Why suddenly all this fuss around chatbots? Have any of you used one to solve a problem, search for something or make a purchase online? It looks like we only use chatbots to try them out, mess with them, see what they can really do. I remember when Siri came out and the normal working day in the office turned into the fun game testing the possibilities of the new AI. Oh yes, chatbots haven’t won the place in our lives. Yet. And that’s exactly why we started talking about them. We want to be among the first adopters and we suggest you do the same because when everyone is already aboard, it might be too late to jump in. After you finish exploring the reasons why you need chatbots, just explore how you can get one to improve your company. So here comes the first reason for using a chatbot:
1. Bots will change everything! You can still be among the first adopters.
We are standing on the verge of huge changes, and chatbots that are live now are only a tip of an iceberg. There’s a whole underwater part to be witnessed in the nearest 12 months that will drastically change consumer and workplace communications.
While current bots are basically bringing the existing use cases to a new interface, the new reality that derives from there will be a total innovation, and the sooner you get yourself comfortable with it, the better you will be prepared to these changes as a professional and the more impact you can make on your circles in terms of adoption of new technologies.
According to the theory of Diffusion of Innovation, when the successive groups of consumers adopt the new technology, its market share eventually reaches the saturation level. It means that after this point this tech is not new to anybody, it’s so common that it’s taken for granted. If you join at this point, all your users will be already distributed among those who jumped in earlier. If people like chatbots and start using them for their daily online operations, and it seems they are very likely to do so, you’d better be the one to meet their needs. It’s like what happened with social networks – after the skyrocketing success of Facebook, everyone started building social networks, yet it was too late. So don’t lag behind.
2. Messengers have beaten social networks
An incredible thing has happened recently. Latest data indicates that we’ve reached the point when we use messenger apps more than social networks. And if you think about your daily interactions online, it won’t be that surprising – you use Slack or Skype to communicate with your colleagues at work, you talk to your closest friends on Facebook in Messenger, you probably have several chats with different groups of your friends depending on interests etc.
We were all so crazy about social media when they appeared because they took our social interactions to a new level, helped us to stay closer to each other. And now, with this uncontrolled news feed, so many friends, and groups, and events, and everything…, we want our connections to be more personal again. So we use messenger apps to narrow down our circles, tune down the noise, and build only meaningful relationships. A chatbot can be built into any major chat product like Facebook Messenger or Slack. And as we’ve already figured out that this is where people really spend time, you’ll probably want to be where your users are.
Most popular global mobile messenger apps as of April 2016, based on number of monthly active users (in millions) [According to Statista]
3. Chatbots are more human
Basically, there are 2 types of chatbots – unintelligent ones that act using predefined conversation flows written by people and intelligent AI chatbots that use machine learning. You may read about these two in more detail in some of our other blog posts. No matter which kind of bot you build, it will be anyway more personal and human than your usual app. You can fill it with your personality, your brand’s identity, make it speak to your users like you would, change its message depending on the input from the user.
What’s more, we are likely to ascribe human features to inanimate things, personification of complex notions is most natural function of our mind. So when we interact with a chatbot, we are tricked into thinking that we communicate with a person. Just imagine what kind of possibilities open to us here – no more business jibber jabber focused on selling to everybody, to some unified abstract person and not a unique individual. There’s one difference between a real person and an AI, though. A chatbot is selfless and dedicated to you, it is always there for you and it always has time for you. And that’s even more incredible about this technology.
4. Speak the real language
Let’s admit it, the language our apps use to interact with our clients is not the language we speak to our friends. It’s based on technological single-word commands like “sign up”, “log in”, “download”, “click”, “fill in” and it lacks such social language as “please”, “hello”, “for sure”, “how is it going?”. It’s like our businesses suffer from the social communication disorder. With a chatbot, you can express anything you want, and your users will definitely value it. Moreover, such discourse is more engaging and makes people want to stay with you and chit chat for a bit longer.
5. Better interaction with your users
A topic of chatbots is of fast growing interest. Chatbots solve the asymmetry of information flow. The problem has been that a conventional interface provides more information than it gets from the users. In such case, there is basically less control over what user sees and when, and it’s rather frustrating for everyone – designers, developers and marketers. Chatbots, on the contrary, show only a bit of information at a time, and can advance the interaction with a user based on user input at each specific point. That’s finally when we can call an interaction between a machine and a human a communication. Chatbots are so far the best tool for keeping users on a certain platform longer and keeping the content flowing by starting and maintaining the conversation.
6. Simpler interface makes a chatbot easy to use
Chatbots are usually text-driven, with images and unified widgets, which makes it easy to start interacting with a bot. Just think of the messenger app you’re using – it’s as simple as it can possibly be, and that’s exactly why we like these things so much. Content is king, so don’t distract your user with fancy but redundant features. Also, simplicity is what helped the most successful brands win our hearts. These things are the core of a chatbot concept that’s why they are doomed for success.
7. Lower acquisition costs… for now
First of all, chats are hot, they are only at the starting point of their adoption by the masses, and it is going to be exponential growth for a while. People behind chatbots are sharing in private conversations that the adoption growth is insane right now. Secondly, just because one can easily find a chatbot within several taps and start interaction immediately, user acquisition is associated with lower cost. Is it going to last long? We give the ecosystem up to 6 months to become saturated. So again and again, if you adopt this tech now, you’ll reach your audience much faster, with much less effort, and save a lot of money.
8. You can build a basic chatbot really fast
If you are not planning to build a space rocket but rather a fully functional smart chatbot, it won’t take you much time. In fact, it will happen much faster than creating a cross-platform app, for example. And timing really matters in business, right? There’s a variety of bot templates, ready-made software developed by Facebook, Microsoft and other IT giants you can use. You just integrate it with a messenger platform to your taste and needs, tweak some features, and the bot is ready. We built our first bot in a week, and it took so long only because it was the first time for us, and we had to do quite some research. Our next virtual assistant came out in just 2 days. To tell the truth, the tech side is not the hard part here, it’s the conversation and personality you’ll have to spend most of your time on. So it’s worth making a beta in 2 days and then start getting feedback from your users and improve your chatbot based on the real users’ experience.
9. Chatbots are not expensive to build
So we’ve just handled the timing aspect and here comes the cost. Quite predictably, these two are intertwined tightly. If you approach the developers with your idea for a chatbot and they show you a huge check and argue that it’s some kind of rocket science, tell them to go to hell. Because it’s NOT. Building a basic chatbot is fast and, as a result, inexpensive. Maintainability is not an issue either. We offer 3 chatbot development models with fixed pricing, which your can find more about here.
Yeah, the topic is hot and there’s a lot to discuss. And the deeper you dive in, the more exciting it gets and the more questions arise. We hope we’ve helped you to find the answers to some of them. Just remember that all the technology is created by humans, it didn’t just come out of nowhere. We are so used to out tech that we often forget about that. We also tend to forget that we created this all to save time, make our life easier, more meaningful and make a difference. So make sure your chatbot serves this purpose and makes only positive impact on our lives.