In the post-app era, chatbots are taking over the traditional mobile apps with their ability to mimic conversations and offer instant, digital connections. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2021, more than 50% of enterprises will spend more per annum on bots and chatbot creation than traditional mobile app development.
Businesses, irrespective of the industry are making the most of chatbots. While chatbots act as a 24x7 customer service agent for one business, it may help another by providing data points to predict user behaviour. Thus, a chatbot programming, technology, and type depends a lot upon the customer base it is going to serve. The later segment discusses different types of chatbots that can be developed to simplify the way businesses interact with customers.
Chatbot Spectrum: Types and Use Cases
Type 1: Scripted/Quick Reply Bots
A scripted chatbot is the one where interaction with the customer happens through a predefined set of questions. This type of chatbot is either developed through a questionnaire, which a customer is anticipated to ask or a rule-based chatbot is created where each action by the user prompts the bot to take an action or respond.
Type 2: NLP Chatbots
Chatbots, in general are counted as one of the biggest applications of Artificial Intelligence (AI). At its core, it utilizes an AI technology- Natural Language Processing (NLP) to map user input (text or voice) to an intent. NLP chatbots classify the messages and then language parsing is done to get variables for answer.
Type 3: Service/Action Chatbots
Service or Action Chatbots asks for relevant data from the user to take or complete an action. One of the relevant examples of such chatbots is the chatbot built for airlines business that enable customers to check flight status, booking cost etc.
Type 4: Social Messaging Chatbots
These chatbots are integrated within a social messaging platform (Messenger, Telegram, Whatsapp, Slack etc.), making it easy for customers to directly interact with the bot, just like they do with their friends.
Type 5: Context Enabled Chatbots
Contextual chatbots are the most advanced kind of conversational bots. Thy utilize Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to remember conversations that happened in the past, with specific users, to learn and grow over time. These chatbots learn with their experiences with the user. Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant are some of the examples of contextual chatbots.
Type 6: Voice Enabled Chatbots
Voice enabled chatbots like Alexa, Siri creates personalized experience for the users. These chatbots accept user inputs through voice, act upon user request, answer their queries, and perform a number of creative tasks. Businesses can create their own voice-activated chatbot by using text-to-speech (TTS) and voice recognition APIs.
Planning to Build a Chatbot for your Business?
Chatbots leverage chat mediums, such as SMS text, website chat windows, social media (Twitter, Facebook), or instant messaging platforms (Whatsapp, Wechat, Messenger) to receive and respond to the messages. Choosing the right type of chatbot and platform for your business depends upon a number of factors, which may range from business size, customer base to purpose of deploying a chatbot.
For chatbot development, you can go for off-the-shelf platforms like wit.ai, Chatfuel, api.ai. While these tools works well for basic customer engagement requirements, they do have limitations when over-the-top functionalities are to be integrated within chatbots. In such cases, the recommendation is to opt for custom chatbot development services.