How do chatbots work? – the complete guide

Maybe you are thinking What is a chatbot? And how do chatbots work? Here are the answers to your questions:

A chatbot is an artificial intelligence (AI) based automated system that can do a conversation with user in natural language via messaging apps, website and telephone. It operates within defined set of rules and parameters. It is one of the most advanced and promising expressions of human conversations through voice commands, text chats or both. From technical point of view, chatbot uses natural language processing (NLP) for the question answering system.


How chatbot works?

A chatbot works in same way as a human doing in helpdesk. The chatbot should have an ability to identify the user’s queries, collect the information and relevant entities from the user’s queries are the most important steps that chatbot should take. Once the chatbot focused on the content of the queries, provide the most appropriate response to the user’s queries.

For example, a customer sends a query like ‘What time does your store open tomorrow morning’. Based on the information available, the chatbot used to give immediate respond as human do like ‘Our store opens at 10am tomorrow morning and closes at 6pm’.

The chatbot response may be:

  • A nonexclusive and predefined content
  • A content recovered from an information base that contains various answers
  • A contextualized snippet of data dependent on information the user has given
  • The consequence of an activity that the chatbot performed by interfacing with at least one backend application
  • A rewriting question that encourages the chatbot to understand the user’s request accurately.

What is going on behind a chatbot front end?

Before getting to know about this question, you must aware about types of chatbot.

As we mentioned above, all chatbots are working based on AI, and all of them are supported by programming. However, chatbot is divided into two categories. This division is based on whether the dominant feature is hardcoded questions/answer or the AI.

As we know chatbot functions on scripted and structured based questions and answers are not that much complex. and bots that function on machine learning and AI are complex to understand.  From the front end they both look similar and as a user, you may not be able to make a difference.

Scripted and structured based chatbots

A chatbot functions on hardcoded questions/answers requires a little knowledge and skill set but it will provide error free output to specific instructions. This means user’s questions must match with the programming developers have been given.

if the programming is not there in chatbot system, the question is ‘Will I need a brolly tomorrow’ then the chatbot response will be ‘I am sorry, I didn’t understand the question’. This bot can only be restricted to the programming it has been given.

In this scripted and structured based chatbot users can only interact via buttons or a given menu, you might be talking to one with structured questions and answers.

This type of scripted chatbot development is often used on Messenger platforms but this chatbots are not used for marketing purpose because it needs to interact a lot with the bot. Prefer used to send newsletters or daily content pieces, generate leads, engage users, do surveys etc.

NLP Based Chatbots

NLP based chatbots are more suitable to customer service bot. If you are running a business this type of chat bot is very helpful to manage customer service things. This chatbot can understand meaning of language of commands you give, and these are do not need to be so specific.

An AI chatbot will easily understand that umbrella and brolly refer to rain, so that deviation from the standard question will not happen and users will get correct response to their questions.

This understanding of language is based on NLP.  NLP is a part of machine learning and artificial intelligence. Basically, NLP works on three concepts: intent, entity and utterance.

Intents and entities are used to help structure the AI agent, while utterance allows to train and improve it. Essentially, machine learning bots get cleverer the more they are interacted with. Obviously, developer has more work behind the scenes is much greater.

I think now you get a clear idea on how chatbot work, Chatbots are certainly not something to be get feared, but rather something we should enhancing our user experience for various processes.

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