Chatbots are a form of conversational AI designed to simplify human interaction with computers. Using chatbots, computers can understand and respond to human input through spoken or written language.
“Chatbots can be programmed to respond to simple keywords or prompts, or to hold complex conversations about specific topics,” says Mary Beth Moore, an AI and Language Analytics Strategist at SAS. “They range in complexity from information retrieval using keyword matches to active learning capabilities that provide in-depth responses and tailored suggestions based on previous conversations.”
Many industries use chatbots to improve or streamline customer service and e-commerce. Consider these primary applications for chatbots:
Customer service chatbots: Many businesses are using chatbots as a first contact when customers need help. In almost every industry, companies employ chatbots to help customers easily navigate their websites, answer simple questions and direct people to the relevant points of contact.
E-commerce chatbots: Retail companies and telecommunication providers use chatbots as an additional interaction channel with their customers. The bot is designed to lead customers through a linear process flow to complete requests or transactions.
Virtual assistant chatbots: Personal assistants like Siri, Cortana and Alexa have risen in popularity as their benefits have become readily available and easily embedded into the daily life of consumers. People use them to quickly retrieve information, schedule appointments and interact with smart home features.