Rise of Chatbots in B2B SaaS
Read here how chatbots have taken over B2B SaaS. They help businesses interact with customers better and offer more growth opportunities.
When someone visits a website to seek information, they find two ways at their disposal. One, picking up their phone and talking to the customer care executive to retrieve the answers to their queries, and second, using the online chat service. Most people prefer to take the second path because it is quick, easy, and hassle-free.
But have you ever wondered where this assistance comes from? Who is the person sitting on the opposite side who knows the right answers to all the questions and concerns? Well, it is not a human but a chatbot- a fact that most of you might be aware of.
Chatbots are getting increasingly popular by the day. They are a boon for the business models running chat services on their websites. Moreover, with the advent of newer technologies in AI (artificial intelligence), chatbots have become more efficient and beneficial for businesses. With the latest features, like language processing capabilities, built-in algorithms to facilitate learning from patterns to boost their knowledge, etc., bots are proving their mettle yet again.
But how did bots become a sensation? Did it happen overnight, or was it a gradual process? Why are they significant in businesses? What are they as a service? How do they work?
Let us trace down their history and understand everything about bots. But before that, let us find out what exactly chatbots are.
What are chatbots?
Bots are software programs that automate jobs that humans perform otherwise. Powered by artificial intelligence (AI), they collect data and use the information to make the interface more instinctive and intelligent.
Chatbots are computer programs that mimic the conversation between people. They answer the questions asked by the users. They respond to every instruction.
Today, almost every platform, including WhatsApp, Facebook, etc., has integrated chatbots to make the user experience better.
They can be either informational bot or utility bot. Information bots offer essential information to users, while utility bots take instructions and respond.
How do they work?
Chatbots work through a technology known as NLP, i.e., natural language processing. It is a subfield of artificial intelligence (AI) and computer science that deals with the interactions between human languages and computers.
Chatbots function with the help of three classification methods. They are-
Bots classify texts and create an apt response for the users with the help of pattern matching. AIML or Artificial Intelligence Markup Language is the pattern’s standard structure.
Artificial neural networks
Neural networks facilitate the calculations of output from input with the help of weighted connections calculated via repeated iterations during training the data. Under this, every sentence is broken down into various words, and then every word is used as input for neural networks.
Algorithms cut down classifiers and produce structures that are easier to manage. This approach is addressed as the reductionist approach. In a nutshell, it is reducing the problem to provide a simple solution.
Which businesses use chatbots?
Chatbots are used across various industries, including food service, airlines, healthcare, financial service, news media, entertainment, and more.
Recently, SaaS companies have also started using chatbots.
Lyft is using a chatbot in association with applications like Facebook Messenger, Amazon Alexa, and Slack. With their chatbots, the users can request rides via these platforms without having to switch apps. Similarly, Spotify and Airbnb are also using chatbots on Twitter, making it easier for users to approach these services at any time of the day.
Some companies, such as RapidMiner, have completely removed forms and switched them with chatbots to help the users. This bold step worked in their favor, and they managed to generate four thousand new leads and responded to two-thirds of the queries. Chatbots made them a lot more accessible, and this has positively impacted their overall business.
Hence, having chatbots is working wonders for businesses.
Chatbots- An insight into their history
If you think chatbots are the latest thing, you are mistaken. Although chatbots have gained huge momentum quite recently, their origin dates back to many years.
The first chatbot came into existence even before personal computers were launched. It was the brainchild of Joseph Weizenbaum, who introduced chatbot in the year 1966. It was named Eliza, which used the keywords provided to it as input and processes the response as per the defined rules. Several chatbots still use the same method.
It was followed by Parry, by Kenneth Colby, who developed it at Stanford University. A.L.I.C.E followed suit and was even felicitated by the Loebner prize thrice.
Chatbots- Then and now
Since 1966, chatbots have come a long way. They have received a massive makeover in terms of their interface and functionality. Once used as a small tool for websites to enhance their conversions, chatbots have evolved by leaps and bounds. Today, they are one of the most significant organs of businesses.
They have made their way inside the leading apps and help product teams, as well as customers, to converse in a more efficient manner.
Here is how chatbots have progressed ever since their inception and have taken over the B2B SaaS.
Their roles and tasks
Earlier, chatbots served the role of conversational agents for businesses. They walked into the shoes of customer service providers and performed the task effectively. They made customer service accessible 24X7, and hence, benefitted businesses by leaps and bounds.
Today, chatbots have become an alternative to mobile applications, owing to their efficiency. They aren’t just capable of carrying out smooth conversations with people but can also take care of complicated transactions. They are now one of the most essential aspects of various businesses operating across an array of industries.
Chatbots perform numerous functions, such as placing orders, checking order status, making financial transactions securely, booking flight tickets, enhancing marketing campaigns, and much more.
Their user interface elements
The modern chatbots flaunt Conversational User Interface (CUI). It has caused a major shift in the interaction between computers and humans.
The latest conversational user interface of chatbots utilizes Natural Language Processing (NLP) which makes them more competent in their basic job, i.e., interacting with humans. Computers, now, can better understand human language and respond in a much more precise way. Plus, this modern addition allows them to comprehend unstructured inputs (for instance, queries with multiple spelling mistakes) and sentiment analysis.
Furthermore, the new chatbots have an array of graphic elements, including buttons, carousels, web view, quick reply, group chat, video sharing, audio sharing, and sharing of GIF, document file, image, etc.
Chatbots perform multiple tasks. They are created to do various things- ranging from simple and straightforward jobs to complicated tasks. Various technologies have been used to make chatbots perform specific tasks.
Simple tools are used to create simple chatbots that do not involve many technicalities. For high technical expertise, the developers use the most coming-of-age technologies like Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning, etc. These advanced chatbots are integrated with the help of custom chatbot development.
Their modes of communication
Chatbots enable text and voice communication. They work in conjugation with smart speakers or virtual assistants to function in the voice format.
With all these coming-of-age upgrades, chatbots are no more the same basic tools used for conversing. They have a more deep-rooted significance for modern enterprises, including B2B SaaS businesses.
Importance of chatbots for enterprises
Chatbots have evolved a great deal in terms of their features and functionalities. Several businesses, ranging from small-scale to large-scale, use chatbots to render smooth and efficient operations, enhance customer service, eliminate loopholes, etc.
Apart from offering the needed response to general queries, chatbots also facilitate conversions through conversation. Gaining cookie points for being interactive, businesses using chatbots enjoy more attention and trust from users trying to make online purchases. By offering them the needed information quickly, chatbots help to cement the interest and trust of the users in the offerings of the business.
When integrated with applications like Facebook Messenger, they allow the users to use chatbots without even leaving the tab or downloading an extra application.
As far as SaaS businesses are concerned, chatbots make them available online for visitors, even if they are not available. They provide customer services and even help book demos. All these things make them a boon for SaaS businesses.
The bottom line
Chatbots help businesses to interact with their customers in a personalized and much better way. This is not it. They also help the enterprises to broadcast their offers. They provide a platform for businesses to share marketing messages. Plus, they help in improving overall customer service. Furthermore, they can be integrated with websites, applications, as well as social media platforms, giving businesses a better opportunity to engage their users on every platform.
Without a doubt, chatbots are the future of businesses. Without them, any enterprise would lose opportunities to crawl further into the competition.