Conversational Bots

At the peak of COVID-19 pandemic, government launched a chatbot called MyGov Corona Helpdesk (for whatsapp) to provide constant updates and eradicate fake news about Novel Coronavirus. People could converse with the chatbot on platforms like Facebook’s messenger, Whatsapp and Telegram. About 17 million people used it within 10 days of its launch[1]. This chatbot is an example of “rule based chatbot”. However this chatbot can only handle pre-defined inputs. Conversational bots are a level up from these rule based or FAQs chatbots which can recognize context in a conversation.

Conversational Bots
MyGov Corona Helpdesk Whatsapp chatbot

What are conversational bots and how do they differ from FAQ chatbots?

A massive improvement over rule based chatbots are conversational bots. If you think about how human converse, context matters. What the user said before, how, when and where should influence how the conversation goes. Conversational bots powered with AI can understand the context. Understanding the context also means that the bot are capable of answering new and unexpected inputs from user. These conversational bots consider the context of what has been said before, gracefully handle unexpected dialogue turns, drive the conversation when the user drifts from the regular conversation path and improve over time.

Apollo Hospitals launched an app with a conversational bot called Apollo247 which analyses dialogue with its user to tell whether they need to visit a hospital for COVID 19 related symptoms or not. The app has a bot which asks the user gender, his/her age, what ailments one is suffering from and advises whether to visit a hospital or not. However, it states that the bot’s analysis “should not be taken as a medical advice”. It can also tell whether one should get a scan done or not [2].

Conversational Bots
Apollo247 conversational bot

How conversational bots can help your business?

As per survey published by Statistia in 2019 , about 78% has leveraged conversational bots powered by AI in simple self-service scenarios. 77% enterprises have reported to be using bots to try and assist with a query before passing it onto a customer care personnel. Another 70% companies, reportedly use bots to retrieve information and offer recommendations and answer to queries quicker. According to Statistia, conversational AI bots are most used in customer service. The second most common area where conversational bots are used are Customer Relationship Management (CRM) [3].

Conversational Bots
Most common areas for conversational bot implementation in organizations worldwide

A user can be dissuaded from using a certain online service/product if they find the site hard to navigate, or cannot get answers to simple queries, or find it too hard to get basic services. These hurdles can be overcame by conversational chatbots which are fast, intuitive and convenient. AI chatbots offer a way to increase customer engagement by providing a personalized experience. They can retrieve high value content from customers.

Listed below are 10 key areas where business can take advantage of conversational AI bots:

Immediate Response
Chatbots provided customers with a sense “immediate response”. They always want their queries “now” service within five minutes of making contact online. Conversational chatbots enables a similar kind of response and behavior akin to talking to customer care personnel.

Drive More Revenue
Intelligent chatbots acts as a guide for customers and take them on a buying journey. This makes sales conversion and revenue. Advanced chatbots can remember “context” and thus provide customers with preferences and provide advice, tips and help, while gently providing recommendations that results in upselling of products.

Reduce Costs
According to reports use of virtual assistants cut need for queries handled by human agent by 40%, and often deliver first call resolution (FCR) rates far in excess of live agents. Chatbots will reduce costs by handling more customers at a time.

Maximize Staff Skills
Conversational bots can be used to automate a portion of call, email, SMS etc, that would have required human involvement. This gives time to employees to engage in higher-value customer engagements.

Reach New Channels
Chatbots provide personalized customer experience and try to solve customer’s query before initiating a human involvement. These bots can be simultaneously deployed on various platforms like social media, calls, SMS etc. This reduces the overhead required to deploy a support to team on each new channel or network.

Increase Loyalty
Conversational bots can increase brand loyalty as well as customer retention. This happens due to fast and frictionless answering of customer queries. Use of conversational AI reduces the cost overheads of the company as well as increases customer retention.

Available 24/7
Customer want service 24/7 and 365 days. Delivering this kind of support by human agents seems impossible. However, conversational bots can be available all the time. The customers can get their queries solved using conversational bots anytime and even on holidays.

