Chatbots

Chatbots are popping up more often on webpages and other social messaging channels. Customer service depends on chatbot and the tech has become a part of our everyday lives. What’s the purpose of a chatbot in the first place, how do they work, and what are the benefits of using a chatbot?

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What is a chatbot?

The meaning of the word chatbot comes from a combination of the words ‘chat’ and robot. The technology behind chatbots is based on Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. Interactions with chatbots vary widely: there are marketing chatbots, sales chatbots and customer service chatbots. A chatbot can also serve as entertainment or be a way to show off technical prowess. The goal of a chatbot depends on the developer. Building a chatbot without a platform foundation can be expensive, take a long time and a lot of effort. Despite the level of integration between chatbots and tech, building a chatbot without a platform isn’t something just anyone can do. However, with a chatbot platform you can create and publish a chatbot in a matter of hours.

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How does a chatbot work?

Chatbot technology is powered by Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning. Artificial intelligence as a field is focused on creating artificial forms of intelligence in artefacts and objects - a non-human form of intelligence if you will. Your smart thermostat, Snapchat, or Apple’s Siri are all forms of artificial intelligence. The brain powering AI is machine learning, which works by developing algorithms for data processing. This allows your chatbot to continue to learn variations on questions and answers.

  • AI Chatbot

    AI chatbots are automated conversation partners that are often used in customer service as a first point of contact. Automated answers are provided to website visitors by linking the question to the appropriate answer in the database. Artificial intelligence allows the chatbot to understand the intent of the question - this form of AI is known as Natural Language Processing.

  • Chatbot API

    A chatbot can retrieve information outside of its platform by using an API. Think of an API like a bridge - the bridge enables information exchange between the customer conversation and external systems and databases. The API enables the chatbot to reference this external information and retrieve the answer without slowing down or disrupting a conversation. Your chatbot can leverage a broad range of tools and databases to create the best customer experience. Read more about how Chatbot APIs work.

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Be available 24/7 for customers and support your team

The benefits of chatbots

A chatbot doesn’t only help you service customers, but it can also assist your team. Read on to find out more about the benefits of using a chatbot and why using a chatbot for online marketing is a popular approach.

  • 24/7 availability

    Having a digital colleague means you can provide direct answers to customers 24/7. You also increase your availability by expanding your service to additional channels. When customers have a question, you can meet them in a variety of places and give them an immediate response.

  • Support your service department

    Using a chatbot helps bring peace to the chaos typical to service teams. Have the chatbot manage incoming inquiries and allow employees to focus on things that simply take more time. A chatbot supports your team’s workflows and reduces pressure on the front lines.

  • Reached on any channel

    A chatbot can be active on a webpage and your favorite social media channels. Activate your chatbot with a few clicks on channels like Facebook, Telegram or WhatsApp. You’ll be available all the time wherever your customers are, without the effort of managing a separate team for each channel.

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Characteristics chatbots

A chatbot has a number of distinctive features. You’ll want to integrate how the chatbot operates in a way that compliments your business, especially considering a conversation with your chatbot could likely be the first experience a prospective customer has with your company. Taking a thoughtful approach to the purpose of your chatbot, providing the appropriate content to answer customer questions, and giving your chatbot an appropriate tone of voice for your brand will help you generate more leads and convert website visitors.

What makes a good chatbot?

It can sometimes be difficult to recognize the features of a good chatbot. The chatbot design, the availability of the bot and its scalability all play a role in success. Take the Oxxio chatbot for example. There are a number of good features, but also some that aren’t so great. Research showed that Oxxio customers would rather send a message as opposed to calling, which is often more efficient anyway. That’s why Oxxio launched energy buddy O.

Examples

To provide you with successful examples in the world of chatbots, here you see three digital employees who are successfully deployed to speak to customers.

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Chatbot Billie - Bol.com

At bol.com they have chosen to implement a chatbot that has the answer to almost all questions. This is super successful: Billie receives about half of the customers and handles 70% of their questions without even involving an employee. This makes Billie one of the best chatbot examples of the moment.

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Chatbot BB - KLM

KLM's chatbot is called BB, which stands for blue bot, in line with their brand identity. This chatbot example shows perfectly how proactive you can be. If you decide to link your KLM account to Facebook, you will immediately receive your boarding pass via this channel when you check in and you will have the opportunity to chat with BB.

