Chatbot is a robot chat that imitates human conversations through voice commands, text chats, or both. It’s virtual conversation in which one party is an online talking bot. In this post, we’ll learn a little bit about their history before moving onto practical chatbot use cases.
The history of chatbot technology begins in 1966, when Joseph Weizenbaum developed a natural language processing computer program called Eliza. The program was designed to mimic human conversations by matching user prompts to pre-scripted responses. Eliza has almost no intelligence, it was designed using techniques like string substitution and canned responses based on keywords.
Today’s chatbots are using Artificial Intelligence techniques to have a human-like conversation with users. They are now completely transforming the way companies operate both internally and externally. Instead of being used as a simple software, they are currently part of the business strategy. This allows firms to reduce spending, automate business processes, and empower teams.
Chatbots are becoming an integral part of companies’ various business operations, giving them time to focus on revenue-generating activities.
Here are some exciting chatbot use cases that show you how bots are used in the real world:
Productivity and Coaching
Personal and professional productivity is a rapidly growing market. Bots in this space are typically focused on reminders, to-do lists and personal/team task management and completion. These tasks might look like simple chatbot use cases, but they are very popular in the mobile app world and also have high engagement and download rates in bot stores.
There are also many personal coach bots that help people with weight loss, personal finance, parenting, sports improvement and more.
It seems like the nature of the medium – having the bot speak to users through a chat interface – makes the interactions more effective and engaging.
One of the incentives for using these bots is that they provide a more personal experience that is much harder to ignore than regular mobile applications. Users are often more willing to provide information to a bot than fill forms in an app.
For retailers, Conversational Commerce is the flavor of the season when it comes to chatbot use cases. Many businesses are adopting it as a part of their marketing, sales and customer care activities.
When done right, conversational commerce can be more intuitive and engaging than traditional commerce. You no longer have to write out a shopping list – you just need to say “ Alexa, add Coke to the shopping list.”
Conversational Commerce isn’t just impacting retail. Travel bots can replace travel apps and websites by providing everything from bookings to travel alerts and customer service.
Besides, customers no longer have to install apps to book rides – they can just ask their @Uber or @Lyft bots.
Kip, a shopping bot for teams, is a very interesting bot in this space. From office supplies to snacks, Kip handles the complex coordination of getting everyone in the team to add to the group order.
The interesting thing in this chatbot use case is that this bot is introducing a new e-commerce concept called the “team cart”. Here, multiple members in the chat can add to the cart, and the admin can pay for it. In this way, Kip is enabling a way of shopping that was not available until now.
Notification bots keep users engaged by sending them personalized and relevant messages in a channel or group. These bots have started to replace emails and in-app notifications.
Some examples of Notification/ alert bots are:
- Price watch bots
- Analytics report bots
- Bots that notify you when your kids get home
There are a couple of differences between bot notifications and traditional mobile notifications:
- For example, notifications sent to a group/team/channel chat are more collaborative. We see teams collaborating and taking action faster and more productively than when emails are sent to a group.
- While traditional notifications take you back to an app or a website to take action, many chat platforms provide you with a set of controls, such as buttons, that you can use to take action inline.
Given the right use cases, notifications can quickly turn into taking productive action.
These micro workflows can happen in consumer chatbot use cases. This includes a discount alert with an action button to buy, as well as business use cases, such as for actionable reports or approval processes.
The incentive here is that using bots for reports and alerts improves the actionability, transparency, and context.
In this use case, the bots act as go-betweens, connecting users with service providers.
In the same way that Lyft and Uber connect you with drivers, an operator bot can connect you to another human who then facilitates anything from technical support to marketing help.
Sensay is a good example of an operator bot. The Sensay bot connects users with a real human whenever users need advice or inspiration.
The incentive here is to provide a friendlier and useful version of the common interactive voice response (IVR) systems we all love when calling our service providers. The hope is that text-based bots that are delightful, personalized, get us to the right person. This can change our negative perception of most common answering machines–like IVR systems.
Customer Service and FAQ Bots
This is one of the most common chatbot use cases. Here, the bot serves as the customer support executive, for employees or external customers. For internal chatbot use cases, the bot can answer questions like “What is our HR policy?”. An external consumer brand bot can answer questions like “What are the list of products you have?”. Support and FAQs are easy chatbot use cases because they usually follow a pattern of a single request/response, and the questions are usually repeated and easily trainable.
Nanorep’s customer service bot.
There is a strong incentive to use bots in customer support use cases — this is because bots are typically much more cost effective ( and in many cases faster) than humans at performing simple repetitive tasks.
So that mundane and monotonus tasks can be handled by chatbots to allow human customer service agents to focus on more complex cases. The ultimate goal of a chatbot isn’t to replace customer service agents, but to increase their efficiency.
Today, more and more marketing managers are looking for ways to build bots for their brands to increase the brand awareness and engagement.
There are many interesting use cases around notifications of new products or special offers by top brands. Companies are still trying to figure out what a valuable and engaging brand bot looks like over this new conversational interface.
Bots provide brands a new and fresh way to engage with their users in a useful way.
The core incentive here is app fatigue — users are tired of installing specific brand apps. It’s not that people don’t care about apps anymore but there are just too many, so smartphone users are starting to become more selective. Only a handful of apps are absolutely key to our lives, and they will become the primary channel through which we communicate, work and play.
Today, approximately 75% of all smartphone users in the world use some sort of messaging app. In fact, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Viber and WeChat together have more users than the big networks: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
Brands are now building bots on these messaging platforms to connect with their customers. These messaging platforms allow customers to shop, browse and communicate with brands in an engaging, conversational format.
For example, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has built an amazing bot on Facebook messenger. If you are a KLM customer, you can receive your flight confirmation, your boarding pass, check-in reminders, flight status updates, and access to customer service agents, all on messenger. Most importantly, you don’t have to install yet another app, you just have to approve KLM as a messenger contact.