A chatbot (Chat Robot) is a service, powered by rules and sometimes artificial intelligence, that you interact with via a chat interface. The service could be any number of things, ranging from e-commerce to functional to fun, and it could live in any major chat product (Facebook Messenger, Slack, Telegram, Text Messages, etc.) or as stand-alone application.
If you haven’t wrapped your head around it yet, don’t worry. Here’s an example to help you visualize a chatbot.
If you, as a customer, wanted to buy shoes online, you would go to the website, look around until you find the shoes you wanted, and then you would purchase them.
If the business makes a bot, then you would simply be able to message them on Facebook, Telegram, Twitter, Skype, Slack or others. The chatbot would ask you what you’re looking for and you would simply… tell it, instead of browsing the website yourself.
Moreover, if you don’t find what you are looking for, then the chatbot can order the product for you, or point you in the right direction or maybe refer you to a customer service representative to assist you. All that, while having a friendly conversation with a chatbot.
Instead of browsing a website, you will have a conversation with the bot, mirroring the type of experience you would get when you go into the retail store.
In addition, using natural language understanding, machine learning and AI (Artificial Intelligence) algorithms, chatbots can be made more intelligent than they already are.
Other names for Chatbots: Virtual Assistants, Chat robot, Chat-bot, Chat interface, Bot, Natural Language Processing (NLP) Agent, Intelligent Bot, Chatterbots, Conversational Agents, chatbots, Virtual agents.