A technology mix of Artificial Intelligence, Natural Language Processing, and Conversational User Interfaces.

By definition, a ChatBot is an automated messaging service, powered by rules or artificial intelligence that a user can interact with via a messaging platform. It handles requests that usually require a phone call, web search, or mobile app.

The scope of ChatBots ranges from support services like customer support, technical support, feedback and inquiry support, information support etc. and fun services like quizzes and gaming.

Where do they exist?

People are using messenger apps more than they are using social networks. If one wants to build a business online, one must build it where the people are interacting the most. That place is now inside messenger apps.

ChatBots can be a part of any chat product like Facebook Messenger, Telegram, Text Messages etc. Or they can also be designed as a stand-alone interface.

How do they work?

They can be of two types – Rule-based and AI-based

Rule-based ChatBots:

These types of bots have a limited scope and are best suited for basic inquiries, entertainment, and educational purpose. They work on very specific commands and are as smart as they are programmed to be.

AI-based ChatBots:

These bots work on Artificial Intelligence (AI). They don’t need a specific command while communication. They understand the natural human language and not just the programmed commands. They continuously get smarter as they learn from the conversations.

Why are they important?

ChatBots have the ability to dig through huge amounts of data to pick out the best nugget for a customer, whether it is a troubleshooting solution or a recommendation for a new product to try.

For Users

Users prefer Chatbots over phone calls because they are faster, less disturbing and easy to use. Starting a chat or adding a bot to a chat room is all it takes to “install” an app. Moreover, they also save on storage and home screen clutter.

Users do not need to navigate between apps which reduce both the cognitive load for the user’s brains and CPU load for their phones. They are more comfortable and familiar with this type of messaging environment.

For Marketers

Messaging takes the largest share of our smartphone usage time. As a marketer, you need to be present in the environment your users spend their time in. Engagement and re-engagement become easier. The conversational apps that provide value to their users with infrequent usage will be less likely to fall into the oblivion current long-tail mobile apps experience.

They can also save money for companies and are easy to set up. Because most chatbots use messenger apps that are already on billions of phones around the world, chances are your customers are already plugged in and ready for your bot.

Group/social discovery will be an incredible growth tool.

Bot Guidelines

To summarize, these conversational interfaces are about delivering convenience, personalization, and decision support to the consumers when they are on the go.

With the increasing number of mobile apps, the consumers are reaching the limits of the “OS + apps” model.  It’s getting harder to download, setup, manage and switch between multiple apps. As an alternative, messaging apps are becoming the new platform, subsuming the role played by the mobile operating system.

Bots are the new apps, and the bot store is the new app store.