‘Chatbots’. The word itself isn’t new. It’s familiar. It’s recognisable. Most of us have used one – and been frustrated by one! – at some point in time. The meaning of the term, however, is new.
The latest chatbots on the scene, like BOB-E.ai, are almost unrecognisable from what we tend to think of when we hear the word. So why the change? What sparked the evolution? What’s happened to necessitate a shift in how chatbots operate? And where did these next-gen chatbots come from?
Let’s take a look…
From automation to interaction…
Artificial intelligence has transformed the way we live, learn, and work. Early chatbots quickly became the easy answers to some of the most complex challenges that were being faced.
For businesses, for example, it was the productivity challenge. Automation revolutionised productivity. It freed up customer service employees to focus more on building relationships with customers and leads, rather than simply answering the same common questions over and over.
For customers, on the other hand, it was the availability challenge. Customers wanted to chat with businesses outside of standard operating hours, and chatbots delivered an ‘always on’ 24/7 presence. Website visitors could ask questions – and get real-time answers – around the clock.
Automation was there when we needed it.
But today, we need more. We need automated interaction…
As behaviours change, it’s become clear that automation alone isn’t enough. Businesses no longer just want to respond to questions. They want to engage in conversation to make these communications more valuable. Visitors no longer just want to ask questions. They want to converse. They want interaction, rather than simply a transaction. And it’s exactly this that’s sparked the new generation of chatbot technology, and created the dawn of automated digital interaction.
The rise of these advanced chatbots marks a pivotal moment in the digital era. As businesses and customers increasingly favour instant communication, automated digital interactions are bridging gaps like never before. They’re bringing automation and interaction together as one.
But just how do they do it…?
Blending technologies for enhanced conversation…
As previously mentioned, today’s AI chatbots are almost unrecognisable from their ancestors. It’s no longer a one-sided conversation; there’s engagement from both parties. It’s no longer just about responses; it’s about conversation. They don’t just listen; they ask. They’re not just there to answer questions; they build relationships, boost loyalty, and create positive experiences that guide visitors.
They do all this by blending technologies.
The latest conversational chatbots combine machine learning, generative artificial intelligence, and advanced natural language processing algorithms. The combination allows them to understand the needs of the user more accurately, utilise data that’s held about that user, and converse in the organisation’s tone of voice.
By training chatbots – using existing business resources such as FAQs, PDF documents, website content, and more – organisations are able to create customised knowledge bases to instruct the technology to behave in much the same way as an employee. And perhaps most importantly, these knowledge bases can be continually updated to ensure the chatbot grows with the business.
Paving the way to a future of engagement…
Once upon a time, an online presence was what generated the ‘wow factor’. Now, practically every business is online in one form or another. Having a website doesn’t make brands stand out. A presence alone is no longer seen as being a competitive advantage.
Today, we need to use that presence to engage; to pull visitors closer and make them feel like they’re a part of the business. And that’s what these new chatbots are doing. They’re out there building relationships with our clients and customers, even when we can’t. They’re building a future of engagement to help us connect with audiences like never before, and thrive in the digital world.