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Conversational interface – A.S.R. verzekeringen

This chatbot is different from the other chatbot examples, because we are talking about a so-called conversational interface. When you visit the A.S.R. you will immediately deal with the chatbot. This guides you through the website, as it were; you click on what you are looking for and you are immediately helped on your way.

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Chatbot O. of Oxxio

Pay attention to availability

It can sometimes be difficult to recognize the features of a good chatbot. The chatbot design, the availability of the bot and its scalability all play a role in success. Take the Oxxio chatbot for example. There are a number of good features, but also some that aren’t so great. Research showed that Oxxio customers would rather send a message as opposed to calling, which is often more efficient anyway. That’s why Oxxio launched energy buddy O.

The various types of chatbots

Chatbots are actively used in a variety of industries - from customer service to real estate. Below are a few examples of how companies are using chatbots today.

  • Payment processes

    Assist customers in finalizing their orders, reducing drop off rates and abandoned carts

  • Customer Service

    Be the first point of contact and answer frequently asked questions so employees have more time to focus on more complex inquiries.

  • HR assistant

    Automate the time-consuming processes in your HR department and create time for strategy or optimization.

  • Makelaardij

    Supports visitors in scheduling a showing and presenting units that meet their search criteria.

  • E-commerce assistant

    Your webshop chatbot can offer special discounts to encourage a sale, or act as a digital assistant to offer product advice.

  • Marketing lead generation

    The chatbot can automatically plan calls or demos with interested prospects and can send downloads in exchange for contact details

Integrate with your current workflow

Chatbot channels

A chatbot can be active on a website and social channels like Facebook, Telegram or WhatsApp simultaneously. Your customers can reach you wherever they are and you don’t need to do extra work to be there. A chatbot online improves customer satisfaction, taking on front line contact. When the chatbot isn’t able to answer or a customer wants to chat with a live agent, the chatbot automatically transfer the conversation to an available colleague. You can optimize your existing processes with your own digital colleague. Since it’s taking on front line contact, which is often up to 85 percent of inquiries, your service team has time to work on more complicated questions. These are just a handful of the many benefits of using a chatbot online.

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WordPress plug-in

Simply install the plugin and add the pairing code in the designated place.

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Facebook Messenger

With a Facebook chatbot, you are ready on one of the favorite platforms of your users.

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Whatsapp chatbot

With WhatsApp business you can easily put a WhatsApp chatbot live and create an accessible customer contact.

Chatbot trends

Digital assistants are more popular than ever before. This overview provides a review of the most impactful chatbot trends we’re seeing today.

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A steady adoption of chatbots

The value of the chatbot market is predicted to grow to $1.2 billion before 2025. More companies are expected to start using chatbots than ever before. Since 2019, even more chatbots are powered by artificial intelligence. This technology enables chatbots to handle complex “human” tasks, easily taking over conversational services from humans. Chatbots also support brand building in that they’re an innovative, modern technology.

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Growing cost-savings

According to digital tech research firm Juniper, customer service chatbots will help save an estimated $11 billion in costs by 2025. By having multiple conversations at the same time, in combination with direct responses, chatbots are often more efficient as compared to a human employee. A chatbot is active day and night and never takes a vacation, improving availability and helps balance the load of incoming inquiries. Chatbots aren’t only easy to talk to, but they can provide service 24 hours a day.

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Social messaging apps exceed social media use

The four largest social messaging apps are taking precedence over the four largest social media channels. Messaging app usage is growing, especially for business, and especially for customer service. Chatbots are part of what’s making messaging apps a trend, enabling customers to easily reach out to companies online.

Create a chatbot

You can build a custom chatbot in a number of ways, but using a chatbot framework or a chatbot platform like Watermelon makes it easier, faster and less expensive.

Custom build chatbot

Building a chatbot by hand from scratch may be the most custom approach, but this takes time and (lots of) money. For example Google’s Dialog Flow is one option to build a chatbot from scratch, but there’s no support so it’s entirely up to you to make the most of the tool.

Chatbot platform

Chatbot platforms like Watermelon mean you don’t need to know a programing language to build a chatbot. Watermelon has an intuitive drag-and-drop Chatbot builder. Add content to your chabot, we’ll take care of the rest. Design conversations visually with the easy-to-use builder? Want advice on best practices? Our Service & Support team is ready to help.

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