Editor’s Note: This article was written by a future expert from the CAWEB Master’s course. Enjoy!

Virtual assistants, autonomous robots or chatbots: companies all over the world are welcoming artificial intelligence as the new virtual goldmine. It has been used in various sectors, but it is only recently that it has taken over the marketing world with its star: the chatbot. Available at all time and always improving themselves, these conversational agents are now used by more than 1 billion people and became part of our daily life.

What Is a Chatbot?

The idea of a machine responding to a human goes back in the 1950s but the chatbot, the one you can find on your shopping website, was born in 1964 when Joseph Weissenbaum created ELIZA, a program simulating a virtual psychiatrist, responding to the question typed in the machine. Its answers were limited, as its behavior was determined by a few possible answers. 

Chatbots are not as limited as they were. Some are built with artificial intelligence and are able to use natural language processing and deep learning to understand more complex requests as a human would. However, they are more complex, and each type of chatbot have their own advantages. A scripted chatbot, using rules, will be easier to create and will be efficient for determined questions, while an intelligent chatbot, working with AI, can accept all forms of demand and improve over time. It will be more suited for treating a larger variety of requests. Their application depends on your need, but every company can find its chatbot.

What Makes Chatbots So Attractive?

It is clear that chatbots are more than a trend. Nowadays, people live through their smartphones and computers, whether for chatting with their friends, buying goods or looking for a service or an information. Companies came to understand that these technologies can be used as a direct agent and answer the customer demands without human help. 

The first reason why people rely on chatbots is their availability. You don’t have to hung on your phone for hours hoping to reach customer service as they are now available at all time and answer you in a few seconds. Their answers might not always satisfy your demand completely, but they can facilitate the work of the employee who will take over your request by specifying it.  

For a company, a chatbot will save time and money as part of the customer service is automated and the employees can have more time to focus on other tasks and answer efficiently to the clients, but it will also strengthen the relation the clients have with the company, since they easily keep contact through the virtual assistant.

Can Anybody Have a Chatbot?

For a small company, creating your own conversational agents seems almost impossible given the technical skills and investments required to develop the software. Fortunately, there are services that make it easier to create and manage a chatbot. This is the case for Botsify.com, which helps you create a messenger chatbot adapted to your company needs.

Chatbots seems to be the new Eldorado for the digital market. Even if they won’t replace customer service, chatbots can be a great advantage for your marketing strategy and web giants such as Facebook think the same. Messenger now has more than 100,000 active bots and is encouraging their development.
If you also want to know everything about chatbots, take a look at the Complete Guide to Chatbots in 2018 from the website sproutsocial.com, and find your perfect virtual assistant.

Thank you for reading, we hope you found this article insightful.

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