The Pros and Cons of Chatbots for Business
Chances are if you’ve called tech support or customer service in the past 25 years you‘ve probably conversed with a chatbot at some point during your call. Some bots simply answer the phone and give you the menu of possible selections, then ask you to pick a choice from the list. Others are far more sophisticated and can handle the entire call.
The first chatbot to be recognized as such was a computer program named “ELIZA” which was invented by Joseph Weizenbaum at MIT in 1966. The program was first written to prove the theory that a conversation between a human and a machine could be more than just a question and answer session. The theory was that the machine’s answers would be scripted, and it would be unable to reason and think on its own.
However, much to ELIZA’s inventor’s surprise, most of the humans that interacted with the program could not tell that ELIZA was a machine. Their conversations remained mostly superficial and didn’t delve into any real reasoning or thought on ELIZA’s part. This led the human test subject to believe that she was a real person since she was able to adequately answer their questions.
Chatbots for Business
Bots have come a long way in the last quarter century. They have progressed from reading scripts and processing decision trees to learning speech patterns and emulating behaviors.
So, how are chatbots used for modern business applications? Most businesses utilize message bots, which like the name implies, exchange messages with customers. The best way to utilize a message bot is to treat them like a new employee. You let them wade into the shallow end of the pool and then give them more and more responsibility as they gain knowledge. They usually handle simple, ordinary tasks such as low inventory notifications, generating sales leads from a website, or even taking payments from customers.
Pros and Cons of Using Chatbots for Business
The most obvious pro to using chatbots is that they can provide customer service 24 hours a day since they don’t need to sleep, eat, or take breaks. Other advantages include:
- Chatbots save labor costs over the long term because after the initial investment they don’t require more time or resources.
- Increased customer satisfaction because your customers will be happier when their issues are resolved quickly and completely.
- They can be used to perform various tasks such as customer service, advertising and receiving customer orders.
One of the cons to using a chatbot is that they may provide only limited responses to customers. Other cons include:
- If the customer has a question that the chatbot can’t answer, the customer might feel like their time is being wasted and become frustrated. More complex chatbots may be needed if this problem occurs often however, more complex chatbots cost more money and take more time to program properly.
- Using chatbots may not be beneficial if your business is just too complex. A chatbot could be programmed to handle your complex business model, but the time and money it would take to make them proficient at performing the task would be prohibitive.
Chatbots have come a long way, and they are getting better every day. Artificial Intelligence tech is evolving rapidly, and this is one area that is directly benefiting from those advancements. Who knows what we might see in the future? Chatbots may be the forerunner of AI for physical robots.
They could also be employed to do tedious or dangerous tasks, removing humans from dangerous or life-threatening situations. Some robots are already performing these tasks, but with the help of human guidance. What if they could perform their duties on their own? The future will no doubt be interesting, and it was all made possible by scientists and engineers who just wanted to see if they could make a computer converse with humans.
If you want to learn more about chatbots – from creation to utilization – ONLC is your IT source. We are headed into the future, won’t you join us?