Gear Up for Chatbots


Bots are hot. Lately, everyone seems to be talking about them. But what’s a chatbot and why should you care? As an Admin, what do you need to know before you get started with chatbots? This post will answer those questions for you and take some of the hype out of all the bot banter.

What’s a Chatbot?

A chatbot is an application that simulates human conversation—either aloud or with text. Instead of having a conversation with a person, like a sales rep or support agent, a customer can have a conversation with a computer. Whether by typing or talking, a chatbot can connect with a customer. It can influence a customer relationship. Chatbots are an additional channel to engage with customers, similar to phone, email, text message, and social media. Think of chatbots as an extra tool to help make your customers happy. But like with other tools, if you don’t know what you’re doing, you can get hurt… (More on this later!)   


Why All the Hype?

Gartner predicted that by 2018, a full 30 percent of our interactions with technology will be through “conversations” with smart machines. Furthermore, Gartner claims that “Chatbots will power 85% of all customer service interactions by 2020.” That’s a lot of interactions! One of the reasons chatbot technology is growing in popularity is because it can free people from performing routine, repetitive tasks—like resetting passwords or checking on order statuses—and help people focus on more complex, creative problem-solving. Imagine if a new technology helped put a few more hours back into your day so that you could focus on more big-ticket items. Now multiply that productivity across teams or companies. Hence, the hype.     

Are Chatbots and Artificial Intelligence (AI) the Same?

No! Since most people are familiar with simulated conversations through voice-enabled personal assistants, it’s easy to assume all chatbots are AI—”Alexa, what’s the weather in Timbuktu?” But chatbots and AI aren’t the same. They’re two different technologies. You can hook up chatbots to AI to create more sophisticated options and responses; however, most chatbots use decision-tree logic and predetermined responses triggered by keywords. With Einstein, you can easily add AI to chatbots you create with Salesforce.

How Should Admins Prepare for Chatbots?

You can create a chatbot in minutes with Salesforce—just point and click your way through Einstein Bots in Setup. However, it takes time to create a useful chatbot. Similar to a knowledge base, you need content before you share a chatbot with your customers or prospects. Clarifying the purpose, audience, and business problem to solve with a chatbot can make or break it. If you don’t answer people’s questions with your chatbot, or your chatbot tries to answer questions no one cares about, you may accidentally tarnish your company’s brand by delivering a bad experience. And no one wants that.

To avoid creating a bad experience with a chatbot, ask yourself these questions before you begin:

  • What are some routine issues a chatbot can resolve for your customers?
  • Should you name the chatbot to reflect your brand and personality?
  • Does your chatbot self-identify as a bot to your customers in chat?
  • What kind of voice and tone should the chatbot use?
  • Will the chatbot use emojis and emoticons?
  • Who will write chatbot content?

To continue the journey of planning and creating a useful chatbot, check out the new Einstein Bots Basics module on Trailhead. See you out on the trails!

Trailhead Module
Learn how to make customer service smarter and easier with chatbots.
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