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What’s new in Technology? Chatbots, the new emerging industry feature

A digital animation of a chatbot

A digital animation of a chatbot

 

Previously, the idea of an Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered agent answering customer questions in real time was still considered out of reach for all types of businesses.

Today, these agents known as chatbots are very reachable and real, with business adoption growing exponentially.

According to Forrester’s senior analyst, Wang Xiao Feng, Singapore is probably the most advanced in terms of investing in Artificial Intelligence powered agents such as chatbots. Companies based in Singapore are more willing to experiment and explore emerging technologies.

Major banks such as DBS, OCBC, and Citibank have already launched chatbots or have plans to do so soon. DBS Bank, for example, launched its POSB Digibank Virtual Assistant last September which accurately caters to over 82 percent of requests from Facebook without the need of human intervention.

Moreover, customers in Singapore are more digitally savvy and have high expectations through areas such as customer service. Fortunately, Singapore’s technological sector is highly advanced and educated, increasing the ability to cater to its customers’ needs.

 

What is a chatbot?

A chatbot is a computer program or an artificial intelligence which conducts a conversation automatically via auditory or textual methods. Such programs are designed to simulate how a human would behave as a conversational partner.

Chatbots are typically used as dialog systems for various practical purposes such as customer service or information acquisition. For example, users could ask the bot a question or give it an instruction and the bot could respond or perform an action as appropriate.

Chatbots offer features that can be advantageous against human agents. Chatbots are available 24/7 and have access to a broad array of information and functionality. Outperforming humans in terms of speed and accuracy is one of its advantages, giving it an edge over human agents.

 

Types of Chatbots

Scripted Chatbots

Behaviour from scripted chatbots are determined by rules. This means that conversations with this type of chatbots can only follow predetermined paths.

Scripted chatbots makes use of pre-defined rules based on a decision tree framework. This means that they operate in areas of narrow expertise, based on scenarios of answers to common problems. This chatbot is not self-learning nor self-sufficient operators yet, as compared to Artificial Intelligence powered chatbots.

For example, at each step through the conversation the user will need to pick from different options to determine the next step in the conversation. As a result, scripted chatbots are often deem as limited in terms of conversation features and responses.

Scripted chatbots are widely used for simple tasks and services required by customers. Simple tasks include booking a restaurant, taxi or buying products online.

Intelligent Chatbots

As compared to scripted chatbots, the growth of Artificial Intelligence and other automation technologies have led chatbots to expand these specific tasks to broader domains.

Intelligent chatbots makes use of Artificial Intelligence. As mentioned earlier, this type of chatbots are high in demand from Singapore based companies.

This type of chatbots are powered by machine and deep learning capabilities, a technique which uses comprehensive networks to produce human-like conclusions.

 

Advantages

More flexible in terms of user input

Artificial Intelligence allows them to be more flexible in terms of the user input they can accept. This means that intelligent chatbots are not limited in terms of user inputs and can respond to a much larger variety of inquiries.

Accept any form of input

Intelligent chatbots can also accept free form of input in the form of text or voice statements by users.

Self-improving

AI also allow intelligent chatbots to improve the more they are engaged. As a result, intelligent chatbots are self-reliant and dependent in responding to user inputs.

Availability of big data

Intelligent chatbots will be able to take advantage of huge amounts of data available across departments, as well as from outside the organisation’s walls.

Makes use of strong processing power

Apart from machine learning, intelligent chatbots also makes use of vast amount of processing power, effectively improving the quality of understanding and decision-making processes, widening the range of capabilities and responses they are able to offer.

Sophisticated algorithms

Intelligent chatbots uses advanced coded algorithms that will enable them to have a lot more context about each user and as a result, provides unique experiences for each person they talk to.

Goal-orientated

Instead of taking customers through step by step process similar to scripted chatbots, intelligent chatbots provides an extra layer of intelligence, meaning they will learn about customers in real time.

This will also help in creating authentic and stronger relationships with the target audience.

 

Conclusion

Business owners should plan strategic investments today, to make the most of chatbots tomorrow. Artificial Intelligence chatbots have the potential to revolutionise how businesses manage their operations and deliver services to customers.

In such a competitive Asian market such as Singapore, there is increased competition to deliver outstanding customer experiences. Thus, businesses especially in Singapore should not miss out chatbot’s potential as an effective tool.

Adopting chatbot technology is the way of getting competitive edge for business owners. Without this competitive edge, efficiency will fade resulting in loss of customers. Business might even lose leading positions in their industries as a result of losing customers.