Chatbots – we’ve been hearing about them a lot for some time now. But many of us are still wondering just what are chatbots and what they do.
A bot is simply a piece of software that automates simple tasks, like booking a cab or a flight. Chatbots are a type of bot that “live in” messaging apps (like Facebook Messenger) and use artificial intelligence to perform tasks via simulated conversation. These exchanges typically include a series of options presented by the bot.
In a nutshell, a chatbot is a computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users, especially over the Internet. It facilitates “choose your own adventure” style of interactions.
Some major brands that are already using chatbots are Uber, CNN, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Unilever, Ebay, Pizza Hut, Domino’s Pizza, Hyatt, Disney amongst others.
Sphere Media can create your chatbot and you can be the poster child of the first Mauritian brand using chatbots.
Let’s see why Facebook believes that chatbots are next big thing. In a blog post about F8 2016 announcements, Facebook explained bots for Messenger: “As part of the new Messenger Platform, bots can provide anything from automated subscription content like weather and traffic updates, to customized communications like receipts, shipping notifications, and live automated messages—all by interacting directly with the people who want to get them. The Messenger Send/Receive API will support not only sending and receiving text, but also images and interactive rich bubbles containing multiple calls-to-action.”
So, what does that mean for businesses?
Chatbots will indeed change the way businesses or brands interact with customers. Facebook is still the number 1 social media platform and most people using Facebook use Messenger to communicate with brands and companies. Chatbots will facilitate this communication.
There are only a few rules to follow to have a performing chatbot:
- Bots should be conversational.
- Bots should use a natural tone of voice.
- Bots should reply using short, pithy responses.
- Bot responses should be “paced quickly, but not so quickly that the bot is oppressively present—like a chat partner hanging on your every word and expecting just as quick of a response.”
Let’s see some examples of how brands are using chatbots.
The hotel chain Hyatt is one of the first brands to use Messenger for customer service, using the option as a way to have meaningful conversations with guests in a closed, private environment.
“The addition of Messenger to our around-the-clock social care efforts was a no-brainer,” said Dan Moriarty, director of digital strategy and activation for Hyatt, in an article at Digiday. “It’s just one more channel in which we get to have meaningful conversations with guests and help them to be their best, on the road and right away.”
KLM: Get Your Boarding Pass and More. Dutch airline KLM lets passengers “get on board” with a Messenger plugin. After booking a flight, passengers can receive their booking confirmation, be reminded when check-in opens, get their boarding pass, receive flight status updates, or ask a question any time, 24/7.
- Burger King
Burger King: Order Ahead Using a Bot. Customers in the mood for a Whopper can now order it using Messenger. The fast food chain is trying out an order-ahead feature that’s integrated into Facebook’s Messenger app, according to the food blog Eater.