What is Bot Technology?
A bot (or a chatbot) is software, an app, or website plug-in that interacts with customers or users. These web interactions may be through graphics, text (chat), or even speech. Bots are usually designed with human language (or natural language) so that they could perform flowing conversations with users.
They are great for the enrichment of website user experience as its primary focus is to provide ease for web visitors. These bots usually work as navigator assistants, appointment setters, customer support agents, sales drivers, and customer feedback collectors. These chatbots may be likened to Microsoft’s paper clip word helper from the early ‘90s and ‘00s.
Bot technology is also known by different aliases as internet bot, web robot, chatbot, and so on.
Image Source: Needpix
How does it work?
In the majority of websites, chatbots or bots work in a question and answer format. This means that these are designed similarly to instant messaging. Through machine learning, these chatbots are designed to process natural language without programming.
Bots could be designed with a predefined script and a “knowledge database” to select an appropriate answer to a query. Its primary goal is to replicate human conversation and to perform tasks like a real person.
In any case that any information within the database does not match a query, the bots are designed to deflect the question, ask multiple questions until an answer could be selected, or potentially pass the conversation to a human operator.
Do you need a chatbot for your blog?
For online enterprises and businesses
Chatbots are most beneficial for online businesses and enterprises. If a page requires customer service or customer support, adding a chatbot is a good investment. It is a good alternative for after-hours customer service support.
There is a significant reduction in load for human customer service agents. It could also handle inquiries about orders, shipping, and package tracking. Bots could also provide product and service information. They may also help bill through sending of notifications and balance information.
It could drive sales by generating leads and bot marketing. Through targeted questions, bots may be able to provide product recommendations or offer discounts and deals. These bots are also very useful for appointment booking. Bots are also helpful for scheduling, calendar notifications, and other time-related activities.
For bloggers and influencers
Constant audience interaction is required for blogs and influencer pages. This may include replying to comments and engaging readers in a conversation. For instance, it could provide quick answers for simple inquiries. Chatbots are better than a wordy FAQ page. One basic web design principle is the fact that pages are meant to be skimmed.
It is a good alternative for simple and quick tasks. Bloggers and influencers can benefit from bot technology in a variety of ways. Bots could create email lists for information campaigns. They could also be designed to handle mailing lists, subscriptions, and even newsletters.
Also, these bots could be designed to do surveys to website visitors and gain feedback on their experience within the blog.
Points to consider before adding a chatbot
Although chatbots could be designed to create conversation like a human, only sophisticated chatbots could understand some human context. Even if these expensive chatbots do understand, there will always be a limitation. Unlike human operators, chatbots could not empathize with a customer because of their lack of emotions.
A limitation on the “knowledge database” is also a common issue. Bots are designed to match a query to an answer. These are not designed to improvise an answer or to provide a spontaneous solution to an issue. This leads to customer frustration and, eventually, failure in customer retention.
Finding a chatbot that fits a specific niche or purpose is easy. However, there is no one-size-fits-all kind of bot technology. There are some blogs where a chatbot is simply unsuitable or unnecessary. Simple blogs that are intended for information, entertainment, and other related niches do not necessarily require chatbots.
One of the biggest issues with chatbots, especially for startup companies and bloggers, is the price. Basic designs for chatbots could cost from 5,000 USD to as high as 40,000 USD per month. Because such an investment is required, it becomes a lower priority over security and web design improvement.
Best bot technology and chatbot builders online
Interestingly, there are previous researches that estimated more than 80% of businesses will have chatbots by 2020. This is probably the reason why there are multiple bot technologies and chatbot builders available online. Here are some examples of chatbot builders online:
Image Source: Chatfuel
- ChatFuel – This is the chatbot platform commonly used for Facebook Messenger. Based on its website, it assures increased sales for businesses. It is also a good option to use for page FAQs. This is an affordable, build-without-code application that costs only about 15 USD per month for premium services. ChatFuel also offers its most basic chatbots for free.
- Mobile Monkey – This is also a Facebook Messenger chatbot. However, it also offers website chatbots, live chats, and even SMS marketing. Premium offers could go as low as 6.75 USD per month.
- PandoraBots – This particular online tool is one of the highly acclaimed of its kind. Prices could go from 19 USD to 199 USD per month, depending on developer requirements. There is also a free plan that only offers the most basic package.