Intelligent Agents and Chatbots – A Guide
What are intelligent agents -chatbots?
An intelligent agent is a software application that searches and presents all information that an intelligent agent retrieved from the Internet. The processes of searching for different kind of data and information are completely automated. The core of the intelligent agent is artificial intelligence. Over time, intelligent agents expand their knowledge so they can easier achieve their goals.
The knowledge intelligent agent gets through completing tasks on a daily basis is used to improve their skills and solutions for different kind of problems. With the development of technology, the need has arisen for intelligent agents. Their mission was to receive and answer on all types of questions and inquiries from clients. As a result, an intelligent agent was built and named chatbot. Today, chatbots made a big hype on the internet, because they became one of the main technologies that organizations integrate into their business. Responding to customer inquiries, do chatbot which role is to improve the service. They are applicable in various industries and are accessible to all types of users ready to respond to all their requirements.
The very basis of the work of chatbot is natural language processing (NLP). NLP is the same technology that recognizes voice messages like Google’s Now, Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana. Chatbots handle the information provided, textual messages or voice messages, by the user before recognizing a series of complex algorithms based on the message delivered by the user. That message contains what the user wants to say and how the user will respond or meet his / her needs.
Picture 1: NLP Process
The role of intelligent agents
Intelligent agents represent a new breed of software with big potential for a wide specter of web applications. They serve as personal assistants, intelligent user interfaces and a way to manage your e-mail intelligently. Lately, it is more and more popular to implement chatbots on e-commerce platforms. This guarantees a revolution in business views, both B2C (Business-to-Customer) or C2C (Customer-to-Customer).
Regarding chatbots, their role is doing tasks or answering inquiries, which is done within 5 seconds. These relate to tasks like answering on client’s inquiries after working hours of people and solving of every inquiry no matter how many inquiries chatbot receives. They are also used in marketing, banking, healthcare, traveling industry, real estate, fashion industry and many other industries. Chatbots can integrate on many platforms, but the most popular are Facebook Messenger, Viber, WhatsApp, WeChat, and Slack.
The most popular platforms for intelligent agent integration
Intelligent agents such as chatbots are one of the most popular innovations in business. As social media continue their growing every day, it’s understandable that business uses social media for connecting with customers. Every business has to provide support for their clients. The most effective way is providing support on social media because clients are spending most of the day online. In addition, it’s also the fastest and the simplest way to establish contact with your users. There is a certain dynamic involved when dealing with communication channels like chat, especially when compared to some classic ones like the phone call.
Chatbot integration with Facebook Messenger
Chatbots on Facebook Messenger serve a business and use their own pages on Facebook with whom organizations provide support. A customer can contact their providers every second of the day, every day in a week. They are answering instantly on customers questions and they are well programmed for providing correct and reliable answers to the customer. It also helps greatly when using Facebook Messenger for customer service.
Conversation with a chatbot on Facebook Messenger always starts with a welcoming message to ensure a friendly approach. Messenger developed so-called rich bubbles with a few calls to action buttons. The customer can pick what topic he wants to talk about with chatbot. Customers can quit conversation with chatbot at any moment and they are able to request a conversation with a real agent.
Picture 2: Facebook Messenger Chatbot
Chatbot integration on Viber
Viber for business is quite a newer solution for companies. It’s also an interesting one, featuring a bunch of great tools for customer service. Viber for business is useful in many different ways when it comes to helping your customers. You can open a communication channel with Viber’s public profiles, informing customers about orders. In a similar manner, you can share information and pictures of your articles with customers.
When we talk about chatbots, they have a similar role like chatbots on Facebook Messenger. Every conversation starts with a welcome message and chatbots are very kind and helpful. Answer on inquiries is within 5 seconds, if not, then chatbot gives an explanation why the customer has to wait. They also can recognize spam or empty messages.
There are a lot of types of chatbots on Viber and each of them has a different role. Having this in mind, this article will focus on the four most popular ones, which you can find all of them on Viber’s official site.
Foxsy is a chatbot that has over 24 thousand users. Its feature is synchronizing pictures from customers Facebook accounts.
Picture 3: Foxsy
Chatbot Swelly is the most popular Viber’s chatbot with more than 63 thousand users. Swelly’s role is providing assistance in giving advice about life and helping in decision making to its customers on daily basis.
Picture 4: Swelly
Huffpost Entertainment provides service of informing their users about new TV shows and films on Netflix and giving advice, which ones have the best rating. Also, it helps people for choosing the right film based on their current mood.
Picture 5: Huffpost
This chatbot is focused on customer health. It counts a number of calories in a day, gives advice about which food people should eat and how should client lower their weight. For providing the right information, this chatbot requires information like age, current height, and weight.
Picture 6: Forksy
Intelligent agent’s integration on WhatsApp
In the following diagram, you can see the growth of WhatsApp from 2013 to 2017. Today, Whatsapp is the most popular communication platform, more popular than Facebook Messenger.