Increase Engagement
Customers tend to spend 60% more per purchase and also report an increased frequency of purchase. As customers start to favor online methods of communication, chatbots provide an opportunity to reignite the customer experience with increased engagement, personalized customer service and improved customer satisfaction.

Understand the Customer Better
Apart from providing customers with quick query solving, these bots can also provide meaningful insights into the company’s customers. They can be used to understand trends and better interpret customer sentiment, providing invaluable insight that informs product and service development. Furthermore, this data can be accessed by for a single product or for multitude of products.

Build Differentiation
Conversational bots can be a key factor for customers choosing your company over your competitors. These bots can deliver frictionlesss user experience that derives higher customer brand loyalty and higher customer retention.

Use cases of Conversational Bots
Chatbots are being used by multiple industries to provide seamless experience to their customers. Some of these are covered here.

Banking, Insurance and Financial Services
These chatbots can guide customers to perform a variety of financial operations without making it feel like they have to fill too many forms. The information shared with these chatbots are completely safe. From checking an account, reporting lost cards or making payments, to renewing a policy or managing a refund, the customer can manage simple tasks autonomously. These chatbots can provide immediate support to a customers. These can also be used to train customer care personnel.

Automotive Industry
These chatbots can take information from humans and then accordingly recommend car for the customers according to their needs and wants. They intake various needs of customers such as the features they want to have, their budget etc. These feel lie human-like interaction and is bound to drive the conversion rate upwards. Apart from recommending cars these chatbots prompt to schedule a test drive at the nearest car dealer.

Retail & Ecommerce
Adding conversational bots to your existing retail channels increases customer engagement as they can answer clients queries and requests instantaneously. These also provide various updates on shipping details, discount etc. in a human-like fashion. They can also help customer navigate the website to pages where they can find the product they are looking for. The data collected by chatbots can further be analyses by the marketing team understand customer behavior and make strategies to increase customer engagement and retention.

Here conversational bots are used to provide self-help FAQ and knowledge forums to find a customer’s answer to any technical issues they might be facing. Customers can also use these bots to find best deals for them, and even change their personal information such as address just by chatting to bots! Further, chatbots can come up with personalizedplans for customers. At the same time, chatbots can assist potential customers in choosing the right product for their needs. This will also allow customer care employees to only address the complex issues rather than getting involved in trivial issues.

Smart Homes & IOT devcies
These conversational bots enable customers to access various functionality of smart homes via every day human speech. They can also be used as guide in smart cars to tell directions, set desired temperatures etc.

Healthcare industry
Chatbots in healthcare industry can avoid unnecessary visits to hospital. This technology seems very useful especial during pandemic when there is massive stress on hospitals and doctors alike. Further, they can also be used to schedule appointments and scans for the patients.

When bots were launched first time into the market, their were predictions that these bots will replace customer care employee requirements totally. However, this did not happen as the current state of bots have its own limitations. One of the biggest limitations of conversational bots are they fail to understand complex queries. Secondly, bots can only handle the situations fr which they have been trained. On failing to recognize an incoming message they generate messages like – “Sorry I could not understand your question” which might lead to the customer becoming frustrated. If the bot is supposed to handle high volume queries, the cost of building and deploying such a bot might be higher. The chatbot may make the conversation feel repetitive which might again frustrate the customers.

Developers understand the above limitation and thus are careful while developing bots. There are a lot of tools available to build bots for commercial purposes such as Keras, TensorFlow, and PyTorch. Apart from this various frameworks like Google’s diagflow and RASA can also be used to develop effective conversational bots which can handle context. These chatbots can act as first point of contact and reduce the overhead of backend office by solving simple queries and requests of customers. A lot of companies have already integrated chatbots to their websites, apps or other channels to drive customer engagement higher. So are your ready to step up your customer experience with these conversational bots capable of recognizing contexts?

Need help with Conversational Bot?

If you want to build Conversational bot or integrate to your existing products and need help, advice, or developers, feel free to contact us at or on our LinkedIn page or visit our company website,