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Different Types of Chatbots: Which One Is Right for Your Business?

Mark Asquith

January 3, 2019

For many businesses, chatbots are the latest addition to their marketing and sales teams. They're successfully redefining how brands and people interact. Different types of chatbots benefit businesses in specific ways.

The value that chatbots types bring to business makes them more than just the latest trend. Chatbots are a transformative tool that will endure the test of time.

Different Kinds of Chatbots: Which is Right for Your Company

A good chatbot strategy starts with understanding the different types of chatbots and knowing their limitations- picking the correct moment for chatbot human handoff is essential. Your industry and goals should drive what kind of chatbot is right for your business.

Let's look at the three main types of chatbots:

  • the ecommerce bot for customer support
  • the retail bot
  • the bank bot

The ecommerce bot for customer support

Let's start with the most general category of the three types of chatbots. Yes, retail bots and bank bots could be considered ecommerce support bots. However, the distinctions are clear enough to examine them separately.

Bots that are built for customer support are sometimes called CRM chatbots, these are great for:

  • Companies that are inundated with customer support tickets
  • Customer service teams that receive repetitive questions
  • Agents that could be spending their time more efficiently on higher-value conversations

To know if an ecommerce bot for customer support is right for you, start by defining your value hypothesis.

  • How many inquiries could your chatbot handle?
  • Would your customers find value in your ecommerce bot?
  • What operational costs could your chatbot reduce?
  • Could offering 24/7 customer support differentiate your brand?

Many companies that use ecommerce bots find that they handle up to 80% of customer support questions. Their customers get fast, reliable answers and their support team has more time for valuable work. The result is an efficient customer service team that provides real value to the customer and the organization.

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Important Considerations for your ecommerce support bot

An ecommerce bot for customer support is the first of the chatbot types and will receive text-based inquiries. For that reason, it's important to make sure they can understand questions that are phrased in many different ways. This is where Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) come in.

AI and NLP make it possible for your ecommerce bot to interpret context and meaning. It will help you avoid building a bot that doesn't address your customer’s concerns. For those interested in adding NLP to your chatbot, our guide to NLP is a great place to start.

The retail bot

A retail bot is the second type of chatbot and is more product-centric. While retail bots also offer customer support, they're a bit more sales-focused. They can cross-sell and upsell products, which means higher ticket values for online retailers. Let's look at a few ways a retail bot enhances your customer experience and drives revenue:

  • Retail bots allow simple, convenient purchases in a conversational style. Things get less corporate, more friendly and purchases take place in a casual conversation.
  • A retail bot provides personal, actionable offers in real-time, tailored to a customer’s traits. Your message is targeted, relevant, and more likely to convert into a sale.
  • A retail bot is able to deliver alerts and updates regarding available inventory. It creates a sense of urgency that leads to more impulsive purchases.
  • A retail bot follows up with customers that have abandoned their carts. It drives customers back to check-out to complete a sale that could otherwise be lost.

Important Considerations for your retail bot

To be effective, your retail bot needs to have media-rich conversations. Without product photos and interactive elements, your chatbot won't be able to realize its full potential. Thankfully, our framework makes it simple. You can easily integrate photos, carousels, cards, and quick action buttons to conversations in this chatbot type.

The Bank Bot

Financial institutions and banks might seem like surprising home for chatbots. Yet, chatbots have put down their roots here nonetheless.

Gartner estimates that 85% of banks and businesses will use AI chatbots by 2020.

A bank bot helps customers check balances, statements, and perform other routine tasks. A bank bot is also used for goal setting and financial planning. This helps banks build more meaningful relationships with customers and increase their touchpoints. This is why Bank Bots are the third of our types of chatbots.

Important Considerations for your bank bot

At Hubtype, we believe that chatbots and humans work better together. This is especially true for bank bots chatbot type. When your customers have urgent matters that require a human, it's crucial that your bot is equipped to hand-off the conversation. Though bots do handle issues like stolen cards and fraud, having the option of speaking to an agent is important when it comes to these concerns.

At Hubtype, we help create bots that know when to ask for help. For example, our bots seamlessly hand-off more complex inquiries to a live agent. This reduces frustration and ensures the right balance between bots and humans.

Common chatbot traits  

Now that we've reviewed the three main types of chatbots, let's look at the traits and personalities that chatbots can have. From fun to functional, chatbots types have many uses.

They can curate content

First, there are content bots. Content bots curate for their audience. For example, they suggest topics and media that are user-specific and do so in a conversational manner. For example, CNN's news chatbot can message you headlines and articles based on your preferences.

They're sometimes designed for fun

Next, there's the "one-trick-pony." This type of chatbot is a novelty usually designed for a specific purpose. For example, it will help transform an image into a meme or a piece of text into a video mashup. It's usually meant to be funny and engaging and has the potential to go viral with its users.

They can be proactive

Then, there are proactive bots. They're in the right place at the right time. For example, airline chatbots types send timely reminders to check-in, claim baggage, and even serve up weather reports when you land.

They can be protective

Bots can serve as a line of defense for your customer service team. And, they're equipped to handle irritated customers in a friendly way.

They can be chatty

The purpose of a social chatbot is to widen and solidify the user base. They entertain people with conversations and try to make a connection with them.

They can be personal assistants

Intelligent personal assistants like Siri and Alexa can respond to almost any request. They play an active role in supporting human activities. They remember appointments, control other devices in the home, search the web for questions, make purchases, and more.

Selecting a partner

At Hubtype, our framework allows businesses to create their own bespoke, custom bot. Our experts have the knowledge and expertise to help you build a bot that enhances your brand.

Not sure which of these types of chatbots is right for you? We can help steer you in the right direction in chatbot types.

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