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The Rise of the ChatBot

As content marketing becomes increasingly digitized, we’re witnessing the rise of a new electronic phenomenon: the ChatBot. ChatBots, also known as talkbots, interactive agents, or Artificial Conversational Entities, are computer programs designed to hold conversations with humans, either online or over the phone. Early ChatBots were primitive, difficult to use, and easy to “fool,” but modern bots often utilize sophisticated language processing systems, which enable them to conduct a “human-like” conversation with an individual. Below, we outline the rise of the ChatBot – and what this unique technology can bring to your marketing strategy.

    Cut Costs with the ChatBot
    ChatBots were introduced in the late 1960s, designed to respond to user’s questions by means of simple matching. Modern ChatBots can understand a user’s question, delivering responses as relevant. ChatBots are available 24/7, since they never need to sleep or take a break! Sophisticated ChatBots can handle even lengthy conversations with customers seeking information or a complicated resolution.

    Ultimately, ChatBots have the potential to replace live agents with electronic counterparts. High quality ChatBots can ensure effective customer support – which, as most entrepreneurs know, is key to brand success. From simple “thank yous” to complex resolution timelines, ChatBots can often deliver the information your clients need most, anytime and anywhere.

    The Proof is in the Data.
    Today, nearly a quarter of American businesses have used virtual assistants, according to India’s Economic Times Online. ChatBots are saving companies millions each year – and by 2020, that figure could soar to billions. About thirty percent of customers surveyed said they weren’t sure whether they’d interacted with a bot or a real person in a recent exchange, and forty percent said they didn’t care either way, as long as their issue was effectively resolved. Just ten percent of customers rated their interactions with bots as “negative,” and nearly half of customers prefer a problem-solving bot to one with a cheerful personality.

    Bot Problems – Because Even Bots Aren’t Perfect!.
    Even as ChatBots are cropping up in organizations around the world, consumers remain somewhat wary of the technology. We can all likely recall frustrating conversations with bots over the phone, and today, organizations worry that their bots will carry on unwanted or irrelevant conversations with users, since modern bots are typically programmed to respond to any type of interaction.

    Plus, while human attendants are usually skilled at recognizing moods, emotions, and feelings, bots have a harder time. In an age where personalized service is paramount, the bot’s inability to perceive fear, anger, or disappointment – and respond accordingly – could present problems. Nevertheless, the majority of American companies are likely to harness ChatBot technology by the year 2020.

    For marketing, sales, research, and lead generation, ChatBots will be able to offer unparalleled support at competitive rates. Yet computers will never replace the “human element,” and people will always be the best agents when it comes to solving complex problems. Nevertheless, ChatBot technology has arrived – and it looks like it’s here to stay.

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