Picture 7: WhatsApp growth
It is understandable that organizations are using WhatsApp more and more because with WhatsApp they can attract more customers than with any other application. Today, intelligent agents are very popular in communication between organizations and customers.
Currently, only a demo version is available. Idea is to achieve that chatbots on WhatsApp become the leading tool for customer service. The plan is to provide customer service via chatbots only to small and medium enterprises.
Intelligent agent’s integration on WeChat
WeChat is an application that serves to exchange messages, but it is also the first application that published chatbot. This application is mainly used in the area of China. WeChat enabled chatbot for the first time in use in 2013. However, this does not mean it’s the best. It was not constantly upgraded and improved so it’s not currently on the same level as the other chatbots.
Chumen Wenwen is the person who created chatbot for WeChat in 2012. Chatbot had the ability to recognize voice communication, respond to user’s inquiries and provide information to the users about the vicinity of different facilities such as restaurants, cinemas, and hairdressers.
There are two types of chatbot accounts at WeChat, which are subscription and utility accounts. Both types rely on artificial intelligence.
The purpose of subscriber accounts is to post content. Users get notification of new content, and they open articles of their choice. This is one-way chatbot can track the activities that users are interested in and evaluate specific business needs. While utility accounts are used in customer service, where chatbots establish communication with customers. This type of chatbots use restaurants, e-commerce, airline companies and similar types of business in online communication.
WeChat chatbot works in a much simpler way than Facebook Messenger and Viber chatbots. This chatbot works by identifying the keywords messages and based on them providing a satisfactory response to the user. Over time, chatbot acquires more knowledge and become smarter. Therefore, he understands a greater number of user queries.
Intelligent agent’s integration on Slack
Slack is a communication software that allows a group of people to communicate in real time and share data via the same channel. In early 2016, Slack launched chatbot under the name “Slackbot”. Its function is to help users navigate through Slack or assist with any Slack related activities.
The latest idea of Slack’s founder and director is to further enhance artificial intelligence so chatbot can understand all the information that goes through a particular Slack account. So chatbot would, in the case of a large amount of information that the user did not read summarise and present only the most important information. Then the user doesn’t have to go through the whole set of information. If this technology succeeds, filtering messages and delivering only the most important and fairest ones would solve the problem of channel clutter, making the business more efficient.
Usage of intelligent agents in different industries
When talking about intelligent agents today, chatbots are all the hype. They’re becoming more and more popular from day to day. Usage and benefits of using chatbots in your organization are much more widespread than their disadvantages. They are present in a big amount of industries like banking, marketing, travel industry, airlines and many more. In a way, they can largely replace call centers, because of their ability for automated problem-solving.
In the following paragraphs, you can read about chatbots in exchange for call centers, chatbots in banking, chatbots in marketing and chatbots in healthcare. If you’re interested in more industries, refer to the Botanalytics list of top 10 industries using chatbots.
Chatbots in call center exchange
The purpose of chatbots to change agents in call centers is to prevent the intrusion of internal centers due to a large number of calls at the same time. With their fast and reliable responses, they provide all the information to the users. By reducing the time of receiving information from the users, it prevents long and unexpected waiting times for the answer of employees of the call center. Consequently, they prevent possible errors and providing support to customers at any time of the day, unlike agents who have their defined working time.
Every day, businesses combine the work of agents and chatbots that largely results in success. Chatbot’s frequent customer response inquiries gain more knowledge, resulting in a large amount of information available. Chatbots also have the ability to filter and group user queries and thus facilitate agents to navigate to find information. Such interaction between employees and chatbots contributes to efficiency and achievement of satisfactory results. If the queries are overcomplicated, a chatbot has the ability to submit queries to experts for finding answers. This is one of the reasons why you should not be afraid to integrate chatbots as a vital part of your business strategy.
Chatbots in banking
The focus being customer satisfaction, banks are no exception to this case. According to a report released by Juniper, chatbots will be responsible for saving around $8 billion a year by 2022. The same magazine by investigation concluded that using chatbot saves more than 4 minutes compared to traditional call centers. Thus, a virtual assistant plays an important role.
Banks develop their chatbots for the purpose of cutting their costs and mistakes that people made. Chatbots can control multiple accounts, check clients bank balance and costs. Clients can use them to pay bills and have automated transactions directly with a chatbot, instead of downloading apps. With the growing customer expectations, there is a need for faster, highly personalized and safer financial management solutions. A personal virtual assistant has the potential of becoming one of the most popular ways of accessing information about financial products.
That is chatbot programmed like real finance advisor. Financial chatbot can be your personal financial guide which gives you tips about anything that is in common with finance terminology like how to invest your money or buy a new house. This banking chatbot interprets complex financial terminologies into understandable language for everyone and saves you time.
Chatbots in marketing
Chatbots are slowly becoming one of the main segments in marketing by providing big values for brands all over the world. Despite chatbots are not a new thing in the world of marketing, technologies that support them are constantly upgraded. So, merchants have to work fast and effective if they want to have an advantage in front of their competition.
