How to pick the best chatbot for your business
At this point, it’s relatively common knowledge that adding AI to your customer service strategy is a good idea. But with so much hype and so many options, it can be hard to understand exactly which chatbot is right for your company’s specific needs and goals.
The problem most companies find is that they think of bots as a one-size fits all solution. A particular bot may be great in one use case but falter in another. Why? Because like people, bots have varying degrees of aptitude and choosing the wrong one for your business will likely deliver underwhelming results.
Broadly speaking, there are three main use cases when it comes to implementing chatbots for a business. Let’s explore them:
1. The Q&A Bot
This is the simplest and most straightforward use case for bots. This bot picks up on keywords within a question and responds with pre-written answers. The Q&A bot is a modern twist on the common FAQ, designed to help with basic, routine customer questions (what is your shipping policy? or how do I change a password?). While these bots aren’t the most sophisticated form of AI, they can be very effective in offloading general customer queries away from human agents. They are also affordable and relatively easy to deploy. That being said, scripted bots force customers into specific and unnatural workflows which break the minute the customer deviates from the script – which doesn’t exactly provide the best user experience. It’s these bots that often start a company’s AI journey – but many quickly find that they want to upgrade to something more powerful.
2. The Conversational Bot.
Going beyond highly-scripted answers to simple questions, the conversational bot can answer more complex queries in a more human-like fashion. Powered by, Natural Language Understanding (NLU), these bots understand the intent of a question and respond to that intent, rather than to just a keyword. Moreover, the context is carried over throughout the entire conversation to provide a true back and forth engagement. For example, if a customer were to ask their bank’s chatbot “where is your nearest location?”, a Q&A bot would be triggered by the word “location” and would likely respond with a store locator tool or list of stores – leaving the customer to do most of the heavy lifting. A conversational chatbot would instead respond with something like “I’d be happy to help with that. What’s the address of where you are now?” Once the customer responded, the bot might ask, “OK, do you need an ATM, drive-through, or full-service location?” and use the customer’s response to provide the best answer.
3. The Task Bot.
The most complex use case is actually using a conversational bot to accomplish a task on your behalf. Take an airline for example. A transactional bot would, after having a conversation with a customer and gathering all relevant information, be able to book a flight on behalf of that customer. This use case, while advanced, also requires a lot of work to integrate with a network of backend systems including those that will verify the customer’s identity, show schedules and fares, and link to the frequent flier programs—and do it all quickly and securely. This use case is incredibly cool, but also highly complicated and requires a lot of time and resources to get it functioning in the right way.
There are limitless possibilities when it comes to how companies can use chatbots to enhance customer experience. These are the most common use cases, but there will be many more emerging as this technology continues to mature. When creating an AI-powered CX strategy, make sure you’re choosing the bot that not only matches your company’s goals now, but that is robust and flexible enough to grow with you.