Answering the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about chatbots (2022)

Chatbots, virtual assistants, digital humans – there are many conversational AI technologies designed to interact with us in a way that mimics chatting with a real person. The catalogue of conversational AI platforms is set to become a $17-billion industry within the next four years.

Chatbots are currently the most widespread among businesses, with 80% of brands expected to be using them.

So clearly we’re all well versed in chatbot technologies, right? Well, not if you look at some of the most googled questions people have about chatbots. In fact, it seems many are asking the simplest and most basic questions.

So, let’s answer them.

As a bonus, we’ll also give you some insight into the difference between chatbots and digital humans – and how you can use both to create a more well-rounded, experience-focused digital workforce.

What is a chatbot?

Let’s start with an easy one. Chatbots are computer programs that can simulate human conversation either through a rules-based approach or by using artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP).

These conversations are usually through written text. Meanwhile, platforms that recognise and respond primarily to speech commands – such as Siri and Alexa – are more commonly called virtual assistants or voice assistants. When AI uses voice, written text and has a face, then it’s best described as a digital human.

How do chatbots work?

You’ll usually see chatbots either on an organisation’s website or via messaging app or social media sites (Facebook, Slack, Telegram, etc). They pop up on the screen and users type in a question or statement, which the chatbot can then interpret and respond to.

A rules-based chatbot will come back with a list of pre-determined actions or answers based on a ‘playbook’ set up by developers on the back end.

More sophisticated chatbots use AI and NLP to better understand sentence structure and intent. It means they can return more accurate, nuanced answers. Rather than rely solely on pre-determined outcomes, these AI-powered chatbots learn more with each interaction. They become better at distinguishing between ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ responses and adjusting accordingly.

(Video) 4 Answers To The Most FAQ About Chatbots - #57

What is natural language processing (NLP)?

Natural language processing is the technology that lets you process language data – like the words a customer types to a chatbot or says to a digital human – and come up with a response. Think of it like the brain, designed to process information and choose the most appropriate reply.

Conversational AI platforms like Google’s Dialogflow, IBM Watson, Amazon Lex, Microsoft Bot Framework and many others handle the NLP. So, if you have a chatbot, you’re likely to be using one of these platforms for writing the conversations your chatbot or digital human will have, based on what users ask.

What are chatbots used for?

We recently asked this question to a range of chatbot employers, leaders and enthusiasts, and found there to be a rather even split.

In total, 14% say they use their chatbot solely for converting new customers. Less than a quarter (23%) use their chatbot for customer support only. And 63% have a hybrid strategy of both business development and ongoing support.

This multi-functional strategy makes sense. In both scenarios, chatbots help lower the burden on human teams by redirecting people to useful areas of a website, answering frequently asked questions and other simple tasks.

Chatbots can be programmed to assist with administrative duties like password resets and updating contact details. They react quickly and are available 24 hours a day and from any location. This frees up regular staff to focus on the things only a human can do.

Chatbots do have limitations, though. Only 14% of customers say chatbots are friendly and approachable. They may be great when simple answers are needed urgently, but they struggle to build deeper, more empathetic connections with customers.

And there are situations where this is important, such as responding to people’s urgent financial concerns, helping them buy a dream home or handling sensitive queries. For these emotionally impactful journeys, digital humans and real people can offer a more human touch. It’s why brands today are focusing on building digital workforces and experiences that offer more of a human touch than chatbots can alone.

(Video) The Most Common Chatbot Questions Answered!

How do I make a chatbot?

We’re going to be a bit annoying and answer a question with a question: how much coding do you want to do? No coding is required if you use a service like Chatfuel or WotNot, as you can create a chatbot in just a few hours using a drag-and-drop style function. These chatbots are ideal for much smaller businesses that just need a little support with their customer services.

Coding will be required if you want something that’s tailor-made for your business, so that’ll usually involve more heavy lifting. Whether that’s a little or a lot depends on how bespoke you want your chatbot to be.

That said, chatbot frameworks such as Amazon Lex, Google Dialogflow and IBM Watson include helpful, off-the-shelf natural language tools and open-source libraries. It also makes sense to use these frameworks if your chatbot is going to exist within the wider development ecosystems of these companies.

How much does a chatbot cost?

There’s no easy answer to this question because not all chatbots are created equal. Generally, the more sophisticated the bot, the more time, money and resources have gone into developing it.

Technically, you can build a chatbot for nothing if you use a free trial on platforms like DialogFlow or Watson. But most brands will usually hire a chatbot company to do much of the strategic planning and building necessary, so prices will undoubtedly vary.

