2016 has been the year of Chatbots conversations all around the world, among top companies, such as Facebook, Microsoft, Slack, and Kik. Some of these are already having their chatbots on the market, for example, Kik and Microsoft. And, many others are working hard to make chatbots available to their users. When everybody is talking about them, do you know what these bots are all about, what are their benefits, and why organizations are supporting them?

Definition

Chatbots are smart and intelligent programs that can live as a standalone app or inside an app like Skype, Facebook messenger, etc.

When they live inside an existing app, you get a smarter app that can respond to your text messages, help organizations to stay connected with their users without having a dedicated team of professionals, help companies increase customer engagement, and so on.

How a Chatbot works?

A chatbot is a smartly designed program that has the capability to understand text messages entered by the users. Some bots are highly intelligent to even understand voice or animation. It works like a messenger, such as Whatsapp, Skype, Facebook Messenger, and Kik.

When you send a message to your friend in a messenger, your friend types a reply to that message, which is delivered to you. Similarly, when you communicate with an organization’s chat program (also called Live Chat program or Help program), answers to your messages are automatically drafted by the chatbot. The functioning of the bot depends upon how it is developed, the way an organization wants to connect with its customers, and many other parameters.

The main motto of building a bot is helping customers and reaching customers in one-on-one mode without investing on a human-based chat support.

What types of chat bots are available on the market?

Depending upon the business requirement, the types of bots are many. For example, customer service bots, location provider bots, reputation bot, mortgage bot, entertainment bots, and many more.

How Facebook, Kik, Microsoft, and Slack are going ahead with this interactive platform?

Today, many companies provide bots with ready to use feature; you just need to do some customization matching your business requirements. And, companies like Kik, Facebook, Slack, Microsoft, etc. are also providing businesses to build their own bots as per their requirements.

For example, recently Kik has launched a store for businesses, which can be used to develop chatbots in entertainment, playful, and useful categories. Facebook has been working on harder to provide its customers a nice chatbot platform.

Are bots smarter than human?

The purpose of developing bots is to provide millions of customers of an organization an easy way to connect, process their payments, confirm their orders, and so on, but it does not mean these bots can really replace human. It is because bots can do limited functions, as per their programming. They can respond according to a pre-defined set of instructions, not more than that.

For example, a live chat bot on a website is valuable to welcome a user, ask him/her to enter account details for further communication, and request for some necessary information. After the necessary information is provided by the user, the bot requests him/her to wait until a support representative (who is a human) is available for assistance. So, chatbots have reduced the work while increasing customer engagement with their smart programming, but are not meant to replace human.