We have all interacted with chatbots on occasion. They are a fixture on many a company’s website or Facebook page. You see them on WhatsApp. They exist across media, popping up to encourage us to interact with them every time we visit that page.
The steadily growing chatbot market is expected to reach roughly US$1.25 billion by 2025. And that’s hardly a surprise, given how globally present they are in the commercial world—and even beyond. Chatbots for websites are a crucial part of marketing, e-commerce, customer relationship management, customer experience, sales, and much more.
Benefits of Chatbots
Chatbots bring a number of benefits to organizations, including:
- Around-the-clock service
- Fewer language barriers for international and globally serving businesses
- Increased productivity for your team
- Less tedious and repetitive work for human customer service agents
- More streamlined and efficient customer service responses
- Reduced time in responses
- Sophisticated, human-like responses
- Superior customer engagement
Chatbots are also cost-effective. In fact, they can cut operational spending by nearly a third.
Types of Chatbots
There are several different types of chatbots for websites and other platforms, involving a range of technologies and leveraged for various purposes. Some of the most popular are:
Menu- or Button-Based Chatbots
Menu- and button-based chatbots are the simplest form of the bot. They essentially use a marginally more complex decision tree to give users responses to choose from, presented as buttons. They are neither the most efficient nor the most comprehensive of chatbots, but they are useful as rudimentary tools for resolving simple queries.
Keyword Recognition-Based Chatbots
Keyword recognition-based chatbots use natural language processing (NLP) to essentially “listen” to consumers and decide how to respond in kind. They are more sophisticated than menu chatbots, but they can get confused and deliver inaccurate answers when they are faced with repeated keywords across multiple similar questions.
Also called linguistic-based chatbots or click bots, these tools are a bit more sophisticated in some respects and more rudimentary in others. They establish a conversation flow, directing the interaction based on if/then logic. In other words, they are able to predict the kinds of questions a user will ask and provide an appropriate response.
Developers need to establish the language conditions, first and foremost. This takes a fair amount of time. Moreover, you will need to be very specific when crafting your responses. The conversational paths must be highly defined, and the bots must be carefully designed.
An AI chatbot for websites is perhaps what we most commonly think of when we hear the word “chatbot.” As you can probably guess, it uses artificial intelligence to carry on a real conversation—a seemingly intelligent one—with a human, despite being a piece of technology. This is perhaps why they are also sometimes called conversational chatbots.
These sophisticated platforms use AI algorithms and machine learning to learn from data inputs and make an “educated” guess about how to respond most appropriately. As they receive more data, they will become more knowledgeable and capable. This lends itself to a personalized experience.
By now, we are all familiar with voice bots. They are the fuel behind innovations like Siri and Alexa. These tools leverage speech recognition technology, including NLP, to “understand” the user’s vocal cues and resolve and respond to questions, prompts, and queries. It’s almost like you are actually having a conversation with the chatbot—almost.
While there are some limitations with voice bots, they have the capacity to be startlingly accurate, as long as they are well built and developed.
Free Chatbots vs. Paid Chatbots
The best chatbot platform for website optimization isn’t necessarily one you have to pay for. That said, there are some notable limitations to free chatbots.
For example, they can only accommodate a certain number of users. Moreover, they cannot be customized to the extent that paid chatbots can be, and you will likely receive less support than you would with a paid platform. The interactions and conversations can be of lower quality, too, and you may need to sacrifice features such as push notifications. Still, they can be effective solutions for businesses with tight budgets.
Free platforms or platforms with free plans include:
Meanwhile, popular paid options for chatbots for websites include:
- Zendesk Chat
How Do You Develop a Chatbot for Your Website?
Are you looking to develop your own chatbot for your business’s website? These are the simple steps to take.
- Establish the purpose for the chatbot, considering how it will serve you.
- Choose the most appropriate type of chatbot.
- Consider where you will place it.
- Make a list of the features you need to have in your chatbot.
- Choose the best chatbot platform for your website, as well as the tools and software you need to complete the project.
- Design the conversation, complete with welcome messages and prompts. Keep the dialogue simple to avoid confusion, and establish user inputs.
- Add buttons as appropriate.
- Test the chatbot with a rigorous quality assurance (QA) process.
- Integrate the chatbot into your website.
- Track analytics and consumer data.
If you are in search of a more comprehensive, complex chatbot for your website, consider choosing from among the best chatbot companies to work on a customized solution to meet your needs. There are numerous choices of vendors who will work with you to bring you a unique platform to improve your marketing and customer service efforts.