At Napier we have a project to evaluate and develop chatbots. Yes chatbots for B2B! I have to admit that initially I was really skeptical, but now I’m involved in the development work. So bear with me on this.

Firstly here are the basics on chatbots, a short overview written by our talented intern, Amie:

 

What are chatbots?

A platform used as a way of communicating using a messaging service such as Facebook, the program mimics a conversation using artificial intelligence and the new way of interaction and reaching out to clients. The program responds to questions asked by a user and responds in the most conversational way possible. It’s another way of offering online assistance without the interruption of a phone call. An example is a weather bot, you would rec the weather whenever you ask, instead of having to search for it yourself.

Why use chatbots?

It’s the first time messenger apps such as Facebook are being used for more than just social networking, these apps are now being used MORE than social networks. This is a big turning point, the advice is if you want to build a successful business you want to build one where people are! Which is where chatbots come in.

How do chatbots work?

There are currently two kinds of chatbots, one that is based on rules – this type of bot can only answer very specific questions and can’t answer if the command isn’t written in a certain way. Chatbots that use machine learning are more flexible this bot has an artificial brain/intelligence. The questions don’t have to be so specific it understands broader language and doesn’t have to be a command. This style of bot grows its intelligence the more conversations it has with people.

 

So why chatbots for B2B? Developing a bespoke chatbot is expensive, so we’re building on the Facebook Messenger Platform.  Facebook? Many clients have told us that Facebook messenger just doesn’t seem the right place for a conversation with a prospect, and they also unsure that a chatbot will have sufficient intelligence. Things, however, are changing fast:

Embedding chatbots on your website

With Messenger Platform 2.2, Facebook is allowing businesses to easily embed a Facebook chatbot on their websites. Currently it’s being trialed with a number of major beta customers, but we expect this feature to be available to everyone in the near future. This overcomes a significant obstacle for B2B companies by integrating chat into the website that provides the primary means of interaction with customers and prospects.

Can chatbots meet the challenge of B2B?

The final question is can a chatbot really deliver value in a B2B context? With the rapidly improving features available in tools to develop chatbots, we think they can. And we’d love to know your opinion: please try our chatbot by clicking here and let us know what you think. Email me at [email protected] to let me know if you found it useful or just annoying.