artificial brain AKA artificial intelligence. You don’t have to be ridiculously specific when you are talking to it. It understands language, not just commands. This bot continuously gets smarter as it learns from conversations it has with people.

I told you previously that chatbots are based on artificial intelligence. So, if you want to make a chatbot, do you need to be an expert at artificial intelligence to be able to build something that has artificial intelligence? 

No, you don’t have to be an expert at artificial intelligence to create an awesome chatbot that has artificial intelligence. Just make sure to not over promise on your application’s abilities. If you can’t make the product good with artificial intelligence right now, it might be best to not put it in yet.

However, over the past decade quite a bit of advancements have been made in the area of artificial intelligence, so much in fact that anyone who knows how to code can incorporate some level of artificial intelligence into their products.


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