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How Much Do You Know About Chatbots? A True-False Quiz

January 24, 2019

Dog with smartphone eCommerce online shopping surrounded by AI bots popups suggesting things to buy

blank vertical space, 16 pixels highEvery so often a chatbot slides into the corner of my screen and asks how it can help me. They make me think of used car salesmen. I pretend I don’t see them.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

I buy things online from time to time, but I’ve never had a bot assist me. I’ve never had one suggest a product to me, either.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

But I’m intrigued. What is a chatbot exactly? Where do they come from? How important are they for brands?blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

So I did a little research and decided to put the results into the form of a quiz.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Click on each statement below to see if it’s true or false and why.blank vertical space, 32 pixels high

True or False:
A lot of people like chatbots, and are willing to interact with them.
A chatbot is a computer program that simulates human conversation. They reside on messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger.
Studies show:
71% of people use chatbots to solve their problem fast. 56% would rather message than call customer service. 53% are more likely to shop with businesses they can message.
1 in 5 consumers would consider purchasing goods and services from a chatbot. 40% want offers and deals from chatbots. Consumers are willing to spend more than $400 through a chatbot.
38% of people felt positive about their chatbot experiences, only 11% felt negative.
Some bots are smarter than others.
There are two kinds of chatbots. One uses a set of rules, the other machine learning.
Rules-based chatbots can only respond to a narrow range
of simple questions. They can tell you a store’s hours, for example, or link you to a restaurant menu.
Chatbots that use machine learning (artificial intelligence) can interpret a user’s language to understand and meet their needs. The Melody chatbot in the medical app Baidu Doctor can interpret users’ descriptions of their conditions, ask followup questions, then transmit the information to a doctor.
Check out Mitsuku, who won the annual AI competition for most human-like bot. She’s a better conversationalist than most of us, and has a great sense of humor.
Bots are completely self-sufficient; they don’t require any human help.
No chatbot is perfect. There will be times that require human intervention, and/or human followup.
For example: the bot detects a loop (it’s repeating the
same answer) and/or frustration (the user starts typing in expletives). In such cases, the bot would need to route the user to a live support person, or offer to contact someone who would follow up.
“Looks like I’m not solving your problem. Can I get your email address? I’ll forward this transcript to a human support agent for better assistance.”
And of course if you’re using a bot to take orders, like 1-800-FLOWERS or Pizza Hut, you’d need to have a payment processing system in place, and human staff ready to process the order.
You can use a chatbot to drive traffic to your website.
Whole Foods is a good example. People come to its Facebook page looking for recipes.
Whole Foods uses a rules-based Messenger bot to determine what the user is looking for: appetizer, main dish, side dish? European, Asian, American? and so on. Then it provides a link to a specific recipe which takes the user to the company’s website.
Bots might make mistakes, but they can’t do any serious harm.
Not all bots are designed to be helpful.
Social bots masquerade as real people on social platforms like Twitter. They post false or misleading content, hoping others (real humans) will share their posts.
Political bots seek to influence elections or referendums. By pumping out thousands of tweets a day, they can spread misinformation, muddy debate, and overwhelm an opposing candidate’s own messages.
Other bots use stolen passwords to hack into shopper accounts and place fraudulent orders. “Scalper bots” buy
up the best seats for concerts, then resell them at inflated prices.
Some retailers use bots to sabotage competitors. One technique: creating phony shortages on competitors’ sites by having bots hoard products (they fill shopping carts but never check out).
You can build your own chatbot; you don’t need to hire someone.
It takes some dedication, however.
There are tutorials for people who know how to code (that lets me out). There are also “chatbot-builders” (online software apps) for non-coders. These apps claim to be “easy,” “intuitive,” etc.
You can find some of them in this post, which is titled, “How to Build Your Own Facebook Chatbot in About 10 Minutes.” I read it– and I’d take that time estimate with a large grain of salt.

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About Mark: I’m an illustrator specializing in humor, branding, social media, and content marketing. My images are different, like your brand needs to be.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

You can view my portfolio, and connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Questions? Send me an email.blank vertical space, 40 pixels highRecommendation testimonial for Mark Armstrong Illustration from Sharon Scott editor national weekly edition Washington Post

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 25, 2019 1:56 PM

    Mark – nice article and way to chunk out the copy to educate us on chatbots. I am also seeing them as gateways to other things like downloads (free ebooks, etc.) and lead nurture paths.


    • January 25, 2019 8:58 PM

      Hi, Candy! Thanks so much for your comment, nice to see you here. It was an interesting learning experience for me, too. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing more bots as time goes on– and hopefully the kindly service bots will outnumber the villainous thieving bots!! I liked “gateways”– like little doormen… thanks again! 😊


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