Published on October 26th, 2018 | by Sunit Nandi0
How Chatbots Went from Being a Buzzword to a Reliable Tech Solution
Being that we are still living in a tech bubble, which shows absolutely no indications that it’s going to burst, being on the edge of the tech horizon is always a good PR move. When cryptocurrency was at the height of its popularity there were startups and projects left and right which claimed they found new, “revolutionary” ways to utilize this new tech to do this or that. This led to a lot of projects getting funded and eventually flopping.
Chatbots have slid back into the public’s eye in the last couple of years and a lot of tech bloggers and tech enthusiasts have started viewing this popularity as just another tech wave for IT businesses to ride.
Still, a lot of tech innovations related to chatbots have been put forth and by expanding the capabilities of chatbots. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, let’s see how chatbots managed to establish themselves as reliable tech and (partially) get rid of the buzzword label.
Wide possibilities for application
The basic thing that allows a piece of tech to establish itself as a viable solution is the IT environment at the moment of its rise to popularity. Chat is currently one of the most widely used forms of communication. SMS, phone calls, video calls, all fade in comparison to the number of engagements between users within various instant messaging channels.
Users have become very accustomed to chats for both commercial and private conversations. LINE, Facebook Messanger, DMs on Instagram, instant chats as a part of online shops, Slack, Viber, WhatsApp are just some of the forms chats are used.
This kind of environment is perfect for finding automated solutions for user engagement.
Free chatbots that don’t require programming knowledge
In order for technology to become something that is commonly used across all verticals, it needs to be available to everybody. This availability is two-fold:
- Price – if technology ends up being too costly it has a lower chance of reaching high popularity.
- Usability – requiring specialized knowledge can also bottleneck the growth of a particular piece of technology.
In the case of chatbots, both of these things have been resolved with the appearance of free chatbot platforms like SnatchBot.
In the past, you’d have to invest into a substantial amount of money into a development of a custom chatbot or settle for an off the shelf solution which offered limited capabilities that might not accommodate the needs of a particular user.
With SnatchBot you can build a custom chatbot solution without having to have any proficiency in programming and adapt the software capabilities to the particular business problem you want to solve through using chatbots.
The next barrier chatbots needed to cross in order to keep themselves relevant was the fact that chat technology is dispersed across many channels. Creating a custom chatbot for every channel is both time-consuming and impractical which is why most popular chatbot solutions these days have the capability of being deployed across all channels.
This helps solve the issue of having an omnichannel presence that is reliable without having to invest too many resources.
In the past chatbots were linear software solutions that often ran into problems discerning user intent and handling inquiries that were framed in a way that wasn’t foreseen by the chatbot creator. With the integration of NLP (Natural language processing), we armed chatbots with the ability to learn and discern the true intent of users’ inquiries.
This happens over time and the longer a particular chatbot is in use it gets better. This isn’t an instantaneous way to boost your chatbot’s performance and capabilities. Still, it helps with improving chatbots in the long run without having to invest in constant updates and development.
When we add the ability to learn to chatbots we are really taking their capabilities to the next level. These days, thanks to AI, chatbots can perform complex nuanced tasks and the do so in many verticals.
Any repetitive task that required human personnel in the past can now be handled by chatbots but it’s up to the user to find the best use of AI with a chatbot. They can take feedback, offer reminders, helpful information, do promotions for products and/or events and they will do so without wasting time or losing their temper at any point. Due to this, they found their spot in verticals such as banking, education, medicine and more.
Another big advantage chatbots got recently was their ability to receive and answer inquiries in speech form. This allows users a way to engage chatbots without having to type and get their answers without having to look at a screen.
This feature basically blurs the line between chatbots and virtual assistants. This is a very important feature if your chatbot often deals with people that have a disability or people who multi-task. We’re not going to say that this is a feature that is an absolute requirement for a modern chatbot but it is essential in some situations.
Chatbots are not dying and their popularity isn’t based on overhyped PR wave everyone wants to ride. Chatbots have consistently been updated with new technology that helps them remain relevant and solve problems for businesses and people, respectively. They are a well adapted and evolved tech solution suitable for the current business environment but they still need to be used properly in particular situations.