Want to build a digital human? You may want to talk with a chatbot company to ensure you create conversational elements that are specific to your brand and customer. We’re happy to recommend some great chatbot providers.

This route was recently recommended by our client InstaMortgage (formerly Arcus Lending), who credited working with chatbot provider Ako as the reason they could design, develop and launch their digital human in record time.

It all depends on your use case, goals and ambitions. We’re happy to help our clients with these along the way.

How long does it take to create a chatbot?

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it depends! The length of time it takes to make a chatbot will vary significantly based on the type of solution needed, the team working on the project and the resources you’ve got in place.

(Video) How to build an FAQ Chatbot I Tidio

Let’s look at an example. InstaMortgage sought our help in building an innovative digital human, Rachel, who could help answer any questions people have about the mortgage process. InstaMortgage chose an NLP company from our Partner Program to develop the dialogue (the ‘chatbot’ bit). Meanwhile, we elevated the conversation to the next level in digital human form.

It took two months to take Rachel from ideation all the way through to a full customer-facing launch. From here, Rachel will be iterated upon, as she’s trained to be better and better at her job.

How do you break a chatbot?

No chatbot is failproof, so there will be times when it’s unable to interpret or respond to requests correctly. In other words, you’ve ‘broken’ your chatbot. But doing this intentionally does have its benefits. Knowing what questions will stump your chatbot is a great way to start planning ways to prevent it from happening.

For example, chatbots often struggle with non-traditional answers and ‘filler’ words. You may have programmed your chatbot to recognise ‘yes’ and ‘no’, but what about ‘yeah’ and ‘nah’? or ‘yup’ and ‘nope’? Even saying ‘goodbye’ can break a bad chatbot if it’s not been set up to end a conversation properly.

Filler language is also a problem. Humans often type how they speak, adding interjections (think ‘hmm’, ‘oh’ or ‘bah’) and colloquialisms (‘wanna’ and ‘y’all). Fortunately, conversational platforms like Dialogflow cover a lot of these bases for you, saving you from having to manually program in every colloquial greeting.

People could also mumble, horrendously misspell words if people really wanted to break your bot. But even then, having fallback dialogue such as “could you repeat that” or “I don’t understand, could you please rephrase the question” can cater for a lot of errors.

All in all, it pays to see how your chatbot can be broken and work backwards to fix it.

How to tell if you’re talking to a chatbot

The fact this is still one of the web’s most-asked questions shows how important it is for people to know when they’re talking with a chatbot and when they’re in a live chat situation. It also goes to show how convincing some conversational AI technology is becoming.

So, how do you tell? The simple answer: ask. Chatbots should be programmed to respond to this question, while a live chat agent will identify themselves.

(Video) How to Automate Customer FAQs on Facebook Messenger | Marketing Automation

Interestingly, digital humans are designed to clearly be non-human and non-chatbot. We believe transparency and honesty should be underlying principles in the design of AI-driven technologies. In fact, it’s one of the five laws of ethical digital human design – a digital human should never pretend to be what it’s not.

How do you deploy a chatbot?

Your deployment strategy is likely to be influenced by what NLP platform you’re using. As we’ve mentioned, many chatbot frameworks have their own development ecosystems and integration requirements, so the process of setting up and launching your chatbot may be specific to that environment.

For instance, Dialogflow has its own documentation with specific step-by-step instructions for deploying chatbots that are built using its conversational AI. Meanwhile, Amazon Lex has ‘one click deployment‘ capabilities.

Deploying a digital human also depends on how you intend to use it. You can have custom integrations into a website, app or even a physical kiosk. You can also use our pre-built UX tools to integrate your digital human solution in just a few clicks.

How do I make my chatbot better?

OK, OK… cards on the table, this isn’t one of the web’s most googled questions about chatbots. But as chatbots continue their exponential growth, we’re sure it will be a question most brands ask to make their chatbot stand out from the crowd.

And if you’re serious about the potential of chatbots and conversational AI technology, we know you’ll regularly pose yourself this query.

We asked people what their next priority is for the development of their chatbot, and the top response was “to create a more human experience”. If you’re not looking at how to make your chatbot more human, you’ll soon find yourself trying to catch up to those who currently are.

We outline exactly how to do that with a customer-experience-first approach, not a technology-first approach, in our eBook, ‘Building a digital workforce’.

You can download for free below. And if you have any questions google can’t answer, we’d love to help.

(Video) How to create a chatbot to answer FAQs

FAQs

How does a FAQ chatbot work? ›

FAQ chatbots are bots designed to answer common questions people have about a product or service. Often, these chatbots are used on websites or in customer service applications. Their ability to automate can alleviate labor-intensive tasks like responding to repeat questions.

