What is a Chatbot?
Benefits and how to apply in businesses

What is a chatbot?

 A chatbot is a computer program or an AI based program built to simulate a conversation with a user in real time through text or speech. It uses an artificial intelligent (AI) developed to respond the conversation automatically via messaging applications as if it is responded by a human. It is also called an autoresponder software. This program is embedded on servers, applications or chat programs.

Chatbots are now very popular among entrepreneurs, website owners, marketers, as well as big companies such as IBM, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, LINE, Amazon. It can help your business run smoothly and efficiently both in conversation with many customers and in a digital marketing.

How do chatbots work?

1) Analyzing questions of the user

Chatbots analyze the questions by finding relevant keywords at first.

2) Returning the response

After the user’s request is identified, the appropriate and immediate response of the chatbot will be returned to the user. The response may be a general text or a predefined text.

Processes of chatbots

1. Pattern matching

Chatbots use pattern matches to group data and generate an appropriate response for the user. With the Artificial Intelligence Markup Language (AIML), an XML-based markup language for building rule-based chatbots, it can respond from the correlated data.

2. Natural language understanding (NLU)

It is a field of Natural Language Processing (NLP) to understand human language. NLU is a process to convert text into structured data for a computer to understand.

3. Natural language processing (NLP)

Natural Language Processing (NLP) is a process designed to convert the user’s speech into structured data. It is also used to select a relevant answer. NLP is composed of the following important steps.

  • Tokenization is a process to convert sensitive data into a token value which is more secure and available to use as before. It is mostly the data used in doing financial transactions.
  • Sentiment analysis means user sentiment analysis to understand whether the user’s behavior is positive or negative. By differentiating the user’s behavior, you can fulfill the user’s needs more precisely.
  • Entity recognition is to identify and categorize important information.
  • Dependency parsing is a process to find out how all the information in a sentence is related.

Types of chatbots

1. Rule-Based Chatbot

This is also called “Script Bot”. It is a chatbot that works and delivers results based on the defined rules and keywords. In case a user types the wrong letter (even just one letter) or the question doesn’t match the specified keyword, the chatbot won’t be able to answer the question correctly. Therefore, it needs to define various commands to cover every possible question.

2. Conversational AI Chatbot

This chatbot combines machine learning and Natural Language Processing (NLP). It adapts Natural Language Understanding to be able to interact with the user more naturally. Its messages are more similar to the conversation with a human and are more tailored to the user’s needs. For example, when a customer types the words “Hello”, “Hi”, “Hey”, they are the same meaning which means a greeting.

Features of AI Chatbot are as follows.

  • Conversational bots have an ability to understand complex conversations and try to find the most relevant answers.
  • AI bots can analyze and predict sentiment of users and understand their emotions.
  • Machine learning bots learn from users’ behavior and provide more specific conversation for each user. It can be utilized in showing the promotion of products that customers are interested in.

Benefits of chatbots

  1. Helping you to communicate with your customers at all times.
  2. Providing a consultation or guidance for users quickly and accurately as programed in advance.
  3. Prevent problems between business and customers. Chatbots always reply to your customers politely although they got some inappropriate messages from the customers. 
  4. Being able to specify date and time of the new promotions and inform your customers quickly.

How to apply chatbots in current businesses

Chatbots can be applied to many platforms and various businesses to automatically return the response to customers. The following samples are how to use chatbots in each business.

1. Education

Chatbots are being used to interact with learners, helping them to study and practice foreign languages.

2. Finance

Chatbots provide supports and answer FAQs of customers such as asking for credit card payments via LINE Application.

 3. Medical treatment

Chatbots can assess user’s depressive symptoms. In case it found that the user has severe depressive episode, it can recommend the user to consult a doctor faster.

4. Retail

Chatbots can answer customers’ questions via LINE and Facebook automatically, so the business owners don’t need to answer the same questions every time, and they can utilize the available time to manage other issues.

Read more: [Machine Learning] It’s time to use AI for data analysis