What are Chatbots?
In an earlier article, I discuss the types of chatbots that were available for Customer Education professionals. It’s amazing to know that article was written almost two years ago. While the basic definition of chatbots has stayed the same, computer programs that simulate human conversation through text or voice interactions, they have become much more sophisticated with the integration of generative AI. Think ChatGPT or Claude. Chatbots are becoming increasingly popular and used in a variety of customer experience applications, from customer education and marketing to customer support and customer success. They are becoming increasingly popular as artificial intelligence (AI) technology continues to develop.
Chatbots are typically powered by a combination of natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML). (If you need a refresher, check here.) NLP allows chatbots to understand the meaning of human language, while ML allows them to learn from their interactions with users and improve their responses over time.
Chatbots can be used to perform a variety of tasks in customer education, including:
- Answering questions and providing information.
- Completing transactions.
- Providing customer support.
- Educating users.
Chatbots offer distinct advantages over traditional education and support methods, since they are available 24 hours a day, in multiple languages, and can handle a large number of requests simultaneously. Chatbots can also be used to automate repetitive tasks, freeing teams to focus on more complex or strategic issues.
The advances with generative AI allow chatbots to be increasingly personalized. They can now learn about users individual needs and preferences over time, and then use this information to provide more relevant and helpful responses.
How can I use chatbots?
- Course Registration: Guide customers through course registrations and answer questions about the process.
Build a chatbot that triggers when a course registration is initiated to answer questions about the course description, timings, instructor bio information, or anything else that might be required.
- E-commerce: Help customers with purchases and answer questions about products or courses.
Trigger a chatbot during the purchase process that can answer questions about fees, payment processes, cart maintenance, next steps, and more.
- Digital Adoption Platforms: Guide end users through tasks on SaaS platforms.
Create a voice activated, personal interface with your DAP tool to guide the user through the task at hand.
- Support: Start the discussion with support or the knowledgebase to assist with product help.
Use the chatbot in combination with federated search tools to leverage content from anyplace it resides: the knowledgebase, support tickets, academy, technical documentation, or community.
How do I choose a chatbot?
Consider the following criteria when you choose a chatbot for your organization.
- Requirements: Establish how the chatbot will be used in the environment.
- Ease of use: Low code, no-code platforms should provide simple user interface interactions.
- Integration: Ensure it can integrate with the existing tech stack.
- Natural Language Processing (NLP): Ask the vendor to identify the NLP engine used to drive the way the chatbot will converse.
- Multi-channel support: Identify the various ways people can access the chatbot.
- Branding: Allows for specific branding around tone, voice, avatars and behavior.
- Scalability: It should be able to grow as the organization grows.
- Analytics and reporting: The chatbots ability to provide data to identify potential improvements.
- Standard technology purchase criteria: Pricing, support, and security issues.
- User Reviews: Product reviews online and from customers.
Implementation Best Practice Checklist
When you’re ready to get started, use this list for guidance.
- Clearly identify the purpose and scope of the chatbot.
- Choose a generative AI platform.
- Train the chatbot on a high-quality dataset.
- Test and iterate on the chatbot.
- Monitor chatbot performance and update it regularly.
- Use simple language.
- Build a consistent and engaging brand voice.
- Make the information helpful and accurate.
- Create forgiving or graceful ways to handle unexpected inputs and errors that match the brand voice.
What chatbots are available?
The chatbots that made this list are either already part of an existing tech stack, or have appeared in more than one list online. This list is by no means a recommendation, but places to start researching.
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