Chatbots use artificial intelligence (AI) to answer questions, provide information, book appointments, solve problems, and even make purchases. They run on versions of the technology that underlies personal assistant applications such as Siri from Apple, Alexa from Amazon, Google Assistant and Cortana from Microsoft.
In B2B applications, chatbots can be deployed on your company’s website, social media and other online platforms. Chatbot software is able to:
- Look up and share original research and unique insights
- Answer specific market and site questions
- Collect contact information for follow-up
- Schedule future conversations
- Route a customer to the right person within your organization
The experience of interacting on a computer, phone or tablet is more like a conversation than a conventional online search because, well, chatbots talk back.
And they don’t sound like the robots shown on television or in movies. Powering their skills is native language programming (NLP). That’s what enables the software to respond with text or voice messages with an understanding of context and intent. Their responses are delivered in real time and so smoothly that human customers often believe they’ve reached another person. In reality, the chatbot is only serving up programmed answers that the B2B company anticipated might be needed by customers — when and where the customers decide to ask.
“NLP is going to be incredibly important for business. It is going to fundamentally change how we provide services, how we understand sales processes and how we do marketing,” Richard Socher, the chief scientist at Salesforce, told Forbes.