Chatbots - Part 1: Introduction and practical examples

Chatbots - Part 1: Introduction and practical examples
Published on: Jan 31, 1970
Updated: Aug 18, 2022

Messenger bots are the new hot topic in marketing - the self-learning assistants are revolutionising the way people search and buy online. So you definitely shouldn't miss this new opportunity.

Relevance of chatbots

Almost nobody likes to call a company to order a pizza, a taxi or a table at a restaurant, for example. Nor do customers want to download thousands of apps; they would prefer to organise everything via a single platform. Collective usage behaviour has offered a solution to this. More than 900 million people have installed Facebook Messenger and there are more than one billion WhatsApp users. Image

In addition, recent statistics, that Facebook Messenger is a key element in customer communication. Requests are less frequently posted on the public wall, and increasingly made in private messages.

So through bots, it is possible to create an ecosystem where everything happens. The enormous potential has already been recognised by many experts, and around 18,000 chat bots have already been programmed. This simplified communication between people and companies will become standard in the future. But what exactly are bots?

What are chatbots?

Chatbots are also called bots or messenger bots for short, and the so-called Facebook Messenger bots are particularly well known. A chatbot can be thought of as a digital assistant or even a small robot. It is programmed in such a way that it can respond automatically to queries, thus enabling fully automated user interaction. A distinction can be made between chatbots that interact via text messenger and voice-based assistants.

Bots are often referred to as the "apps of tomorrow", which are not created for a mobile platform such as iOS or Android, but instead run via messenger platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, weChat or Telegram. Another difference is that users do not have to download a thousand apps, but that everything can run on one platform. This way, websites and apps can offer their services via one interface. In order to be able to offer the customer a specific service, different data are used, such as the user's profile data, customer data or direct queries.

Bots can be standardised via question-answer combinations or personalised with the help of artificial intelligence. But what does this look like in practice?

Application examples from practice

The pioneer in this area is the Chinese messenger wechat, where millions of shops already offer their products. It is also called the "all-round assistant for everyday life". For example, you can use WeChat to book train tickets, make doctor's appointments, reserve cinema tickets, pay electricity and restaurant bills and read the news.

Another example is the Dutch airline KLM, which uses a bot to process customer enquiries, send information and data about the booked flight and inform about changes.

Other typical examples of use are, for example, the individual processing of news, checking the weather or ordering clothes.

An example user interaction of how Sarah tracks her parcel shipment via a bot can be found here on our website.


Next week I will report in a 2nd part on the benefits, challenges and use of chatbots in customer service.

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