What questions should a chatbot answer? ›

Your chatbot must be programmed to answer any question related to your product or service, this will avoid any confusion on what you offer and save time for your customer service team.
...
What is the price?
  • How much?
  • What's the price?
  • I need a quote.
  • How much does it cost?

What problems can chatbot solve? ›

The chatbots use natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning technology to react to the buyer intent of shopping behaviours. Companies use AI chatbots to not only automate customer support, but they also help optimise conversion rates, improve customer experiences, and contribute to direct revenue.

How do you tell if you are chatting with a bot? ›

The most common way to tell if an account is fake is to check out the profile. The most rudimentary bots lack a photo, a link, or any bio. More sophisticated ones might use a photo stolen from the web, or an automatically generated account name. Using human language is still incredibly hard for machines.

What is rule based chatbot? ›

A rule-based chatbot uses a tree-like flow instead of AI to help guests with their queries. This means that the chatbot will guide the guest with follow-up questions to eventually get to the correct resolution. The structures and answers are all pre-defined so that you are in control of the conversation.

How do you detect a bot? ›

Some basic ways to detect bot traffic are:
  1. If you see any irregular spikes in traffic, take a closer look at it.
  2. Check if a channel is contributing to most new sessions and users.
  3. Multiple bot hits can slow down your server performance.
  4. An increase in activity on your site from a remote location could be from bots.

How do you add a question on chatbot? ›

How To - Add Dynamic Question List to Chatbot - YouTube

How do you make a question bot? ›

Make a Question Answering Chatbot in 5 Minutes with Python - YouTube

Why is chatbot needed? ›

Chatbots can improve lead generation, qualification and nurturing. Chatbots can ask questions throughout the buyer's journey and provide information that may persuade the user and create a lead. Chatbots can then provide potential customer information to the sales team, who can engage with the leads.

What are the objectives of chatbot? ›

Chatbots boost operational efficiency and bring cost savings to businesses while offering convenience and added services to internal employees and external customers. They allow companies to easily resolve many types of customer queries and issues while reducing the need for human interaction.

What are the disadvantages of chatbots? ›

Chatbots have limited responses, so they're not often able to answer multi-part questions or questions that require decisions. This often means your customers are left without a solution, and have to go through more steps to contact your support team.

What technology is used in chatbot? ›

Artificial intelligence chatbots employ AI and natural language processing (NLP) technology to recognize sentence structure, interpret the knowledge, and improve their ability to answer questions. Instead of relying on a pre-programmed response, AI chatbots first determine what the customer or user is saying.

What are two types of chatbots? ›

This article aimed to help understand the two main types of chatbots: rule-based and AI chatbots. The latter has a much more complicated functionality and contextual awareness that require less training data and that can actually perform the task for the customer without any human assistance.

What is the most popular chatbot? ›

Here are 11 of the world's most popular chatbots today achieving growth marketing strategy gains in sales, publishing, education, and service industries:
  • National Geographic.
  • James Patterson “The Chef” Short Story.
  • AccuWeather.
  • TGIFridays.
  • Western Union.
  • Summit Academy OIC.
  • MobileMonkey.
  • Stanford's QuizBot.

How are chatbots used in customer service? ›

AI chatbots use your existing resources, such as FAQs or knowledge base articles, to help answer and resolve your customers' questions. They can recognize and answer multiple forms of the same question and can be trained to give instant responses using your preferred voice and tone.

How do you break a chatbot? ›

How to Break a Chatbot - Eight Ways
  1. 1 - Tell the Chatbot to Reset or Start Over. ...
  2. 2 - Use Filler Language. ...
  3. 3 - Ask Whatever Is on the Display Button. ...
  4. 4 - Answering Outside the Pre-Selected Responses. ...
  5. 5 - Ask for Help or Assistance. ...
  6. 6 - Answer the Question with Non-Traditional Answers. ...
  7. 7 - Say Goodbye. ...
  8. 8 - Ask Odd Questions.

Is a bot a real person? ›

The answer is actually no. Because pseudo-A.I. blends bots and humans, it's hard to experiment. If you begin a conversation with a bot, somewhere along the line you may trigger something that invisibly causes a human to take over the interaction.

Is live chat a real person? ›

Yes, live chat is with a real person.

Others can ask and answer basic, common questions, and some can even manage the majority of a complex conversation themselves.

Are chatbots considered AI? ›

A chatbot is a computer program that uses artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) to understand customer questions and automate responses to them, simulating human conversation.

What are simple and smart chatbots? ›

AI-enabled smart chatbots are designed to simulate near-human interactions with customers. They can have free-flowing conversations and understand intent, language, and sentiment. These chatbots require programming to help it understand the context of interactions.

