Blog Feed Post

Chatbot Apps: The Future of Customer Service


Artificial Intelligence has always been something more of a sci-fi dream. Intelligent machines that you can communicate with, just like an ordinary person, always seemed unrealistic and even creepy to some (Skynet anyone?).

However, over the last couple of years, AI technologies have become so deeply integrated into our lives that talking to a machine is no longer science fiction, but simply a convenient way to get things done. That is why chatbots, one of the most popular and accessible ways to utilize AI in real life, have gained such a widespread adoption.

Initially viewed as a fun but useless toy, chatbot apps are becoming increasingly smarter. Thus, more businesses have come to realize the full potential of these handy tools for automating customer service and business processes. But what benefits do chatbots have for a business? How do they actually work? Let’s first start with a brief background check on chatbots.

A brief guide to chatbot apps: the what, the how, and the why.

What is a chatbot?

A chatbot, or “chatterbot”, is an AI-powered tool that simulates human communication via an in-app chat interface. Depending on the primary purpose of such an app, it can simulate an actual conversation, answer questions, or even perform simple tasks.


Let’s say, you want to go hiking this weekend. First of all, you need to check the weather forecast. Instead of searching for the information online, you simply type in the question “Will it rain this weekend?” (As you can do it with Poncho.)


Granted that the bot has access to your location, it will instantly show you the forecast for the upcoming weekend in your area. In addition it will most likely do it in a fun and conversational manner, resembling more of a real human than a Google search would, at least for now.

Read also: On-Demand Apps – the Economy of the Nearest Future


This might seem somewhat simplistic, yet it perfectly illustrates the main purpose of a chatbot: making our life more convenient and easy, automating routine tasks and providing relevant information or services.

A great example of AI-powered chatbot app is Mezi. With its help, you can easily find answers to all kind of questions about travelling locations, hotels, and flights.

mezi-travel-chatbot-app-screenhttps://easternpeak.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/screen696x696-1-1-250... 250w, https://easternpeak.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/screen696x696-1-1-120... 120w, https://easternpeak.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/screen696x696-1-1-300... 300w" sizes="(max-width: 392px) 100vw, 392px" />mezi-travel-chatbot-app-screen-booking-a-hotelhttps://easternpeak.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/screen696x696-3-250x3... 250w, https://easternpeak.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/screen696x696-3-120x1... 120w, https://easternpeak.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/screen696x696-3-300x4... 300w" sizes="(max-width: 392px) 100vw, 392px" />chat-bot-travel-app-mezi-conversationhttps://easternpeak.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/screen696x696-3-1-250... 250w, https://easternpeak.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/screen696x696-3-1-120... 120w, https://easternpeak.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/screen696x696-3-1-300... 300w" sizes="(max-width: 392px) 100vw, 392px" />

While the earlier examples of chatbots such as ELIZA (1966) or PARRY (1972), only mimicked a human conversation, the most advanced chatbot right now is capable of performing a vast number of tasks, from searching a database for information, to handling various transactions, or managing connected devices. Such progress in chatbot technology is mostly owed to the advances that have been made in Artificial Intelligence.

Learn more: 8 Cool Examples of Chatbot Apps

How does it work?

Simple chatbot apps are typically rule-based. This means that they can only understand and respond to specific preset commands. If your command falls outside the command parameters, then it won’t understand you. These chatbots have limited capabilities and can only be as “smart” as they are programmed to be.


More advanced chatbot apps rely on what is called Artificial Intelligence, as mentioned above. Basically, by using “Natural Language Processing,” these programs can understand whatever you say (not just commands), and can tailor its answers and actions accordingly. Such bots can become “smarter,” i.e. learn something new when communicating with people, using Machine Learning.

While rule-based chatbots are very easy to build, they usually don’t add very much value. The only thing they are capable of doing is executing a set of defined tasks when they are told to do so. AI-powered chatbot apps represent greater value as they can do much more than simply follow orders. Yet, building this “artificial brain” is no easy task.

