How to Use Chatbots in Business

Why This Is Important

Today, one of the most popular ways to communicate is messaging, which means that people from your target audience write short messages to their friends and family every day. And not to take an opportunity to draw their attention using a chatbot means to deliberately lose to your competitors.

What Is a Chatbot

A chatbot is a virtual companion, a program that simulates a user interaction with one or more interlocutors. Learn more about chatbots here.

You can create a chatbot on the basis of Telegram, Facebook Messenger, Skype, Viber, and other messengers even without hiring developers.

The basic idea of using it is to automate repetitive processes and interactive communication with users. The chatbot’s ability to study while processing and remembering previous commands, recognizing faces and voices, identifying geolocation, and so on expands the area of its application. The use of a chatbot is often beneficial, especially if there is a need to

  • • improve customer service,
  • • streamline routine tasks,
  • • return the invested funds.

The use of chatbots may differ significantly because it all depends on the goals and objectives that you set for yourself. The following examples from different business areas will help you understand how you can benefit from the technology.

Chatbots in Business

Insurance

Insurance is a perfect area for using chatbots. The speed and simplicity of applying scenarios, such as filling in an insurance claim and requesting a service, will help you attract new customers and improve the quality of service for your current clients.

Utilities

The problems that often appear in this industry have formed a negative customer attitude to the companies that provide such services. It is possible to increase the loyalty of the target audience by focusing on their needs. For example, to send a notification about the situation occurred in the case of emergency and estimate timing of its resolving. A chatbot will also be useful in such scenarios. Users can request for services and pay directly into the chatbot, check the debt, or send a request for repair.

Medicine

Medicine has a huge potential for using chatbots and there is a wide variety of options. It is possible to provide a primary medical consulting, arrange an appointment, call a doctor, get test results, or give an ability to search the drug instructions, their cost, and availability at the nearest pharmacies. The key to success is to ensure the confidentiality of every patient. In other words, the information a patient shares during a conversation with a chatbot should remain private.

Telecommunications

High competition in this area and, therefore, a tough fight for the audience’s attention and customer retention requires a constant search for new development opportunities. Using chatbots as assistants is a worthy try. They can provide technical support, help to change a package, and manage and update account information. This will simplify the work of the staff and save time for the users.

Finance

Financial services use safe and reliable technology to protect their clients against fraud. The most common scenarios of using bots are simplified versions of money transfer, currency exchange, and blocking/activating a card. It also makes sense to offer additional services in the form of the contract extension, for example.

Transport and Tourism

Simple text messages can help your users solve questions that arise when they are planning a trip or being on a road. This is a good way to simplify the work of the travel agencies and transport companies. Develop a chatbot to help your clients book, purchase/exchange tickets, register online, create a route map, etc. Your customers will enjoy the simplicity of such options.

Fashion and Beauty

High-quality, personalized content on topics of interest allows you to build trust and increase loyalty to your brand. It will also help you attract new customers. Sample chatbots in the world of fashion and beauty can be quite different:

  • • Overview of the latest fashion trends,
  • • Tips on how to create your look,
  • • Catalogs of clothes and beauty products,
  • • Useful suggestions of the professionals,
  • • Online store of goods and services.

Restaurants

Using a chatbot in the restaurant business will automate many processes of interaction with a client. For example, you can develop a solution that will help users make an order, make a table reservation, order delivery, and pay for services. This can increase sales and will definitely improve the quality of the service.

Creation and Development

There are many services and frameworks for creating chatbots. Let us mention a few of them.

Chatfuel

Chatfuel is a service that works as a kit providing easy-to-use functionality with no coding required. A simple Chatbot will be ready in less than 10 minutes. Integration with Facebook Messenger and Telegram is available while Viber, WhatsApp, and Slack have introduced such an option to be up and running in the near future. Chatfuel is free, but only in the range of no more than 100,000 requests per month.

Meya.ai

This service allows you to host bots, manage databases, integrate cross-platform solutions, and other useful options. Meya.ai works with platforms like Facebook Messenger, Twitter, Slack, Telegram, KiK, and GitHub. The price package depends on your requirements. The free option includes up to 500 requests per month.

Api.ai

Api.ai is a framework from Google. Its special features include the NLP, Hosting, AI/ML, integration with Facebook Messenger, Telegram, Skype, Twitter, and Slack. They offer two packages, including a free option.

Creating a Chatbot for the Promodo Partners Conference

Let’s consider a specific example of the creation of a chatbot for the Promodo Partners conference held in October 2016.

What we did:

  1. 1. Identified what options the organizing committee would like to delegate to a chatbot.
  2. 2.Determined what tasks our chatbot could solve. 
  3. 3. Prepared graphic and text content.
  4. 4. Selected Chatfuel to create a chatbot.
  5. 5. Worked on the functionality: the bot had to provide information about the event, speakers, schedule, and collect the participants’ feedback.

It took us two working days to develop our solution.

All the guests who attended Promodo Partners were asked to add the bot with the help of a QR-code, or simply to send a private message on the Promodo Facebook page.

After the event, we analyzed how people used the bot and found out that the audience was not yet ready for such an initiative. Few participants used the bot.

Conclusion

New technologies give business owners a variety of options to market their products, regardless of the niche they work in. A chatbot is quite a promising technology. For instance, it allows users to avoid the discomfort of calling to the help desk to solve typical issues. In cases when you want to provide more personalized help, you can transfer a customer to a call center operator. This not only speeds up the process of interaction with a user but also increases your business efficiency.

Many multinational companies have been using chatbots for a while. Bots help to sell, collect information, and answer users’ questions. However, small businesses can also benefit from the existing opportunities, considering that the lack of time and a small number of employees may affect the quality and quantity of information provided to their customers. Chatbots are designed to avoid these problems and build loyalty to your brand.

Whether you create your first or hundredth chatbot, you should be aware of the steps you will have to take:

  1. 1. Set your goals.
  2. 2. Analyze the behavior of your target audience.
  3. 3. Find out what actions can be replaced using a chatbot.
  4. 4. Decide what functionality you want your chatbot to have.
  5. 5. Create a scenario how your chatbot should interact with the users.
  6. 6. Think whether it makes sense to continue or not after you analyze the scenario and estimate the cost of development.
  7. 7. Select the communication channel right for your target audience.
  8. 8. Set the key performance indicators.
  9. 9. Test your chatbot and make the necessary improvements.
  10. 10. Introduce it to your target audience and gather their feedback.

Our takeaway advice is to use the proven design methods, consider recommendations given by the messenger platforms, and test the system on a small audience.

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