🔝Bots are the new Apps!
Last year, 2016, saw an explosion in the popularity of chatbots, commonly just called bots. In a lot of ways, bots are the new apps, and while they may not seem to be as immediately practical as other blossoming technology, like 3D printing or virtual reality, they are gaining significant traction in the tech industry.
Most tech giants already employ chatbots on a regular basis, and a lot of start-ups are beginning to integrate them as well. So the question that comes to mind is, why are so many now giving chatbots such attention… and should you and your business be heeding them too?
Apps are out; chatbots are in.
The motive behind the sudden awareness is simple: chatbots can now use software that dissects and analyses not just one, but all languages, which creates a universal means of communication by way of technology.
Everyone has heard of Apple’s Siri, the natural language processor that first made headlines nearly six years ago. Since then, other artificially intelligent assistants have cropped up, like Google Now and Amazon’s Alexa, but all of them are attempting to accomplish the same goal: to harness and understand human language in a way that enriches a user’s experience. Chatbots the world over share the same goal.
The primary difference between a digital assistant and a chatbot is that the former recognises and parses voice commands—for example, speaking to Alexa—while chatbots traditionally respond to a text. The ability to understand human conversation is no simple task, even for a computer. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested into the effort because tech companies recognise that the potential long-term gains are enormous. The race is now on to decode human language first.
Employing tireless customer service
No one can deny that the ability of new voice-controlled intelligent digital assistants is admirable. However, more and more enterprises are turning to the capabilities of bots that are able to understand and respond to text commands and queries rather than spoken ones.
Why is that? The simplest answer is that chatbot technology is less complex. Building a chatbot is less costly and easier than ever before.
Furthermore, bots can identify and target a particular subject more readily, especially for businesses that consistently see the same questions and issues. Utilising a chatbot streamlines the interaction between business and customer, and reduces the need for large call centres and numerous customer service representatives.
If you require more evidence of why chatbots are preferable, look no further than the fact that many multi-billion-dollar corporations are building and using bots today. Even smaller enterprises, like start-ups, are integrating bots as well; tech companies want to help these smaller businesses develop the technology simply because not only do they want to build the most capable bot, but they also want to control a platform other chatbots.
Let’s look at an example. This past year, Facebook reported that it would be opening its messaging platform to third-party bots. Facebook Messenger has a monthly user base of more than 900 million; now, they’re endeavouring to create a platform not only in which users can communicate, but also on which business transactions can occur.
Facebook isn’t the only enterprise pushing for developers to build bots for smaller companies. For example, the SnatchBot platform equips you with the ability to publish your text, voice, or video chatbots quickly to all web apps, channels, and chat services, such as Facebook Messenger. And with our newest feature, you can now deploy a bot to all channels with a single click. SnatchBot also allows users to generate their own reminders and push notifications and gives you the ability to process any type of files—voice, video, or text input in conversation with your end-users.
What can a chatbot do for you?
If every developer has the tools to build a bot, why doesn’t everyone use one? It’s likely because most businesses think they need a product to sell or a chat messenger to reap the benefits of a chatbot, but the most practical use of a bot is actually customer service.
Research studies have predicted that in 2017, only around one-third of customer service mediation will require human interaction—which means that the other two-thirds can be handled by automated software. Rather than contacting a representative, a customer would instead inquire with a bot. No more need for long hold times or large staffing requirements; a bot could handle inquiries immediately and efficiently.
There’s no denying that customer service is one of the most crucial factors to success in the business world, and having a bot that adequately answers customers inquiries and provides necessary information is increasingly becoming a key to gaining an edge over the competition.
There are innumerable applications for chatbots; even mundane tasks, like scheduling appointments and setting reminders, are a pragmatic use of a bot. And if you’re at all concerned about bots replacing a need for humans and eliminating jobs, consider that estimates show that the automated software industry will create more than twelve million new jobs over the next two decades.
Market forecasts are already demonstrating how chatbots are changing the way that people and organisations alike interact on a huge scale. Our goal at SnatchBot is to make the process of building your own chatbot as easy and user-friendly as possible for anyone, regardless of the size of your business, user base, or industry. A significant way the SnatchBot team is changing business-to-customer interactions is with our broadcast message function, which allows a bot to send marketing notifications to all users. Each time a user chats with your page via any channel—for example, Skype—they become a subscriber. With the broadcast message, you can essentially message thousands of subscribers at once to notify them of content updates, news, or anything else pertinent to your business.
Furthermore, as more platforms are created for widespread use, the chatbot industry adapts. SnatchBot is the only platform on the market today that allows you to sync across chat channels, which means that a user can start a conversation on Facebook Messenger, continue on a website, and end in SMS with no interruption.
If you’re on the fence about developing a bot or haven’t thought of it as a viable opportunity, it’s time to reconsider. 2017 will be a banner year for the burgeoning industry of chatbots.