How do you protect against bots? ›

9 Recommendations to Prevent Bad Bots on Your Website
  1. Block or CAPTCHA outdated user agents/browsers. ...
  2. Block known hosting providers and proxy services. ...
  3. Protect every bad bot access point. ...
  4. Carefully evaluate traffic sources. ...
  5. Investigate traffic spikes. ...
  6. Monitor for failed login attempts.

Will Chatbots replace mobile apps in the future? ›

According to Gartner's report, By 2020, 85% of customer interactions will be managed without a human. Chatbots can replace Mobile apps isn't a new affair. The tech industry has always undergone critical transformations and this happens to be one of them.

How long do bots live for? ›

The bots then attach to the stomach lining where they live for 8-10 months. After 8-10 months, the larvae pass out of the stomach in the horse's manure. They burrow into the ground, mature, and emerge as bot flies to begin the cycle again! So how do you treat bots?

What is FAQ in full? ›

Which scenario is an example of the conversational AI workload? ›

A bot that responds to queries by internal users is an example of a conversational AI workload.

What is conversational AI? ›

Conversational AI is a type of artificial intelligence that enables consumers to interact with computer applications the way they would with other humans. Conversational AI has primarily taken the form of advanced chatbots, or AI chatbots that contrast with conventional chatbots.

How do you use chatbot? ›

How to Use a Chatbot - YouTube

How do you make a chatbot on messenger? ›

How to make a Facebook Messenger bot
  1. Sign up for a Chatfuel account. Visit Chatfuel.com and click the Get Started for Free button on the homepage. ...
  2. Link your Facebook page. ...
  3. Create a Messenger greeting. ...
  4. Create a welcome message. ...
  5. Create a default reply. ...
  6. Unleash the AI. ...
  7. Add a Message button to your Facebook page.
31 Jan 2020

What is chatbot in WhatsApp? ›

WhatsApp chatbot is an automated software powered by rules or artificial intelligence (AI) and runs on the WhatsApp platform. People communicate with WhatsApp chatbot via the chat interface, like talking to a real person. It's a set of automated replies that simulates a human conversation on WhatsApp.

How do you make an AI chatbot? ›

How to make a chatbot from scratch in 8 steps
  1. Step 1: Give your chatbot a purpose. ...
  2. Step 2: Decide where you want it to appear. ...
  3. Step 3: Choose the chatbot platform. ...
  4. Step 4: Design the chatbot conversation in a chatbot editor. ...
  5. Step 5: Test your chatbot. ...
  6. Step 6: Train your chatbots. ...
  7. Step 7: Collect feedback from users.
23 Aug 2022

What is FAQ in full? ›

What technology is used in chatbot? ›

Artificial intelligence chatbots employ AI and natural language processing (NLP) technology to recognize sentence structure, interpret the knowledge, and improve their ability to answer questions. Instead of relying on a pre-programmed response, AI chatbots first determine what the customer or user is saying.

Which language is used to create chatbots? ›

Here are the 10 most popular programming languages that you should know of while building chatbots.
  • Python. Python is the main coding language for around 80% of developers. ...
  • Java. Java is one of the most powerful programming languages that is currently used in more than 3 billion devices. ...
  • JavaScript. ...
  • Kotlin. ...
  • R. ...
  • PHP. ...
  • Go. ...
  • C.
19 Feb 2022

Why are FAQ questions important? ›

FAQs enable you to deal with specific queries that your customers have about your business. They also represent another way to reach out and connect with your target audience. Therefore, it is one of the most important elements of your website strategy.

What are the two types of FAQs present on the platform? ›

Answer. Use “FAQ” or “Frequently Asked Questions” as the page title. Write questions from the point of view of your customer. Write the FAQ sheet in an actual question-and-answer format.

What do FAQs stand for explain its importance? ›

frequently asked question, frequently asked questions —used to refer to a list of answers to typical questions that users of a Web site might ask. More from Merriam-Webster on FAQ.

Videos

1. How to answer frequently asked questions using a chatbot in Microsoft Teams
(MicrosoftANZ)
2. Creating an FAQ Chatbot from Start to Finish (Full Tutorial)
(Gist)
3. How to Build QnA or FAQs Chatbot using Power Virtual Agents
(Dhruvin Shah)
4. Episode 9 - FAQ to Chatbot Using QnA Maker
(Panache Software)
5. Create a QnA Bot with Amazon Lex and Amazon Kendra to Answer Questions - AWS Online Tech Talks
(AWS Online Tech Talks)
6. Questions and Answers for chatfuel and chatbots in general 1
(AHMED MASHAL)

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