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What is a chatbot?

Posted April 30, 2019

Chatbot – otherwise known as virtual assistant or consultant. A chatbot is an artificial intelligence in a computer programme which, once appropriately programmed, will take over certain human tasks within the scope of communication and interaction, imitating human speech via auditory or text methods.

Its main task is to conduct dialogue in such a way for its interlocutor to be convinced that they are conversing with a human, which should establish a level of trust required to carry out a sale process.

Chatbots can be programmed to automatically differentiate their responses in accordance with the given situation on the basis of an analysis of data which they receive. A virtual assistant of such type will not any respond to questions, but will actually engage in a conversation, asking additional questions in order to receive more accurate information which will be used in a decision making or sales process or which might, now or in the future, help with tailoring messages or quotes to the recipient’s requirements.

Today, there are two types of chatbot – the first is based on a set of rules. Such a chatbot responds to given commands on the basis of a question–response model, and uses keywords. We know such bots from Messenger for example. These are perfect for subscriptions, flight or hotel bookings, making orders, planning schedules, etc.

The other type is based on an artificial intelligence. and adapts its behaviour on the basis of its interaction with a customer. Such chatbots understand the entire context and content of a given conversation, as well as its intent, rather than just keywords. They associate information provided in a text message with data in databases. For example they can associate a customer’s name and surname with the ordering system. They learn on the basis of the received responses and become increasingly more useful and smart. A virtual consultant provides a convenient 24h service, immediate interaction and access to information with the need to use internet browsers or other applications.

A chatbot automates conversations – generates savings in terms of time and money. There is no need to employ people as a chatbot will hold a conversation. Currently chatbots are finding increasingly more applications: in customer service, sales, consultancy, helpdesk, advertising, content service, handling complaints and in receiving secure payments. There are two primary methods in which users can engage a chatbot: through internet applications such as Skype, Messenger or WhatsApp or via independent, dedicated applications which are in use by government offices or banks for example. A chatbot will also build a database of our customers, which then allows us to collect further information in order to personalise communication and to customise marketing content.

As it works non-stop, 24/7, the customer database it is working on will be growing in no time at all.


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