We've been talking for some time about how using new technologies can lead to business success. Apps and artificial intelligence have come a long way in recent years, and they're now helping businesses achieve their goals in a highly competitive world. In last week's post we talked about how localisation can improve the online shopping experience, but we didn't mention another key issue. Chatbots: they're on the rise, and they're sure to have caught your attention when you've been browsing online.
No doubt many of you will have heard the term, but what do they really mean for your business? Chatbot technology harnesses artificial intelligence to allow users to have a conversation with a computer program in real time, as though they're talking to an actual person.
- What are chatbots for? They're used to resolve common issues users might be facing and have unlimited availability, working for you 24 hours a day.
- How do they work? They use artificial intelligence - memorising and learning common questions and responses, learning tastes and preferences along the way, storing them, and adapting to the needs of every customer. For example if a user often buys IT related items, the chatbot will recommend products to them based on their history, as soon as they visit a website.
Why is it good to use chatbots?
Now we understand what it is and what it's for, let's look at why employing this type of strategy is so important:
- It performs a customer service role: In any business you need to build a good rapport with your customers. These programs give browsers their first impression of your company, so it's essential that they feel supported throughout the process. The response given could influence whether a purchase is completed - or abandoned. They also result in cost savings. There's no need to cover different shifts throughout the day and make sure someone's always available to answer queries.
- They reduce the number of lost potential customers: It's proven that the amount of time between a customer filling out an enquiry form and the company getting in contact can affect whether a customer is lost. By using chatbots you can reduce this percentage: responses are given instantly.
How much does it cost to create a chatbot?
Now we know a bit more about chatbots and how to make them a part of our business strategy, it's time for the golden question... How much will it cost to set them up?
And there's no single answer. A number of factors come into play which will have an effect on the cost. The amount you need to invest will depend on the following two points:
- Developing the technology: It goes without saying that this is the integral part: without the technology you'll never be able to have these types of interactions with users. Before making any decisions, the first thing to consider is the features you're going to include. And to do this you need to do preliminary development in a test environment, to see how it all works and address any errors that may arise before going on to the production and development stage, at which point you'll be perfecting it. This all entails investment, and the cost will depend on the software you use to develop it. The cost will also vary depending on whether the development is carried out in-house or sub-contracted.
- Language training for chatbots: Trying to simulate negotiations with a real person is no easy task. In the same way that people need to learn to speak, the first thing you need to do is train the engine so the robot can respond in a natural manner. The first hurdle we come up against is the sheer quantity of text that needs to be entered to improve the quality of the language. And the more words you need, the more it will cost - but your chatbot will then be better trained and therefore have improved interactions with users. We can't go on without talking about the number of languages you're going to use. Last week we talked about how important it is to have a well localised website if you want to reach international markets. If you're going to use a chatbot, it's logical to have the same languages as you have on your website, so that every user can get responses in their own native language. If you go down this route, it all gives your business and brand added value.
At AT Language Solutions we bring language and technology together. We have a long history of implementing machine translation thanks to our training of neural translation engines, as well as providing solutions tailored to specific customers or domains. We also have our own software "factory" where we can develop the right technology for your translation needs.
If you want your website to speak all languages or are planning on integrating translation with artificial intelligence at your own business, don't hesitate to contact us. And if you're not sure what solution is right for you we'll delve into your specific requirements and give you a tailor-made proposal.