Recently, the development of advanced chatbots has been rather simplified. Thanks to a large number of third-party chatbot AI platforms, you don’t need to be an expert to incorporate AI into your app. The most popular chatbot development tools include the following:

  • wit.ai (acquired by Facebook),
  • api.ai (acquired by Google),
  • Chatfuel,
  • Bot Framework by Microsoft,
  • IBM’s Watson, and
  • Octane AI

There is one thing you should always remember when using such third-party platforms: manage your expectations. The capabilities of these platforms remain limited in the range of functions and the scale of the platform itself. If you decide to scale your product further, you might eventually still face the need to invest in custom AI development (or at least augment the existing solution with new capabilities).

Read also: Creating VR Content: Make the Virtual Reality Trend Work for Your Business

Why care about it?

As we can clearly see from the examples of chatbot development platforms above, major tech companies such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and IBM, are betting big on AI and conversational interfaces. Yet, small and medium size companies have also come to realize the benefits that chatbots hold for businesses. According to Oracle, 80% of surveyed sales and marketing executives are already using chatbots or are planning to do so by 2020.

the-state-of-chatbot-adoption-in-businesshttps://easternpeak.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/oracle-report-250x144... 250w, https://easternpeak.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/oracle-report-120x69.png 120w, https://easternpeak.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/oracle-report-300x173... 300w" sizes="(max-width: 597px) 100vw, 597px" />
Source – Oracle Research

Largely due to such vivid business interest, investments in the chatbot industry have grown 229% between 2015 and 2016 (according to BusinessInsider). Furthermore, Gartner predicts that 85% of all customer service interactions will be powered by chatbots by 2020.

The provided numbers are pretty impressive, especially taking into account the fact that the real chatbot revolution has just begun. To better understand the hype around chatbot apps, let’s take a closer look at the main benefits they offer and some notable examples across various industries.

Read also: Bringing Augmented Reality to Your Retail App

Why does every business need a chatbot?

As follows from the above-mentioned statistics, every business will eventually adopt chatbots. It’s only a matter of time now. But what is making businesses flock to AI and pour billions into chatbot apps?

Last year, messaging apps outstripped social networks in the number of monthly active users. Mostly due to this fact, businesses have come to realize the potential of chat platforms. Chatbots are currently viewed as a fast and simple way to target those 3 billion active users in a familiar and convenient environment – messaging apps. Besides the increased customer reach, businesses see the following benefits in chatbot apps:

  • Chatbots can create a truly engaging experience and thus improve user retention and build loyalty.
  • They allow you to source direct insights from the users by providing non-intrusive customer profiling capabilities.
  • Chatbot apps offer advanced personalization opportunities.
  • A bot can serve as a perfect impersonator of a company or a product, thus improving brand recognition.
  • Chatbot apps can open new revenue channels (for example, virtual shopping assistants can apply service fees).
  • Processes automation helps businesses allocate resources efficiently and improves overall staff efficiency.

As a result, the use of chatbots can produce significant financial benefits. Juniper Research predicts that “chatbots will be responsible for cost savings of over $8 billion per annum by 2022, up from $20 million this year.”

Some notable examples of the best chatbots that exist across industries include the following:

Industry Company Chatbot Description Platform
Finance and Banking Capital One Eno A gender-neutral personal assistant that helps users manage their money. Text messages
Retail eBay Shopbot Personal shopping assistant Facebook Messenger
Travel Lufthansa Mildred Travel chatbot that helps find the cheapest fares for a flight. Facebook Messenger
Healthcare HealthTap Dr. A.I. AI-powered virtual “physician” that helps identify symptoms and gives medical advice. Provided as a part of standalone apps; Amazon Alexa skill

For more information about the use of chatbot AI and smart shopper assistants in retail read our article Best Practices: Personal Shopper Apps Development

How your business can benefit from chatbot app development?

