Chatbots have been around for longer than you might think. In fact, ELIZA is believed to be the first ever chatbot, programmed by Joseph Weizenbaum back in the 1960s. Fast forward to today and we find ourselves at the forefront of a new and rapidly evolving era of customer engagement. One where innovation-focused organizations are empowering customers to engage with brands using everyday language. To seek information and support through channels they’re familiar with, at any time of the day. And to do all of these things more easily and with less effort thanks to significant advances in technologies including natural language processing (NLP), artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML).
What role do chatbots play in this new era of customer engagement? Read on as we break down what chatbots are, how they work, and why so many businesses are starting to adopt them. We’ll also cover everything you need to know about launching a chatbot and what it means for the future of your business.
“We think that you should just be able to message a business in the same way you message a friend. You should get a quick response. And it shouldn’t take your full attention like a phone call would. And you shouldn’t have to install a new app.”
—Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg, 2016
Chatbots support a range of digital and voice channels to offer users, including both customers and employees, a conversational self-service experience at scale. Common digital channels include messaging apps, mobile apps, and website, and voice channels include IVR and smart speakers, such as Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.
The word chatbot, short for chatterbot, is used interchangeably with “bot”, “virtual assistant”, “AI chatbot”, “conversational agent”, and "talkbot" among other terms.
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Chatbots are one of the significant trends powering e-commerce and other modern-day industries that experts predict