First came the website, then the app. Now a third wave of communication innovation is underway. We have entered the era of the chatbot.
A chatbot is a piece of software that interacts with users in a conversational way. What is new and revolutionary about this is that we are at a tipping point in terms of the ability of chatbots to understand sentences and engage users at a sophisticated level. Soon, we will be taking for granted that we can arrange travel, look up our records, order meals and get a book recommendation by talking to a chabot. Microsoft recently drew the conclusion that, "conversational AI is the next user interface wave in computing."
SnatchBot, a chatbot creation platform powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Natural Language Processing (NLP), is at the forefront of this revolution. Launched in May 2017, bots built using SnatchBot’s tools — built by companies such as Accenture, Allianz, Aman Bank, Uber, Veolia and Vodafone — have carried out over 40 million interactions to date, with 80 per cent of conversations ended with a ‘thank you’ from users, an another important metric. This is testimony not only to the growing desire of businesses to deploy chatbots but also to the ease of use, efficiency and powerful features of the SnatchBot platform.
As Avi Ben Ezra, CTO of SnatchBot explains, "when we founded SnatchBot, we concentrated on providing simple, intuitive tools so that anyone could make their own chatbot. Our goal was that of providing all the features that a business would want: payment processing; message broadcasting; live chat options, plugins (to popular tools like Zendesk, Google Calendar, Office 365 Calendar, Google Tasks Box, Google Drive, DropBox, and more), NLP and more."
Avi's last point is crucial. Natural Language Processing (NLP) is the term for one of the most crucial features of the best chatbots, the ability to break down a sentence and understand the parts and its meaning. SnatchBot put considerable resources into creating a state-of-the-art NLP system that allows users to create models for identifying meanings or 'entities' such as people's names, places and dates. Better yet, SnatchBot has pre-trained NLP models that you can deploy at once.
“Our models have been pre-trained against massive data sets of sentences to give users the option of creating chatbots that have near human accuracy in identifying entities,” said Avi, “these models can be applied to conversations in 130 languages.”
Moreover, SnatchBot's NLP models are capable of learning. The chatbot will apply the examples it has been taught to assess the meaning of new sentences. Again, this machine learning is state-of-the-art at SnatchBot and the process by which the chatbot learns can be greatly accelerated using analytics from SnatchBot, or (for free) from Chatbase - Google's chatbot analytics company with whom SnatchBot has a partnership.
Another key feature of the SnatchBot platform that makes it one of the best is the fact that they provide dozens of ready-made templates for a wide variety of use cases. And the number of these templates is growing weekly.
Perhaps the most powerful feature of the SnatchBot platform is the fact that the chatbots built there are truly omni-channel. With just a few clicks, among others, the same bot can be put on Messenger, a website, Skype, Slack, and SnatchApp, SnatchBot’s own propriety messaging system. There are more channels being added all the time, with Viber and WeChat functionality scheduled to go live soon.
The recent halt in new chatbot production for Messenger was a reminder of the importance of being able to place the chatbot on many channels. But so too are the long-term trends in communications. With users spending more time in their favourite social media channels and less time browsing websites, it's crucial for organisations that they have a means of communicating with their audience in a way that suits them. And a conversation with a chatbot in social media is a perfect way to carry out this communication.
It might be surprising to find that this new technology is low-cost. Especially in comparison to the early days of websites and apps. In fact, the SnatchBot platform is free to users. It does have a pro-package, recently launched, for those businesses wanting to remove the SnatchBot branding and have premium customer support. But all the same features are available for free.
The prospect of introducing new technology can be daunting, but chatbots are already delivering positive engagements between organisations and users. And with the advent of platforms like SnatchBot, you can quickly deploy the very best chatbots with all the features that a business needs.
For more, see snatchbot.me