While chatbot apps were initially used by millennials or tech-savvy consumers, the adoption is spreading fast. Right now, every business can use a bot. AI apps have proven to be extremely valuable in customer-centric industries, such as

  • retail (consultation on goods, prices, best bargains, etc.),
  • finance (consultation on finance management, reference information, etc.),
  • travel (automated flight search and booking, price prediction, alerts, etc.),
  • healthcare (patient data collection, symptoms analysis, automated appointment booking, etc.), and
  • service (personal assistants, scheduling appointments, research and analysis, etc.)

The list can go on and on. Yet, customer support remains probably the most beneficial area of application for AI regardless of the industry.

So, if you are planning to build a chatbot for your business, make sure to find a reliable technology partner. We at Eastern Peak can build solutions that perfectly meet your needs, business goals, and budget. Сontact us now to book a free consultation with our experts on chatbot apps development.

Read also:

  • How To Successfully Recruit And Manage A Remote Software Development Team
  • User Onboarding: Do-s and Don’t-s for a great UX
  • Mobile App Development Trends 2017
  • The post Chatbot Apps: The Future of Customer Service appeared first on Eastern Peak.

    Read the original blog entry...

    More Stories By Valeriia Timokhina

    Valeriia Timokhina is a blog editor and IT manager at Eastern Peak, a top-ranked custom software development company. Founded in 1999, PEAK-System is a leading provider of hardware, software, and services for the mobile and industrial communication sector with emphasis on the field busses CAN and LIN.

    Latest Stories
    "There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
    Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
    Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities - ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups.
    In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect at GE, and Ibrahim Gokcen, who leads GE's advanced IoT analytics, focused on the Internet of Things / Industrial Internet and how to make it operational for business end-users. Learn about the challenges posed by machine and sensor data and how to marry it with enterprise data. They also discussed the tips and tricks to provide the Industrial Internet as an end-user consumable service using Big Data Analytics and Industrial C...
    René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
    When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...
    DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DXWorldEXPO within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term.
    To Really Work for Enterprises, MultiCloud Adoption Requires Far Better and Inclusive Cloud Monitoring and Cost Management … But How? Overwhelmingly, even as enterprises have adopted cloud computing and are expanding to multi-cloud computing, IT leaders remain concerned about how to monitor, manage and control costs across hybrid and multi-cloud deployments. It’s clear that traditional IT monitoring and management approaches, designed after all for on-premises data centers, are falling short in ...
    With privacy often voiced as the primary concern when using cloud based services, SyncriBox was designed to ensure that the software remains completely under the customer's control. Having both the source and destination files remain under the user?s control, there are no privacy or security issues. Since files are synchronized using Syncrify Server, no third party ever sees these files.
    Mobile device usage has increased exponentially during the past several years, as consumers rely on handhelds for everything from news and weather to banking and purchases. What can we expect in the next few years? The way in which we interact with our devices will fundamentally change, as businesses leverage Artificial Intelligence. We already see this taking shape as businesses leverage AI for cost savings and customer responsiveness. This trend will continue, as AI is used for more sophistica...
    "We are an integrator of carrier ethernet and bandwidth to get people to connect to the cloud, to the SaaS providers, and the IaaS providers all on ethernet," explained Paul Mako, CEO & CTO of Massive Networks, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
    I believe that this may finally be the year that the CIO role ‘crosses the Rubicon,' leaving behind its traditional, IT-focused orientation. But I don't believe that either of the previous predictions of this outcome — fading into oblivion or rising to a business executive level — is correct. Instead, I think this is the year that we will see the role of the CIO transformed into something altogether different.
    Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also receive...
    "Calligo is a cloud service provider with data privacy at the heart of what we do. We are a typical Infrastructure as a Service cloud provider but it's been designed around data privacy," explained Julian Box, CEO and co-founder of Calligo, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
    "NetApp is known as a data management leader but we do a lot more than just data management on-prem with the data centers of our customers. We're also big in the hybrid cloud," explained Wes Talbert, Principal Architect at NetApp, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.