Ever since social media has become an inseparable element in today’s marketing, there’s a lot of hype floating around regarding chatbots. In 2016, Facebook decided to open up its Messenger platform, providing developers with API tools to build chatbots and Live Chat web plug-ins for business clients. There are over 10 thousands applications worldwide, via integrating various apps. Users can now share locations, pictures, music (Spotify) and files (Dropbox).
Entering in an era of conversational business, chatbots’ “quick reply” feature is definitely a great help. Chatbots are frequently used to facilitate customer service experience, including but not limited to selling, promotion and customer engagement. As predicted by Gartner, there will be more than 50% of enterprises that are eager to invest more per annum on chatbot creation than traditional mobile app development in 2021.
Are you considering having chatbots in your marketing and customer support? Let’s further our knowledge a little more before we dive into “why we need chatbots”.
Chatbots are a programmed interface that is capable of mimicking human behaviour and interacting with visitors in a conversational manner. With public APIs, businesses can create chatbots on multiple social platforms. By analysing specific words or phrases contained in an incoming message, chatbots can offer a predefined response promptly.
There are 3 types of Chatbots:
1. Scripted – Requires users to make several selections so as to guide them through any specific processes
2. Keyword-Based – Is able to break down an incoming message to identify the user intent, and match it with relevant information
3. Assistant – Responds to basic questions and refers the conversation to a live human when necessary
The chatbots usually work by adopting 2 kinds of technological process. One of them is called Natural Language Processing (NLP). It is a branch of AI that helps computers to read and understand natural human language. After translating the content into information with a combination of patterns and text that can be mapped with its database, it can then generate the most accurate responses.
The second type, which is also known as a more advanced type, is a hybrid of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. A very typical example is the built-in personal assistant, Siri, which is available in every Apple device. Siri is capable of understanding and integrating different languages, not to mention providing personalised suggestions by utilising information stored in your device.
|Main Feature||Contextual analysis||Identifying the task and complete the request||For fun||Offering proactive suggestions|
|Example||IBM Watson||Apple’s voice assistant, Siri||Xiaomi’s voice assistant, Xiao AI||Facebook Messenger|
Chatbots are fast-becoming one of the most popular sales and marketing tools on various instant messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger, WeChat and LINE. While humans can’t work 24/7, chatbots can interact with customers around the clock and deliver timely responses. Businesses can even further extend their chatbots by reaching out to external APIs, which allows visitors to get additional messages such as news, weather forecast and stock quotes in the response.
Many are using chatbots to bridge the communication gap, and retail businesses are the biggest fans. According to Statista, 34% of retail customers are more comfortable to speak with customer service through AI chatbots than a live customer support representative. However, only 10% of respondents voted “yes” to government institutions employing chatbots.
Being the first airline to launch a Facebook Messenger chatbot, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is described as an ‘inspiration’ by other airlines. After integrating the chatbot APIs, KLM could offer customers flight status updates and information about their boarding passes, travel details and booking confirmations, together with restaurants and hotels recommendations.
So far, this Facebook Messenger Chatbot supports up to 13 different languages: Dutch, English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, Norwegian, French, Chinese, Japanese, Thai and Korean.
Chatbots don’t demand users to install additional apps, and most importantly, they are relatively simple and inexpensive to build. Here is a list of free platforms with chatbots: Chatfuel, Pandorabots, Botkit, Flow XO, Facebook Messenger and Microsoft Bot Framework.
Meanwhile, some platforms do charge according to the volume of usage. They include Chattypeople (Free for up to 100 customers), Smooch (Free up to 500 conversations per month), Botsify (Free for one chatbot) and Motion.ai (Free for two bots).
Normally speaking, the former can send and receive messages, use plugins and integrations, set appearance and menu, get user information, and more, whereas the latter also helps to build reports and dashboards to gain user engagement insights.
|Function||Free Platforms||Paid Platforms|
|Multiple Chatbots||Not Available||Available|
|Access Levels||Not Available||Available|
|Conversation Handover||Not Available||Available|
|Diversion Logic||Not Available||Available|
SleekFlow is a leading provider of omni-channel customer communication platform which specialises in instant messaging automation. With its automation features, businesses are now able to guide customers through the buying process without the need of human staff.
Interested in knowing how such an AI-oriented customer service can provide a smooth experience to customers and save you from countless hours of pointless hassle? Just imagine if you encounter one of the following scenarios:
When a customer interacts with a chatbot to ask an FAQ, SleekFlow’s chatbot will immediately scan the keywords and map them with the ideal solution under the respective touch-points. Even if a simple answer is not enough, SleekFlow can share a link in addition to the answer, redirecting the customers to a full page of how-to guide.
Very often, when customers are not satisfied with the options provided by an automated attendant, they prefer speaking directly to human beings. To streamline the process, Sleekflow will help you to segment customers according to their interests and needs in advance. For instance, if the conversation is sales-related, Sleekflow will assign the chat to the Sales Team; if the customer wants to make a complaint, a representative from the Customer Support Team will take over the conversation.
While getting new messages from new customers is exciting, some of them might be window shoppers who have no intention to purchase. Luckily, with SleekFlow, you can finally avoid wasting too many resources on people who are not in a position to invest in your product or service. SleekFlow’s Chatbot will ask several questions to discern whether the customer is a good fit, in other words, to qualify a lead. Once the customer meets the requirements, the system will then assign the chat to the relevant team for follow-up actions.
SleekFlow is an Omni-Channel Social Commerce Platform that helps companies manage communication channels such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Line, Live Chat, SMS and Email all in one place. Use smart routing rules and targeted campaign messages to streamline sales, customer support and marketing workflows while integrating with 2500+ tools including eCommerce platforms and payment gateways to automate the whole customer journey with ease.