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Practical Techie: Chatbots, voice helpers to make a quick sale

A slick way of attracting traffic to an e-commerce website is to create small virtual social adventures for the visitor.

Describe a product in your social pages in the most entertaining way possible and create a challenge. It’s all about a little communicational creativity and a small dose of digital magic.

One available high-tech tool to achieve this is with chatbots. This technology has many names: chatterbot, talkbot, bot, chatterbox or Artificial Conversational Entity. They are all the same although developed at different times, by a varied host of software coders.

Given the advance of artificial intelligence in the of the 21st century internet, the chatbot is a sort of cybernetic catalyst that helps generate an exchange of natural conversation between real humans and virtual marketers.    

PREMISE — How does it work? We must first refer to the traditional, automatic telephone system still in use by most companies, corporations, government, organizations, or educational institutions. The person calls and the telecommunications company instantly channels the conversation between conversing the parties. It’s all done by routers doing their thing without human intervention.

It then takes pressing a set of keys until reaching the desk or person sought by the caller. Even though the process occurs in real time, it seems like an eternity. It finally gets the caller in touch, but it can be irritating.

Chatbots do the same but in a more efficient and less mechanical manner. A chatty robot handles the key pressing for us with ultrafast exchanging of messages with real beings.

It’s all based on the premise that 90% of internet e-commerce users connect with sellers through messaging platforms.

DESIGN — In essence, the simplest chatterbox systems are designed around a huge database with an equally immense repository of key word terms, in the style of search engines such as Google. The bot responds to certain electronic stimuli, either by voice, or based on the type of message the internaut writes. By evolving communication at a deep level, through artificial intelligence, the chatbot decides whether to connect the caller with a human being in the company, in many cases, a salesperson.

This is a technology that originated in the 1950s when scientists were eagerly seeking to make machines learn to interact with human beings through organic processes and in real time. That is, as naturally as possible. It was a primitive innovation that now, with so many high-tech advancements, takes on more practical functionality in the electronic business world. The challenge for the commercial Web has always been to provide more magical, emotional, humanlike ways for web surfers to feel they are dealing with live businesspeople all the time and not machines.

EMPATHY — That’s what chatbots try to recreate in each messaging dynamic. In other words, give the future customer the feeling that the company it aspires to do business with, is responsive to his or her needs, concerns, interests, and idiosyncrasies. Also, quick to respond to the customers desire for information, product specs or data.

Bots create the illusion that the cybernaut has found a helping hand to guide him in the buying adventure. After all, a bot is a computer interface capable of interpreting the informational needs of human beings through contextual conversation.

APPLY — Special programming knowledge is required to create effective chatbot for businesses. If an entrepreneur wants to venture out with this technology, he can go to pandorabots.com to create his own commercial bot. An example of this is when an Internet user visits a sports equipment portal and after browsing for a while, he finally finds a product that interests him. This process may take several hours.

But, if the sporting goods store uses chatbots, the buyer goes to a interactive messaging system on a social page and briefly describes the product. A chatbot will immediately and engage in fun chatter give the visitor data on types, pricing, modes of delivery, etc.  The bot automatically keeps an eye on the consumer’s responses and, if necessary, immediately connects you with a flesh and blood seller.

All in minutes.

USAGE — Large companies such as Lloyds Banking Group, Royal Bank of Scotland, Renault, and Citroën use simulated assistants, instead of automatic telephone call centers to “talk” with their customers.  The possibility of innovating uses for chatbots are unlimited. There are already variants to get give out weather reports in a geographical area of ​​particular interest to the user. Chatbots are vin full use by supermarkets in Japan and South Korea. Many international news websites have talk bots installed to keep their paying subscribers up to date on selected topics.

Some creative entrepreneurs even have chatbots to help netizens resolve personal issues through helpful tips, key data, legal advice, or explore alternatives on how to tackle a problem that requires quick decisions. They do this through professional and expert advisors on a topic. In the field of human health, the use of chatbot is beginning to make great strides. Also, there are simple chatterboxes installed in many interactive toys.

VOICES — In China, there is Xiaoice, a natural language chatbot designed by Microsoft that already has 20 million users. Most of those who come to Xiaoice do so through the Chinese Weibo platform, one of the most active. The most advanced bot systems are in audio. to the telephone conversation style, but it is like going back to the old code system in the telephony box. However, given the artificial intelligence in many of these bots, connections are made with human voices.

On other occasions, they are simulated human beings, who “speak” in natural language. The main use for business is customer service. On the dark side, the proverbial hackers have figured out how to manipulate some chatbots to return crooked messages, launch racist or hateful contexts at groups, and even drop a string of spam. But they are the exceptions.

The most profitable in portable telephony are the so-called “romancebots.” Users make virtual girlfriends, boyfriends, and lovers a reality for a reasonable price, curing them of a great evil of these times, loneliness.

Author Details
Author Rafael Matos is a veteran journalist, a professor of digital narratives and university mentor. He may be contacted at cccrafael@gmail.com.

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