How Do Chatbots Work?

How Chatbots work

Chatbots are fascinating. They are available to answer questions 24/7. They can perform so many tasks. If you’ve interacted with a chatbot recently, you must’ve realized that they answer questions and provide insights with human efficiency.

Chatbots understand the human language when we ask them questions. Even if the questions are vague or confusing, they search their database to give us the answer we’re looking for. This is due to artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and machine learning.

One thing is clear. Chatbots are clever, and more businesses are learning to count on them to speed up their operations, run their business efficiently, and let their teams focus on what matters. You can find chatbots on Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and different websites as well.

Let’s find out more about chatbot architecture, how do chatbots work, how they are trained, and more importantly how they acquire language, and their purpose.

What is a Chatbot?

A chatbot is a computer program or software trained to perform specific tasks. The purpose of chatbots is task automation. Developers train them to recognize human speech or text to make appropriate responses or gather data to provide insights. Chatbots are also virtual assistants programmed to show human intelligence to help a human with mundane or repetitive tasks.

Technology makes chatbots today a reliable tool. Artificial intelligence chatbots are the most popular type of chatbots today. Unlike the basic chatbots, they can help users way better than the basic chatbot that merely responds to questions saved on its database.

Examples of Chatbots

Virtual Assistants

You have heard of Apple’s Siri or Google Assistant. You’ve probably also used one of them or both at one point in your life. Both are great examples of conversational AI or a virtual assistant. Both assistants can engage in what is so similar to human conversation. They perform many tasks like scheduling appointments, setting alarm clocks, making calls for you when you’re driving, and sending texts.

Messaging Apps

Other examples of chatbots are the ones you find on Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp. You can check a restaurant’s menu or place an order through them. Some of them are designed to answer queries by searching answers from a business knowledge database.

Website Chatbots

You can also find floating chatbots on website pages, and those chatbots help visitors navigate the website, and for online stores, they can guide visitors to find their favorite products and guide them to similar products they might be interested in.

Why the word Chatbot is Misleading?

The word chatbot gives the impression that AI-powered chatbots only engage in a human-like conversation to answer users’ questions.

While engaging in conversation with users is an integral part of chatbot technology, AI-powered chatbots can also gather information like emails phone numbers from users, integrate with different services like CRM, and offer insights and recommendations based on the data collected to help businesses with lead generation and conversion rate. A great example of this is IBM Watson Assistant.

What is the Purpose of a Chatbot?

Like any computer program, the purpose of a chatbot is to save time, help businesses run efficiently, automate the process to provide support 24/7, and analyze vast amounts of data to help businesses make better decisions. A chatbot only helps your sales team or customer support representatives focus on urgent matters. A chatbot also answers thousands of questions on Facebook pages. Let’s talk about the purpose of a chatbot in detail:

24/7 Availability

Chatbots never sleep. That’s their number one amazing feature. Chatbots are reliable assistants who work round the clock answering queries, scheduling appointments, offering product recommendations, and helping your business thrive. Real agents can’t work 24/7. An intelligent bot can help them by answering users’ questions and directing the conversation to a real agent when they become available to avoid user frustration.

A chatbot tells the users that they can count on you, that your business will support them, and provide service whenever they need support. This way, you’ll increase conversion rates and increase your customer satisfaction.

Save Time

A customer support chatbot can answer many user queries simultaneously, unlike a real person who can only attend to one person at a time. Therefore, a chatbot can answer frequently asked questions, engage with users and provide relevant answers while directing urgent requests to a real agent to save time.

Collect Data

In addition to engaging in human conversation to provide support, chatbots collect data. This data could be anything from surveys, user emails, or phone numbers, to providing insights about questions users ask all the time so that businesses address these questions about the business or the service.

Integrate with Different Applications

Chatbots are not just computer programs that you add to your website or messaging apps so they can interact with users. Instead, Chatbots integrate with different applications, programs, and services to provide you with the best solutions you can get. For example, Chatbots integrate with Customer Relationship Management software (CRM) to give you insights based on your data.

A chatbot can also integrate with your calendar to book meetings efficiently on your behalf based on your schedule and alert you to all upcoming meetings.

Generate Reports

Chatbots collect emails, phone numbers, and the questions users frequently ask, in addition to data from integrated computer programs, and based on the data, chatbots generate reports that are relevant to the business providing insights and recommendations that wouldn’t be possible without the amounts of data a chatbot can collect.

Personalize Chat Conversations and Recommendations

Chatbots are not human beings, yet they are programmed to engage in human conversations, understand natural language, and give an appropriate response to user queries. Furthermore, because bots are integrated with different applications or software and have a huge database, they personalize the conversations or interactions.

For example, they address users by names and can offer product recommendations based on the products a user bought for eCommerce businesses.

How Do Chatbots Work?

When you first add a chatbot to your website or your business, you decide how it will interact with your site visitors or customers. Then, through templates and the drag and drop feature, you get to control the predefined flow.

A predefined flow is like thinking about possible scenarios and providing suitable outcomes so that the bot doesn’t frustrate the users. An excellent conversation flow offers the users recommendations, choices, and possible answers to what they are looking for.

The more you work on your predefined flow, the more your chatbot helps your visitors find the answers or services they are looking for, and the more it can help your business.

Bots can generally fall under two criteria: rule-based chatbots (rule-based bots) or AI chatbots.

Rule-Based Chatbots

Rule-based chatbots follow simple or intricate rules to answer users’ questions. If they encounter a new question not included in their programming or their set of rules, they can’t answer the questions.

