What is a chatbot?
Made out of the terms “chat” and “robot”, a chatbot is a robot designed for chatting purposes. It is a new communication medium between business owners and customers. Chatbots help customers discover products or services and perform simple interactions like ordering food or booking a room. A chatbot can also boost your digital presence online!
Between AI and automation, conversational agents can turn out to be a powerful online marketing tool. According to voice assistants and chatbots experts, we will use AI chatbots on a regular basis from the 2020s.
The concept may sound actual but scientists have conducted research on this topic since the 1950s. Nowadays the concept is better accepted: robots are humanized through the use of “She” pronoun or granted citizenship to the extreme (of course I am speaking about Sophia). So where does it all began?
Who invented chatbots?
Alan Turing is the brain behind the reflection « Can a machine think ? » and the Turing test. Back in 1950, he was interested in demonstrating whether a machine could mislead human beings. If the human does not realize he is speaking with a machine then it passes the test. This question has fascinated imaginations and led to science fiction movies like:
- Her where a man falls in love with an Artificial Intelligence virtual assistant;
- Ex-Machina where a developer is asked to test an AI against the Turing test.
When were the first chatbots invented?
Today we are familiar with robots reacting to voice command by switching off the light, cleaning the room or carrying out research on the internet. But would you have guessed that one of the first chatbot (ELIZA) was created in 1966?
Although failing the Turing test, ELIZA paved the way for chatbots creation. She relied on a set of keywords and pre-defined questions and answers. So do simple chatbots today. Two impressive chatbots were designed upon her model: ALICE (1995) and Smarterchild (2001) that have shaped today’s chatbots scene. Nowadays a new wave of intelligent conversational agents has emerged with Apple’s Siri (2010), Google Now (2012), Alexa and Cortana (2015) and then Sophia (2016) a humanoid social robot, bearing a striking resemblance to Ava in Ex Machina movie.
How do chatbots work?
Basically a chatbot is a computer program interacting with human beings through the mean of natural language processing. Its aim is to choose and provide the best answer to the question it receives.
Chatbots rely on algorithms to determine the meaning of questions, analyze their intention and send messages with the most appropriate answers based on their available corpus. They are taught:
- how to greet someone;
- to answer simple questions;
- to provide users with accurate information through live chat.
Why use a chatbot to boost your digital marketing ?
Technology is an opportunity for marketers every time it can help reduce costs and save time. So do chatbots. This technology has been available for years but companies have just noticed its beneficial impact on their business.
4 steps to get you started
- Refine your goals and determine how a chatbot will help achieve them.
- Set your needs: gain efficiency, add value, improve customer experience?
- Prepare your marketing campaigns and content marketing.
- Add a chatbot to your website and be prepared to increase your conversion rate!
How a chatbot can positively impact your digital marketing ?
A well-designed chatbot will help you:
- Boost the visibility of your business
- Set up an effective customer support
- Improve research accuracy: quick answers and useful information on your company
To achieve those goals bear in mind:
- the targeted audience
- what should your chatbot help you perform
- how to design content with the right tone to convert
- a good strategy to redirect to meaningful content
How chatbots help in lead generation ?
Implementing a chatbot into your business strategy is a great way to:
- Collect relevant information about your customers to refine your buyer personas
- Tailor your advertising campaigns to segment your audience
- Meet your customers’ expectations
- Improve customer satisfaction
- Improve users’ experience
10 reasons why a chatbot can boost your digital presence online
A chatbot will help you :
- Polish your company brand and image
- Automate your processes
- Handle customers complaints of social media
- Enhance user experience by easing customers navigation on your website
- Provide customers with quick and relevant answers
- Provide a 24/7 customer support
- Increase time spent on website and number of pages visited (provide links to detailed content)
- Gain a deeper knowledge of audience segments by collecting data
- Enhance accuracy with a positive impact on the customer journey
- Boost customer engagement which can increase your conversion rate
To stand out of the crowd, remain regularly informed of major trends in your industry, keep an eye on emerging technologies and consider how to integrate those external factors when scheduling for future needs.
So why not take the plunge this year?
As part of my Master thesis I have contacted professional webdesigners while conducting a survey about user experience in chatbot development. So if you wish to learn more about chatbots, stay tuned and look out on my blog homepage for upcoming article on chatbots!
- Ex Machina. Dir. Alex Garland. A24, 2014. Film.
- Her. Dir. Spike Jonze. Warner Bros Pictures, 2013. Film.
- Nosedive, Black Mirror. Dir. Joe Wright, 2016. Series 3.