18 Apr 2018
You’ve heard a lot about chatbots lately, but you’re not even quite certain about what they are? The concept is always talked about in the most confusing way, while things can be explained rather simply. A chatbot is a computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users, especially over the Internet.
Chatbots, or cleverbots, often treat conversations like they're a game of ping-pong: talk, reply, talk, reply. They are software automated to perform different tasks through automatization.
Maybe the simplest way to put it is that a bot is a software that can have a conversation with a human.
The definitions may vary for numerous reasons, one of which is that bots can be used for many different things, and their purpose often influences the perception, and hence their definition as well. This causes some confusion and so do many other things.
One of the delusions people have is thinking a bot can talk to someone just like another person. With the current technology, this just isn’t achievable. Maybe in the future? But for now, don’t set your expectations THAT high.
Another one is that cleverbots only converse via text or voice, but actually, they can also communicate via graphical widgets or interfaces. Actually, it’s becoming really trendy for them to do so! Facebook Messenger, Kik, WeTalk and other chat platforms allow web views that allow developers to create customizable graphics.
In fact, businesses are already often using Facebook for automated customer support, e-commerce guidance and interactive experiences through cleverbots. Facebook bots don’t have to reply just with text, either - they can respond with structured images that include gifs, emojis and more surprisingly, call to action buttons. This would allow customers to order flowers for a friend through a chatbot, book a restaurant table, review their e-commerce purchases and other similar things.
All of this tells you one thing - chatbots are definitely becoming the biggest thing in tech right now.
But can you imagine having a bot therapist? Not only is it feasible, contrary to what many think, it’s actually happening! A team of Stanford psychologists and AI experts have created the Woebot - a talking therapy chatbot, that can treat patients by having short conversations, tracking their mood and sending curated videos and word games to treat their mental health issues. It only costs 39 USD a month, compared with one therapist session falling somewhere in the price range of 75 - 200 USD.
There are even upsides to having a chatbot therapist - venting to an algorithm definitely lifts that fear of judgment that stops many from seeking help and is a more affordable option for many with mental health issues unable to afford a human psychiatrist.
Does it raise many ethical, medical and legal questions? Certainly, but keep an open mind. Many other sensitive jobs have been trusted with chatbots over the years, like helping Aussies access disability benefits, advising Syrian refugees fleeing the war, or being a sympathetic ear to millions of Chinese people living in perhaps over inhabited cities via smartphones.
Chatbots are becoming companions, assistants, and friends. What their limits might be?
Facebook and Telegram are already integrating the technology in their own businesses, but how ‘bout you? It is now standard for a business to have a website and having a chatbot is becoming the new thing (possibly the new standard, too).
Long gone are times when you actually had to call a telephone operator to ask for a taxi ride, right? Now, not only can you just press a button, you can chat with a bot on Facebook or Slack and get a Lyft.
In the mood for a crazy coffee order, like a venti with seven pumps caramel and three pumps pumpkin spice, but embarrassed to actually utter those words out loud? Order via Starbucks chatbot, he won’t make fun of you. He’ll even help with the baristas spelling your name right! You can access the bot via Starbucks app, tell him what you want and he’ll tell you the cost of your order. He won’t judge, either.
Their Facebook messenger app makes it easy for users to search, listen or share music. When you get a little into it, the cleverbot will also give you playlist recommendations based on mood, genres you like and even what you’re doing.
Mastercards Facebook chatbot helps you check on your transactions, like figuring out how much you spent eating out lately. Definitely helpful!
Shopping for groceries, but not sure what to make for dinner? Ask the Whole Foods cleverbot for some recommendations on Facebook Messenger! He’ll filter recipes based on your dietary preferences or allergies, but the coolest part? You can even search for groceries via emoji (finally a good use for all those cucumber and bacon emojis).
You see the trend here - all the greats are starting to use chatbots and you want to hop on the train and get one for your own business, but you’re not sure how? Well, you can make it from scratch using Java, PHP or Python or you can use one of the existing platforms. Using an enterprise chatbot is a superb way of raising company productivity, cutting costs and assisting existing teams.
There are many platforms that can help you make your own chatbot, and some are:
Also known as Tasks Assistant, Talla is an internal cleverbot assistant that helps HR and IT teams in companies improve how they work. Talla can help them not get distracted or overwhelmed my constant emails, texts, and unexpected meetings, instead offering a simple, all-in-one-place dashboard for teams to use. It can also automate repetitive tasks, inform on the company’s business practices and answer FAQ.
Always wanted an all round telephone banker, informed about your business, answering all money related questions, instead of being limited to sending and receiving money? Now you have it. Verbal Access offers a personalized banking experience and you can use it via text or speech. The more you use it, the better it gets since it learns on the go, and it can recommend banking services or products that can benefit your company.
This bot building platform helps you create a bot without any previous coding or programming experience. Anyone can build a chatbot in minutes using this platform by just linking their profiles on social media to their Chattypeople account. It uses payments systems like PayPal, recognizes variations of keywords and it supports various CMS platforms and business categories.
Botsify is a cool Facebook platform helping you integrate bots into your system. You pay for a subscription and create your bot by connecting to your FB account, setting a webhook and write up commands. There on, Botsify will handle customer services for you!
This company offers solutions on things ranging from mobile storytelling to building chatbot platforms. Their cleverbot building technology includes a streamlined tool to create independently customizable bots for your business.
Bots made with ADA technology are AI-powered and they attract and tempt users into conversations that are fun and pleasurable.
You can use ADA ChatBots Builder and create your Assistant without having any technical and coding skills whatsoever. You can easily graphically customize your ChatBot and in a matter of minutes, your Virtual Assistant will be ready to be published!
All of these sound a little overwhelming for you? You can simply create a bot straight out of one of the most popular chatting apps out there - you can run it from the app directly. They made an open source bot code for third parties to integrate and create their own bots. You can customize and send alerts, notifications, alarms and connect to YouTube or Github for an even more fun customer experience.
Yes, yes and yes.
Soon, having a chatbot will be a must, just like having a website or a Facebook page. More and more businesses are getting internal and enterprise chatbots - they cut costs, help with marketing and customer service and free employees from boring, repetitive tasks to do more interesting and important work.
Now is the right time to spot the demand for chatbots - you can offer the supply. Selling chatbot building platforms is becoming a very lucrative career. So, if you’re a sales professional interested in being part of the future, here’s your chance.
With all the big businesses and early adopters already deep in the chatbot industry, now is the time to become a part of it.
Chatbots are irreplaceable when it comes to helping a business spare time, increase productivity, drive results and engage their audience.
In this day and age, it is not hard to monetize a chatbot through affiliate marketing, e-commerce, leads generation, advertisement and collaborations. Businesses are becoming well aware of this and are ready to buy.
If you are a senior sales professional, this is a great opportunity to become a part of this innovative and lucrative business and a true web revolution using your well established local network!
Do you want to find out more about ways to earn money from this cool industry?
The Digital Box offers solutions on ways to monetize your knowledge and skills, check it out. Founded by professionals with over 10 years of experience in the mobile industry, they make innovative but reliable platforms that empower marketing goals of businesses in the mobile era. The ADA platform, designed for Mobile Engagement Automation, helps create the best mobile strategies and helps implement any plan of action your company might have, mobile-wise, providing all the necessary tools you need.
Don’t let your friends and colleagues miss out on the web revolution that’s going on right now - share this article with them and let them in!