Technological advancements have made it possible for businesses from all industries to maximize their performance and automate a wide range of activities, in order to reach their goals and objectives with less effort and more swiftness. Nowadays, a lot of the repetitive activities that in the past required long-drawn-out human attention, can be highly automated through solutions that include various types of bots. These technologies benefit not only businesses, but also individuals—we have seen people relying more on chat bots or social bots for daily needs and interactions either with friends or favorite brands.
With the popularity of virtual assistants such as Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri, or Bixby increasing by the minute, more and more businesses are turning to automated processes and chat bots when it comes to reaching customers and maintaining personalized relationships with them. In 2018, global spending on robot process automation software reached $680 million, with a great part of those investments going into the development and implementing of communication bots.
Regardless of your activities, in order to determine what type of bot is right for your business, you must first have an understanding of what bots are, their value, usage, and classification. That way, you will be able to make an informed decision and implement a robot automation software in accordance with the needs of your customers and with your goals and objectives.
General Information about Bots: Value and Usage
Before further discussing bots and how they can benefit your business, we need to make a clear distinction between good bots and bad bots, as there exists a lot of controversy surrounding what bots are and how they can be used. Therefore, making sure that you know what good bots are and how to avoid using or being targeted by bad bots, is mandatory for all business decisions involving automation software.
Good Bots vs. Bad Bots
Oftentimes, when people discuss bots, they do it in a negative context, and usually in relation to either fraudulent internet bots or RoboCalls. Given that more than 52% of web traffic is conducted by bots (good and bad), it is understandable that some might feel reticence towards embracing the benefits of bots without properly understanding how they work, and what tells them apart.
As is the case with most technologies, people will either use or abuse it, and bots are no exception. Therefore, the existence of bad bots such as hackers, scrapers, spammers, or impersonator bots shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone—but it also shouldn’t shine a bad light on good bots such as chat, informational, transactional, knowledge, or social bots that are used to save time and improve various business-to-person interactions.
The Value and Usage of Bots
The benefits of implementing robot process automation software for your business are numerous, from saving money and time, to generating leads, improving your customer database, or improving the outcomes of customer interactions or of marketing campaigns. Also, according a survey conducted in the U.S. in 2018, people feel they could rely on chat bots the most for getting a quick response during an emergency situation.
If you are looking to automate processes that were either taking too much time or making you invest a lot of money into their implementation, using a bot can be a great idea, when performed in accordance with industry regulators, and using top-quality solutions and technologies. Automating conversations, the broadcasting of emergency notifications, and other aspects of your business means not only keeping up with modern technologies, but also offering customers and business partners the solutions they need.
The Classification of Bots and What Type of Bot is Right for You
Further, we are going to discuss the three main type of bots, their characteristics, benefits, and usage—and how you can decide on what type of bot to use for your business, whether for crisis communication, customer service, or any other activity.
Currently amongst the most popular type of bots, chat bots are created to interact with people by carrying conversations, for a wide array of reasons, such as testing technology, entertainment, customer service, and more. With estimations telling us that the global chat bot market might reach $1.25 billion by 2025, putting an emphasis on chat bots and using them for the benefit of both customers and your business is a wise decision.
Automating conversational processes, which are currently conducted by employees, with the help of chat bots will help you save time, money, and see an increase in revenue, leads—but also in brand awareness. Instead of having employees spend a lot of time answering incoming questions from customers, you can reallocate that time to other activities and provide your customers with a chat bot solution for their needs. Also, conversations driven by chat bots, in which the software directs the customer towards a solution via asking a number of relevant questions can have better outcomes, as it direct them to where they can find the answer they are looking for.
Another great benefit of chat bots is that they can provide after-hours support for customers. Given that most support services are only available during office hours, when people might not be able to take time off from work, having a chat bot solution available 24/7 will help your business reach customers and maintain a fruitful relationship with them.
As is suggested by their name, informational bots provide people with helpful information, either by helping them find it online, sending push notifications, or any other type of notification-based system. You can find examples of informational bots in the internet and new media industry, such as bots that provide information about the news—but there can also exist bots that inform people about weather, their local community, and more.
Informational bots can be used in a wide range of situations, even outside of the media broadcasting sector. For example, a company can implement informational bots through a mass notification system in order to keep employees up to date with company information or issues related to internal communication.
The third category of bots we are covering today is that of transactional bots, which are used to cooperate with people same as an agent would do, and provide an interaction with external systems in order to conduct a certain transaction. Whether it is migrating data from one platform to another, verifying an identity, blocking a loyalty card that was reported stolen, or any other type of transactional operation for which you would have normally needed the help of a professional.
Operations performed by transactional bots have brought businesses a lot of benefits, including the ability to offer support to their customers outside of office hours, simplify operations that might have taken a lot of time when performed by a human, and develop a highly intelligent transactional bot over time.
When deciding what type of bot is right for your business, it is of utmost importance to have a clear understanding of the type of bots available, and of what technologies and solutions you need to implement them. This information, alongside with a thorough plan of your goals and objectives will help you tailor your strategy toward a success outcome while reducing your financial efforts, and making the most of what modern technologies have to offer. Whether you need a chat bot for customer support, an informational bot for your internal communication operations, or a transactional bot that can help your customers interact with external systems, make sure that your chosen solution is fully-featured and in compliance with industry regulators.
Also, don’t forget to gather and analyze feedback from your customers, but also from your employees, in regards to how the implemented bots are performing—thus you will have all the necessary information either for future solutions, or for improving current ones.