In recent years, chatbots have become extremely popular tools for businesses to boost their customer service and experience.
If you’re an ecommerce business owner looking to implement a chatbot for your business and want to find out more about the power and potential of chatbots, you’ve come to the right place.
In this post, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about what a web chatbot is, how it differs from a WhatsApp chatbot, and the advantages and disadvantages of installing a chatbot for your online business.
Let’s get straight to it.
What Is a Web Chatbot?
In technical terms, a web chatbot is a software powered by artificial intelligence (AI), and more specifically, natural language processing (NLP), with the ability to interact smoothly with customers in the form of a chat.
They’re able to understand text by recognizing it, extrapolating it, and then processing it, in order to assist with a user’s query – all without the need for a human agent to intervene.
Visually speaking, it’s the floating chat icon you’ve probably come across at the bottom right-hand corner of the homepages of some ecommerce businesses.
Web chatbots are usually equipped with pre-filled text, which often pertains to the most common problems customers encounter, to allow for quicker responses.
With the sole purpose of attending to customers and facilitating problem resolution, they’re also often called customer service chatbots.
Web Chatbot Example:
One great example of a web chatbot is none other than that of ecommerce giant Amazon. Right at the top of their contact page is the option to start chatting with a bot (clearly, the company’s preferred way of communication).
Clicking on the yellow Start chatting now button opens up a separate chat window with their chatbot.
Users then have the option to either click on predetermined button options or type a message to further detail their issue.
What Is a WhatsApp Chatbot?
A WhatsApp chatbot is not unlike a web chatbot, in the sense that:
- It also runs on AI
- It works like a chat
- Its aim is to assist store/website visitors by facilitating quick information
Visually speaking, a WhatsApp chatbot is usually accompanied by the WhatsApp icon. However, the biggest (and perhaps most obvious) difference is that these chats will take place on WhatsApp itself.
What this means is that conversations with a WhatsApp chatbot will ultimately be redirected to WhatsApp – regardless of where they were started.
Here’s how it works.
Types of WhatsApp Chatbots
There are various ways to interact with WhatsApp chatbots, depending on how and where a customer initiates the conversation.
1. WhatsApp Chatbots on Facebook and Instagram
This is when a business integrates WhatsApp to their Facebook and Instagram business accounts for swift management (which is easy to do as all three fall under the Facebook empire).
In doing so, WhatsApp chats can be started on these pages by simply implementing a call-to-action WhatsApp chat button for customers to click on.
For instance, here’s what the WhatsApp chat button on a Facebook business page looks like:
Clicking on the button on a web browser opens up WhatsApp web, and doing so on a mobile device will open the WhatsApp app (assuming it’s already installed on the device).
WhatsApp chatbots can also be reached via ads on these two platforms. If you’re interested in learning more, here’s a post on how to create Facebook ads that click to WhatsApp.
2. Web-Based WhatsApp Chatbots
WhatsApp chatbots can also be found on a business’s website and are usually located on the homepage.
Here’s a web-based WhatsApp chatbot example – our very own WhatsApp chatbot on our WATI homepage.
Clicking on the green Start Chat button opens up a chat with our registered WhatsApp number. And in true chatbot fashion, we’ve even pre-filled a message that users are free to edit or send.
3. WhatsApp Chatbots on WhatsApp
Last but not least, another way for users to interact with a WhatsApp chatbot is via WhatsApp itself.
This is when they take the initiative to send a WhatsApp message to a business, after having stored their number in their phone’s address book.
Note: If your WhatsApp chatbot is run on the WhatsApp Business API, there must be clear options provided to the user to allow them to reach a human agent. This is stated very clearly in the WhatsApp Business Policy, which you can read more about here.
Accessible as it is and definitely practical to have for any business, there are certain guidelines to comply with when using a WhatsApp chatbot.
Chatbot Advantages and Disadvantages for Businesses
Now that we’ve squared away what web chatbots are and how they work, let’s look at the three main advantages and disadvantages of installing one for your online business – WhatsApp or otherwise.
Chatbot Advantage: It Reduces Operating Costs
Studies show that chatbots can reduce a business’s operating costs by as much as 30%. Its ability to understand and respond to queries means businesses don’t need to invest as much money (and time) in hiring and training as many customer service personnel.
This also frees up time for business owners so they can dedicate themselves to other more urgent and pressing business matters.
Chatbot Advantage: It Gathers Customer Data
Since it’s built and run on tech, chatbots can also help to gather customer data and statistics such as the most common problems they run into, preferences, and so on.
This insight can be used to create more informative pages on your website, such as a more detailed FAQ page or specific information about certain products or services that customers often enquire about.
Chatbot Advantage: It Enhances the Customer Experience
Having a chatbot that’s readily accessible at any time and any day of the year, regardless of whether a user is looking to get in touch during out-of-office hours or public holidays, provides a boost to the customer experience.
This is because they’re able to get their problems attended to and solved immediately – without the need for a human agent to be at work.
Chatbot Disadvantage: It Lacks Emotions
One disadvantage of using a chatbot is the inability to project emotions into the communication with customers, which may create distance and a sense of aloofness.
One way around this is to inject as much of a human touch as possible into your templated responses. However, given that this requires a certain level of personalization, it may be rather tricky to create replies that correspond to all users.
Chatbot Disadvantage: Complicated To Create
The disadvantage of a chatbot being difficult to create actually depends on your business needs and the level of complexity of the questions you want your chatbot to attend to.
For instance, if you’re looking to create a specific and personalized chatbot from scratch and one that can answer highly complex user queries, such a chatbot can be difficult to create.
There are, however, many different chatbot tools and solutions on the market that don’t require technical knowledge to implement.
Web Chatbots and WhatsApp Chatbots: To Get or Not To Get
Here’s the bottom line: Even though there are certain disadvantages with web chatbots and WhatsApp chatbots, the pros certainly outweigh the cons.
Not only can these chatbots enhance your customers’ experience with your business and take sales to the next level, but there are also plenty of workarounds to the disadvantages we’ve mentioned above.
So if you haven’t already, get started on implementing a web or WhatsApp chatbot for your business now.