You’ve probably come across a chatbot before – perhaps far more often than you’ve realised. This relatively new form of communication has begun to flood apps and the online space with a flurry of activity. After all, when it comes to 24/7 customer-facing conversation, robots have the upper hand – no rest required.

Chatbots are one of those tools that can either be GREAT, or can feel unnatural and clunky. The key to using chatbots effectively is to place yourself in your customer’s shoes. How can you communicate your brand’s personality through this point of interaction? What value does a chatbot offer in making your business accessible and engaging?

It’s also important to respect your customers’ intelligence. There’s nothing worse than a friendly chatbot trying to pass as a human, when it’s obviously pre-programmed to be prompted by keyword. Embracing the technology for what it is, including its strengths and limitations, will protect your authenticity with your customers.

There’s a number of bots which have earned my nod of approval. These include…

  • ManyChat – this free chatbot sits within Facebook Messenger. If you’re already active as a business or brand on Facebook, ManyChat offers a wide range of customer interaction capabilities that can be uniquely shaped to suit your communication needs.
  • Intercom Bot – As a part of powerhouse Intercom’s offerings, Intercom Bot might just be the best customer service rep you ever hire. With the capacity to listen to all incoming messages, respond where it knows how to, and automatically assign other messages to humans, Intercom Bot is a robust offering that works with you to streamline incoming leads and increase your overall productivity.
  • Dialogflow – let AI do the heavy lifting through Dialogflow’s voice and text-based conversational interfaces. You know a product’s worth a second look when it’s backed by Google – it benefits from incorporating Google’s machine learning expertise to strengthen its voice recognition capabilities. Take a peek under the hood at everything Dialogflow’s capable of.

Machine learning is the area of computer science focused on building computers and AIs that can ‘learn’ and to continue to improve their performance due to this capacity. Google’s Autodraw is a great example of how machine learning can become more robust based on its interactions with humans – test it for yourself here.

There’s a multitude of ways everyday businesses can use chatbots to their advantage. Greet your customers when they land on your social media page with a friendly chabot offering its directional services, set your chatbot up to respond with FAQ services to external keywords, or send leads directly into a sales funnel based solely on chatbot interaction. Whatever your purpose, remember my golden tip: chatbots aren’t human – but it doesn’t mean they should lack personality.

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