What Is a Chatbot and What Can You Do with It? (Part 1)

For some time now, the topic of chatbots has been heard more and more often. They are used in companies for a wide variety of tasks, they help to save personnel resources and process recurring tasks automatically . But very few know what chatbots are exactly and what variety of tasks they can take on. Reason enough to take a closer look at the topic of chatbots.

Chatbots: what are they actually?

In order to clarify the question of what a chatbot is, it is necessary to go further – because there are many chatbots and platforms. This blog article goes into some of them in more detail.

But first of all, the basics. Wikipedia defines a chatbot as follows:

“A chatbot is a text-based dialogue system that allows chatting with a technical system. It has an area for text input and output, which can be used to communicate with the system in natural language. “

Source: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chatbot

This definition describes the basic function of a chatbot well – but it is kept very general, because there are not only the possibilities of text input and output in natural language.

Thanks to modern technology, the chatbot can also be used to communicate with text modules. In addition, media such as images, videos, GIFs and forms can be used. These interaction possibilities open up new use cases for the user.

Common platforms for chatbots are social media, messengers & Co. Nowadays chatbots are used on many platforms, the most common are listed here:

  • Social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.
  • Messenger: WhatsApp, Telegram, KIK, Facebook Messenger
  • Digital assistants (stand-alone chatbots): Alexa, Cortana, Siri

A direct integration of the chatbot on your own website is also possible. There are various integration options, such as with a banner, chat window, pop-up or your own landing page.

Chatbots on social media platforms: explained using the example of Facebook

Chatbots are widely used on social media platforms. An example that is often used is Facebook, which, in conjunction with Messenger, offers an ideal combination for the use of chatbots.

In this case, the chatbot is integrated into Facebook Messenger You can link the newly created chatbot to your own fan page on Facebook. Or advertise the chatbot via Messenger Ads .

Use chatbots in messengers: Integrate third-party tools

The chatbot is often integrated into messengers using third-party software. These tools access the messenger via API interfaces, so that the chatbots can be integrated very easily.

There are many providers who differ in terms of functionality and pricing. Which tool is the right one should therefore always be decided individually.

When integrating chatbots in messengers, it is important to observe the applicable data protection regulations. The GDPR plays an important role here – especially when it comes to handling users’ personal data. When creating a chatbot, it is therefore always advisable to involve a data protection officer in the project.

Chatbots on websites: how to use them

Chatbots are often integrated on websites as part of support applications. The chatbots can forward to FAQ pages or implement complicated processes and adjustments in customer accounts. If the user’s request cannot be completely processed by the chatbot, they are often forwarded to a support employee.

Examples of where and how chatbots can be used

Relieve support

  • Process simple support requests
  • Query shipping status
  • Change address in customer account
  • Check your account balance
  • Enter meter readings (for electricity providers)

Make bookings

  • Reserve a table in the restaurant
  • Rent a car
  • To reserve a hotel room
  • Book tickets for leisure activities

Configure your own products

  • Configure a solar system for a house
  • Put together a perfectly coordinated summer outfit

The data collected in the configuration process can then be used to create an individual offer or to put the configured products directly into the shopping cart.

Lead generation

Another area of ​​application of chatbots is lead generation. If users are interested in offers or services, they can fill out a contact form integrated in the chatbot in order to be contacted by the company later.

Gift offer

Gift bots are used for inspiration and brainstorming. In the first step, the user is asked a few questions about the recipient in order to narrow down the topic. The chatbot then presents suitable gift ideas to the user, which he can then order directly via a link to the online shop.

Providing downloads

Many companies use chatbots to provide the user with files for download, for example

  • Publications
  • White papers
  • Product information sheets
  • Manuals

The user can then download it free of charge or in conjunction with a newsletter subscription.

Find below the next parts of this series:

How do I Create a Facebook Chatbot in 6 Steps? (Part 2)

Data Protection and Marketing Options for Facebook Chatbots (part 3)

Conclusion & outlook

This is not an exhaustive list of the platforms and uses of chatbots. There are many other ways to use chatbots creatively and profitably in your company. With the multitude of channels on which you should be present, chatbots relieve you of repetitive questions / tasks. You can reduce staffing requirements and are available around the clock.

How to correctly create a Facebook Messenger chatbot step by step and what needs to be taken into account can be found in the second part of this blog series.

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