What is a Conversational AI – Chatbots & how does it work?
Conversational AI or what we simply call Chatbots are a set of technologies behind automated messaging and speech-enabled applications that offer human-like interactions between computers and humans.
Well, if you’re a iPhone user, you must have heard of a ‘person’ called SIRI? Or maybe “OK Google”. Do you think he/she is a conversational AI program? Let’s find out!
But first, you need to know the history behind Chatbots:
Conversational AI or Chatbot is not something that’s new. Alan Turing in 1950’s developed the first computer program that could interact with humans, called Eliza, using natural language processing to imitate a psychotherapist’s language. This is the first time when a human-like conversation with a chatbot was made possible.
How does Chatbots work?
Just like teaching a small child that A is for Apple and B is for Ball, you can easily feed data to a program to interpreted if a customer ask a specific question, of course triggered by a keyword.
Once this specific keyword is trigged from the customer’s responses, the chatbot is programmed to respond with a series of structured data that’s already fed into the system. Taking this to a step further, conversational AI will feed in data, use machine learning to interpret and continuously do so, to understand the customers better.
But with the development of AI and advancement in technology, conversational AI has been the steppingstone in engaging with customers and converting them into sales. From small e-commerce businesses to tech giants in the world adapt conversational AI to interact with their customers. Here are a few examples;
Mastercard implemented conversational Chatbot & is the first to have a successful story as well! It was implemented in such a way that the bot could identify if its engaging with the correct account holder and verifying prior to answering the account holders questions.
Another example of conversational AI is the picture shown below, World Health Organization (WHO) is one of the leading sources of trusted information for the coronavirus (COVID-19) spread. WHO built a chat bot on WhatsApp called the WHO Health Alert to share information related to the pandemic. With over millions of inquires been asked about the pandemic, they realized that almost all questions were sequential and identical thus the need of automating it.
What’s the benefit of having a Chatbot on your website?
Imagine you have a store that never closes. Your store works 24×7, 365 while your competitors are all closed for New Years, all holidays & Christmas. Feels like you have a superpower to beat your competitors right? That superpower in tech world is called a Chatbot.
Despite many privacy issues aside, you can also know how your customers think. Will they inquire about product A & then end up buying product B. What are their preferences, what are their demographics. You can easily create different customer personas. Also this gives you access to tons of data about your customers! Also in the form of a chatbot or virtual assistant, Conversational AI saves customers from having to navigate a complex website, because they can communicate their needs by text message.
How Do I get a Chatbot for My Website?
It’s not that difficult at all if you’re coding-savvy. Most platforms like Viber, Messenger, Telegram is open source, so you can develop your own Chatbot easily too! However platforms such as WhatsApp is not open source yet, but you can easily find out platforms that create WhatsApp Chatbots for free! (https://www.twilio.com/ – They charge insanely low per WhatsApp Message)
Also you have the option of giving a local agency to create a Chatbot for you. Since most API documentations are openly available and most platforms are open source, it won’t cost you much!
If you really want to see how Chatbots work try out MitSuku. Its amazing!