May 19, 2024

Picture this: it’s 11:30 PM and you’re on a sporting goods website. A window pops up in the corner with a text from a representative wanting to know if they can answer any questions. You ask which pair of athletic shoes is best for long-distance running and they give you detailed information about several pairs so you can make the best choice. The odds are good that you just interacted with an AI chatbot. 

By this point, we’ve probably all interacted with an AI chatbot at least once in our lives, though we may not have even realized it. Some chatbot platforms have become so sophisticated that the experience almost exactly mirrors what we would expect from a conversation with a human customer service representative. But what is an AI chatbot and how does it work? We’ve got the answers here.

What’s an AI Chatbot…and What’s Not

In order to understand how a chatbot can enhance your business, you must first know exactly what a chatbot is. Simply put, a chatbot is a software program that is designed to interact with human users using spoken or written language via messaging apps. Chatbots often take the place of live customer service representatives, either after hours or full-time, and can use either be rule-based or use artificial intelligence, or AI.

Rule-Based vs. AI: What’s the Difference?

As its name implies, a rule-based chatbot is designed for specific tasks and uses a set of rules to determine the answer it will give to a customer question. For example, if a customer types a question about shipping, a rule-based chatbot will recognize the keyword “shipping” and give a preset answer with a link to a landing page with shipping information on it.

An AI chatbot, on the other hand, can literally understand language, rather than working off a set of pre-programmed commands and cues. Through natural language processing, or NLP, AI chatbots consume large volumes of data, spot patterns, apply algorithms and use the results to formulate a response, essentially “learning” to speak and understand a language.

The more an AI chatbot is able to interact, the more data it’s able to gather. As its data set grows, it updates its programming to deliver more targeted answers, allowing it to engage in natural-sounding conversation with a customer rather than delivering robotic-sounding pre-programmed messages.

The Benefits of an AI Chatbot

People who have used an AI chatbot on a retail e-commerce site enjoy receiving personalized, thoughtful answers to their questions, not to mention a shopping experience that is startlingly similar to interacting with an actual human representative. This enhanced customer experience not only maximizes conversions but also drives retention. Once a customer has had a great experience with your business thanks to an AI chatbot, they’re likely to keep coming back again and again.

See what an AI chatbot can do for your business. Take a loot at available chatbot platforms today and choose the one that’s right for you. 

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