AI-Based Chatbots

On the other hand, AI bots are unique. They understand how users communicate and are clever enough to understand users’ intent. Intent recognition is one of the fascinating features of modern chatbots.

What Technology Do Chatbots Use?

Since artificial intelligence is the future, we’ll talk about the technologies that make these clever chatbots possible. Chatbots use natural language processing, machine learning, artificial neural networks, and other technologies.

We’ll walk you through how they understand user queries from past chat conversation patterns to improve future interactions. For example, before a chatbot responds to human users, many processes or complex systems take place in the background so that the bot gives you the reply you expect and find helpful.

Machine Learning

Machine Learning, as explained by the IBM website, is “a branch of artificial intelligence (AI) and computer science that focuses on the use of data and algorithms to imitate how humans learn, gradually improving its accuracy.” In other words, AI is less about programming but more about teaching the machines how to learn.

Some of the challenges that come with training bots are human language, natural language understanding, and natural language processing NLP. First, let’s talk about how chatbots interpret language in detail.

What is NLP (Natural Language Processing)?

Understanding language is at the core of how chatbots work. If they don’t understand the customers, they can’t help them. So, a challenging prospect in training and getting chatbots to work efficiently is teaching them language and how to respond. So, we can’t think about chatbots without mentioning natural language processing NLP, natural language understanding NLU, and natural language generation.

Natural language understanding is when the bot identifies what the users need through keywords and context. Natural language processing is when chatbots convert the speech or text into structured data. And then, the structured data will be used to generate or figure out an answer.

For chatbots to work, they use the following three processes: pattern matching, algorithms, and artificial neural networks.

Pattern Matching:

This is when the chatbot doesn’t make much effort to get the answer. The question and answer exist together in the database through a pattern “who invented so and so?” “This person invented so and so.” It is clear and found at the same place. Artificial Intelligence Markup Language (AIML) is a collection of rules that use these patterns, and several designs make a hierarchical structure.

Algorithms:

This is a more complicated process where the chatbot works by classifying words and giving a score to understand language to provide an appropriate response. The words “Hi” “Good” “Morning” “How are you?” are all classified as greetings. The more similar words the chatbot finds in the input sentence, the more likely it is to understand the greeting and respond accordingly.

Artificial Neural Networks or Neural Networks

A neural network is “a subset of machine learning” and “at the heart of deep learning algorithms.” The human brain inspires the name. They are connected nodes of data resembling how the neurons are connected.

A neural network works by sending and receiving data, and in the end, we get the output layer. Neural networks allow us “to classify and cluster data at high velocity.” Google search algorithm is a famous example of neural networks.

How does NLP work in chatbots?

Inside the mind of the chatbot, different processes take place so that we get the result we’re looking for.

Sentiment Analysis

The chatbot can interpret and understand the user’s sentiment based on an analysis of the given text.

Named Entity Recognition

Named entity recognition is when the chatbot looks for similar categories of the word provided by the user and tries to come up with similar products.

Dependency Parsing

This is when the chatbot looks at words, subjects, or verbs that a human uses and tries to understand what the user conveys.

How do chatbots process human languages?

The human brain is amazing and human language is so unexpected. Therefore, to train a bot in natural language understanding, NLU is not an easy feat. After all, sentences can lack structure, and words can be full of common spelling mistakes or typographical errors.

A bot has to understand that “acheive” is achieve. A bot has also to realize that I need to check my bill is the same as where my bill is. Sentences are not straightforward, and there are thousands of ways to convey one meaning.

A user’s text or a user’s input has many meanings, and a clever bot is the one that is trained to understand what a user means. Chatbots, due to the technology today, have keyword recognition features. And instead of a pre-defined answer of a rule-based bot, they can search their database and provide relevant information.

Data is needed to train the bots to process human language. Developers use machine learning tools and models to train the bots and provide patterns about how clients form their questions so that the chatbots are ready to answer.

How are chatbots trained?

So, how are chatbots trained? Chatbots are constantly provided with conversation logs to understand patterns, frequently asked questions, structure, and learn more about human interactions. So, chatbots benefit from past information.

Time is of paramount importance to chatbots. Over time, they learn the best way to reply to customers based on previous conversations. The more sentence structures, the more info they are exposed to, the more they can generate accurate responses.

The Importance of Chatbots Today

Users can communicate with a bot via the chat interface or by voice. A bot can also communicate through text to speech, which gives your bot a human voice. Bots are not human beings, so if a conversation introduces questions concepts a bot can’t understand, it will direct the customer to a human operator. Chatbots are convenient. That is why they are indispensable to many businesses.

Training bots is essential nowadays because they play a crucial role in different services and industries: instant messaging, customer portals, smart speakers with chatbot functionality. In addition, they can help educational institutions, hospitals, sales teams, marketing teams, and restaurants.

They can help people place orders, find information about their favorite products, get recommendations, get their receipts, provide feedback to the services they get through filling out online surveys provided by the chatbots.

Chatbots can help students learn by repeating educational material several times, sending out quizzes, frequently testing students, and finding out if there are certain areas that they need to work on.

Final words

Most businesses don’t have to know about chatbot architecture, how chatbots work, machine learning, and how bots process language. It is a complex process that benefits from many technologies. Much work is beyond a chatbot’s ability to respond successfully to your query or collect data and provide insights.

Now, you have a good idea about the types of bots, AI or rule-based, how they process language, the technologies behind them, and most importantly, how they can help your business. So, it’s time you take your business to the next level and use chatbots. Whether you decide to add it to your website or your messaging apps, you will benefit so much from a chatbot. We hope this article has helped you realize how fascinating and unique chatbots are.

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