An online chatbot can reduce CPA (cost per acquisition) by up to 477% , as confirmed by an experiment conducted by HubSpot . For this and other reasons, Gartner predicts that, by 2020, 85% of customer interactions will be through this technology.

What is an online chatbot?

The online chatbot is a computer program capable of maintaining a conversation with a user , fulfilling their orders, recommending products and providing information, among other functions. Also known as a “conversational bot”, it works thanks to artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies that provide the chatbot with the necessary capabilities to understand human language, the context of the conversation and the intention of the users.

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Natural language processing algorithms allow the chatbot to be able to successfully respond to complex queries, whether oral or written. For instance:

  • How to claim the X product warranty?
  • How much does home delivery cost?
  • Where is X warehouse located?
  • What offers or promotions do you have today?
  • In which store is X item available?

Advantages of using an online chatbot in your company

According to Gartner , by 2021, 50% of companies will invest more money in online chatbots instead of mobile applications. This is because chatbot technology has a much more positive impact on all types of businesses.

Some of the most important advantages of using an online chatbot in a company are the following:

  • Cost reduction by dispensing with personnel and automating certain processes.
  • 24/7 availability in customer service and sales support.
  • Improved user experience by providing immediate responses.
  • Ability to process massive inquiries from anywhere in the world.
  • Use of natural language that avoids the sensation of conversing with a bot.
  • Automation of conversational workflows according to user actions.
  • Ease of technical integration by being able to deploy the chatbot within social networks, websites and other platforms.
  • Constant self-improvement without human intervention by the bot as it learns about user habits and queries.

One of the most powerful advantages is that chatbots can be created from scratch by any company, which allows them to customize their functions according to the needs of each business. Furthermore, chatbots with simple functions can be created with tools such as , Smooch or , which do not require programming knowledge.

Uses of online chatbots in the market

According to Forrester Research , artificial intelligence will be one of the technologies with the greatest business impact in the coming years. Thanks to it, it is possible to predict, with up to 95% reliability, when the employees of an organization will resign . It is also possible to automatically set the best prices for hotel services according to demand.

These examples of AI applications only demonstrate the enormous computational power behind chatbots. Therefore, the options for using an online chatbot are almost endless.

Large corporations have been the pioneers in developing this type of system. These are some of his projects:

  • Facebook Messenger for business
  • Apple Business Chat
  • Google Assistant
  • Oracle Intelligent Bots
  • Microsoft Azure Bot Service
  • IBM Watson
  • Tencent WeChat

Use cases of online chatbots according to performance areas

  • Messaging: AmazonGlobalBot , from Amazon, allows you to check product prices on Telegram, and Aerobot , from Aeroméxico, helps you search for lost luggage through WhatsApp.
  • Personal shopper: Fluid XPS is a chatbot based on IBM Watson and works as a customer-side purchase assistant and company-side sales assistant.
  • Telephone assistant: Google Duplex is Google’s chat bot that works as a telephone assistant.
  • Marketing: GrowthBot executes marketing and sales activities, and is compatible with systems such as HubSpot and Google Analytics, among others.
    • E-commerce: Walmart Voice Order allows you to make online purchases at Walmart through Google Assistant.
    • Hospitality: Zoe from Quicktext is a chatbot through which you can check quotes and make hotel reservations.
    • Travel: Air Europa is an airline that has its own online chatbot on Twitter to provide information on notifications and flight status.
    • Tourism: Travelbot is the assistant to the London tourist office and provides information on bus arrivals, routes and maps, for example.
    • Banking: BBVA Chatbot belongs to the BBVA bank and allows inquiries about account statements, cards and nearby ATMs, among other options.
  • Retail: True Fit collects information from different retailers to make purchase recommendations to users based on their physical characteristics.
  • Restaurants: Allset is a bot deployed within Facebook Messenger for the location and reservation of restaurants.
  • Government: Alex is the assistant bot for the Australian tax office.
  • Insurance: EME de Mutua Madrileña provides support to clients in terms of contracted insurance.
  • Legality: DoNotPay is a system trained to advise users and manage certain legal matters.
  • Transportation: Locate Hertz runs on Facebook Messenger, and allows you to find and rent vehicles.
  • Events: Roque is a chatbot focused on providing information about the Rock in Rio festival in Brazil.

Types of online chatbot

An online chatbot can be designed and configured in different ways and with different technologies. This depends on the functions that must be fulfilled according to the needs and objectives of each company .

In this sense, there are two general categories into which chatbots are classified according to their configuration and functions: deterministic chatbots (dumb chatbots) and conversational chatbots (smart chatbots).

Deterministic chatbots or dumb chatbots

Deterministic chatbots or dumb chatbots are systems with a limited range of action / communication. They have a finite number of questions and answers previously configured. Therefore, they fulfill very specific functions and do not allow open interaction with users.

Conversational chatbots or smart chatbots

Conversational chatbots or smart chatbots are those programs powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning. This allows them to understand the language used by users and thus offer greater interaction with them.

Depending on the level of use of artificial intelligence and the responsiveness of bots, this category is subdivided into two:

Recovery chatbots

Recovery chatbots are those that use a previously configured response database. In this way, they provide specific answers to user inquiries, resulting in a limited and structured conversation.

They are called “retrieval” because they retrieve or extract responses from your database.

Generative chatbots

Generative chatbots are those with extensive use of artificial intelligence. Therefore, their level of interaction with users is open and they allow complete, free and meaningful conversations. In addition, they are “learning” automatically with each conversation.

They are called “generative” for their ability to generate their own responses.

The implementation of a chatbot

Each organization must evaluate its needs and objectives before implementing an online chatbot. First, to determine how much you need to use this technology. Second, to correctly choose the right type of bot.

According to research The Art of Communication: Messages That Matter , conducted by Greenberg, more than 80% of people use mobile messaging apps every day. For its part, a Nielsen study for Facebook reveals that 53% of people prefer to do business with a company that they can contact directly via chat.

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This panorama on the habit of consumers is accentuated every day. Although it is not always necessary to implement an online chatbot, in most cases it is becoming a determining factor for those companies that wish to obtain greater competitive advantages .