blog-botsTo kick things off, let’s get the obvious question out of the way. What, you might ask, is a bot? Well, every time you open a live chat box on a website, or place an order through chat platforms like WeChat and Facebook Messenger, the odds are you’re interacting with one.

Meet your indispensable digital employee

Bots (AKA web robots AKA WWW robots) are cloud-based, artificial intelligence software applications. They use text to chat with humans, understand the content and then act upon it. The increasingly common form of bots are called chatbots. Designed to simulate conversation, they make you feel as if you’re chatting with a human. And at some point in the not too distant future, they could become your indispensable digital secretary, employee and even advisor too.

Ready to take advantage?

The future of bots is extremely promising. Recent Microsoft research shows that 71% of young people already use virtual assistants like Siri and Google Now. So no surprise that technology companies are continuing to invest in bots on a large scale. And businesses like yours will soon be able to start taking advantage of this smart technology in a number of ways.

Build more meaningful interactions

These days a lot more people choose to message on social media rather than post. So chatbot interfaces are a familiar sight. If you’re looking to develop meaningful interactions with your customers, bot-mediated conversations could provide a fruitful avenue to explore. Especially as this ‘human’ feel is becoming increasingly, well, human.

More human. More intelligent

Thanks to the increased power of technology, bots are fast becoming more human and more intelligent. Companies like Apple, Google, Facebook and Microsoft are investing millions in developing ‘e-motions’ – and it’s paying off. Microsoft chatbots already recognise emotion. If they sense anger, for example, they’ll form their answers accordingly in an attempt to dispel it. Just think of the possibilities of applying that level of responsive emotional intelligence to customer services.

Chatbot: your personal business advisor

So the idea of using chatbots to help run your business isn’t as far fetched as it might appear at first. Instead of spending time on the internet or money on consultants, in the future you might be turning to a chatbot instead. It will trawl the internet. Communicate with other bots used by your customers, suppliers, accountant, lawyer, insurance or tax advisor. And be capable of delivering the insights and information you’re looking for in a flash.

And that’s just the start

In the future, bots will also play a useful role in other aspects of your business: liaising with customers over delivery times for example, or managing orders to suppliers. Andself-learning technology means they’ll be able to do it all more and more effectively. One day, you may wonder how you ever managed without your trusty bot…

This was originally posted on Exact.