Customer habits are different than ever before; text messages are nowadays a preferred method of communication. Consumers don’t want to wait for their agents to answer the phone, so texting seems like a much simpler and more effective way of communication. Organisations are trying to implement simple ways of communication as much as they can in their marketing strategies.
The challenge for marketing is the imperfection of chatbots. Despite easy upgrading, clients still take a risk in asking important questions and getting quite an unsatisfying answer. Artificial intelligence enabled the development of chatbots, but with time it cost more by every day. NLP is still far away from perfection, even with today’s most developed technologies and artificial intelligence. There are still big risks in abilities of chatbot’s communication with clients on a high level of effectiveness.
Although, even though chatbots are not new to the world of marketing, they are growing in popularity every day. This is due to their ability to create an effective and simple marketing strategy, researching the needs of audience and cooperation between brands.
Chatbots in healthcare
Currently, the only advisable ways to use medical chatbots is to monitor the health of client based on the information a chatbot collects. This includes informing the client if those parameters get out of control, scheduling appointments in hospitals and helping homecare assistants by providing constantly updated information about their client’s health. Chatbots won’t offer you a diagnosis, but it can remind you to take medication or notify you to update your health status.
Currently, the most popular chatbot in healthcare is Woebot. It is primarily used on Facebook Messenger for the purpose of cognitive-behavioral therapy, one of the most popular therapies in dealing with depression. It follows the mood of the client and shows them how their mood is changing. This chatbot keeps your information completely private and secure. Woebot talks about the mental health of a client, based on information it collects from conversations on a daily basis. Most commonly, it involves a discussion about their daily routines and how they spent the day. It also sends a lot of video materials and other materials which can help in raising the mood of the client.
Advantages and disadvantages of using chatbots
Development and more frequent implementation of intelligent agents and chatbots in businesses show more advantages than disadvantages. Advantages of using intelligent agents and chatbots are:
- Intelligent agents are a new type of customer service which provides help to their customer 24 hours a day, every day in the week
- Chatbots can help automate the process of fraud prevention
- Chatbots provide relevant content to the clients
- They automatically collect information and data
- Chatbots participate in the personalization of organization strategy
- Intelligent agents ensure consistency – they always use the same voices and textual messages for every client
- They don’t have interruptions and they provide wrong information
- With their constant work, they are always present and they don’t have to go on holidays, therefore they are never absentee as real employees are
oninquiries and questions are fast and always the same, so they gain customers satisfaction.
In terms of disadvantages, we can say that there are still a lot of flaws, but with time and today’s technology, we can expect that they’ll sooner or later
- Intelligent agents cannot give the right answer unless the question is asked how it is defined when creating an agent
- Chatbots and intelligent agents can’t answer on multiple questions at once
- They can interpret the question wrong
- They don’t have emotions and are quite impersonal
The future of chatbots
Many SEOs and digital marketers predicted that 2016 will be the year when voice search will become the leading ways of searching the internet. More and more people are using voice search technology, but textual searching is still number one and the best way of browsing on the internet. Intelligent assistant based on artificial intelligence are being regularly used in assisting their clients every day.
Despite limitations that intelligent agents still have today, it’s obvious that companies are working hard on expanding and upgrading their agents and chatbots. Artificial intelligent develops every day so we can expect new trends in the next few months.
For example, one of the new trends in intelligent agents are gaming agents. Google’s DeepMind is a company that has developed an intelligent programme called AlphaGo and its role is playing a game called Go. This programme managed to beat legendary Go player Lee Se-dol. The massive growth of intelligent agents focuses on business and other productive sectors, not only gaming. We can expect some new trend in artificial intelligence in terms of intelligent agents which will largely improve business and technologies.
Future chatbot trends
One of the most exciting trends of chatbots is chatbot with emotions. Deep learning is connected with machine learning and it depends on the algorithms inspired by the structure and function of the human brain. The latest chatbot can think ahead and through the deep learning, chatbots are gaining emotions. They don’t show consistency in their personalities and that feature makes them one-dimensional and more evident that they are not people. Also, the Facebook team investigated that most chatbots can’t remember what they talked about with people in previous conversations. This is another disadvantage.
To sum up, the hype about artificial intelligence, especially in terms of intelligent agents and chatbots, is getting bigger and bigger. Their implementation in business shows a lot of advantages and benefits. Intelligent agents have an ability to answer on every customer’s inquiry within 5 second, which definitely encourages customer satisfaction.
Like it’s already told, an intelligent agent is a software application that searches and presents all information that an intelligent agent retrieved from the Internet. Their most popular role is the role of personal assistants, where they provide all the information customer wants. Organisations nowadays implement intelligent agents and chatbots because they can cut their costs and to some extent replace the work of agents, who get their salary every month or week.
Platforms where organizations usually integrate their intelligent agents are the most popular communication channels because they see it as the simplest way to get new clients. These platforms include Facebook Messenger, Viber, WhatsApp, WeChat, and Slack. It’s also good to have future trends in mind, with examples that include chatbots with emotions.