Chatbots: What They Are And Why You Need Them

Stefan van der VlagGeneral


We’ve given you six amazing pillars on what your chatbot needs to have for your business in the past. Today, we are going to go a step further! We’ll explain the history of chatbots… and give you even more reasons why you should not ignore this growing trend. A bot is an automated Internet phenomenon that can, for example, automatically detect a visitor’s presence on a website. Just as a salesperson may acknowledge a customer’s presence when they walk into a shop… A bot is the first point of contact when a user stumbles onto a website.

Some Quick Facts about Chat and Bots

Many online chat programs and chat apps continue to grow in popularity. Facebook Messenger has over one billion users. 

As chat grows as an industry, users will want chat agents to solve problems for them as quickly as possible. The preference for calling a customer support agent and asking them to cancel your subscription is rapidly dying. Think about it, we are used to convenience. We want everything to be done fast-paced. Bots, in general, are always faster than humans.

Having our tasks automated is much more convenient than asking a fellow human to do something for us. Already, China’s WeChat bots can do a variety of functions. The range from making medical appointments to sending money to checking in for a flight!

As chat continues to become the preferred method of communication, the importance of chatbots will increase. There will be a higher demand for the automation that chatbots promise over human interaction. There will also be a higher demand for chatbots with increased capabilities.

The Growing Popularity of Chatbots

Live chat is growing as the preferred method for customer support. As a result, there will be a growing demand and a need for businesses to install chatbots to speed up tasks and improve the customer experience.

As your business gets more customers, you will need to service them rapidly and without compromising on the quality of service.  Providing stellar customer service is crucial to the success of any business. And regardless of the industry, there is a place for chatbots. Of course, they are not a substitute for human live chat agents. But they are integral to the customer service experience.

A study on Internet Science stated the following on the growing popularity of chatbots:

  • There is an increase in productivity that comes with the automated tasks that bots can do
  • Chatbots can even entertain your customers with funny jokes! As trivial as this may sound, this can put your customers at ease. After all, when seeking customer service, a customer is often stressed or frustrated

These were among the many findings in the study. Chatbots are an ideal service for sales and for increasing conversion ratesAs you can see, this already is an excellent convenience for implementing one on your Facebook page and website.

The Different Types of Chatbots and Chatbot Services

So what are the different types of chatbots? And what are the chatbot services that are available for your website?

1. Simple Chatbots

The simple ones understand specific keywords or a string of keywords. They are great for a ‘preamble’ before connecting the customer to a live chat agent. When reaching out to a live chat agent, you may receive an automated message such as ‘How can I help you today?’ This is a response from a simple chatbot. A simple chatbot cannot answer more complex questions. If it’s presented with questions from the customer that the bot can’t understand… they will likely immediately transfer the customer to the live chat agent. You should use them only to solve quick and straightforward problems.

2. Smart Chatbots

This is a more sophisticated chatbot that runs on A.I. The smarter ones have an easier time understanding complex statements and questions by a customer. They’re more likely to be able to answer and respond accordingly. If they are unable to respond to the customer, they can always connect to a live chat agent.  A.I. is still an ‘in the works’ technology. So at this stage, even a “smart bot” will not always be able to flawlessly communicate with a customer. Yet, they are handy for more sophisticated communication and also tasks.

Where to Find different (existing) Chatbots?

Chatbots really have a personality of their own. You can find and install one into your website’s preferred messaging system. Using a bot search engine such as Botlist or Chatbottle can help you find different bots along with a description of their features. If using these engines, we encourage you to spend time comparing the different chatbots before settling on one.

There are even chatbots for particular purposes:

For example, Facebook Messenger has a chatbot named Poncho. Poncho is ideal for knowing the weather. Instead of dryly sending you the weather forecast like the weather app on your phone, Poncho sends you the weather along with jokes and a meme or two. 

Pro Tip: Make sure you understand what your customers are looking for. Plus, what type of personality they have (or are likely to have) when deciding to create your chatbot.

If you run a serious financial services firm, you may want a chatbot that gets straight to the point.

If you run an online shop, maybe a lighthearted chatbot will perform better.

What All Chatbots Can Do

So what are the different things they can do? It is important to know all the features that can be found in bots.

Before deciding on a bot for your website, make sure you research its capabilities. Do not settle for a basic chatbot unless your customers are really unlikely to need any extra features.

Here are some great features to consider:

  • Immediate answers: Most customers will not peruse your FAQ to get their quick answer. It is better to have a chatbot immediately answer a FAQ that your customer may ask
  • Immediate response: Your customer is directly connected to a responder. So, instead of having to wait for a free live agent to be free, communication happens right away.
  • Shopping: They can add items to a cart. They can help choose shipping options. Plus, they can collect your payment and process your order by just chatting with a customer.
  • Personalized: The best bots can personalize the user experience. It makes a massive difference if the customer feels they are being spoken to directly
  • Responses: Chatbots always respond to a message. Your customer will not have to hope for a reaction like they would when sending an email
  • Quick information: A bot can immediately provide quick information to your customers. Think of your business opening hours, contact information, any special sales, etc.

These are just some of the essential features that you will find in most chatbots. To continue, make sure you familiarize yourself with the features of a chatbot. And always remember what will suit your customer’s needs.

Chatbots: Now You Can Make Your Own!

Luckily, you can design your own chatbot to your liking. But, if you do decide to build your own, here is a quick guide to follow before jumping right in:

1. Understand Your Customer

Remember that your customer always comes first. What will your customer be looking for in a chatbot? Will your customer be put at ease with one that has a sense of humor? Or do they need a more serious tone that gets straight to the point? Just as you would train customer service agents to cater to your customer’s needs, you will have to design a bot to do the same.

2. Goals and Features

So, when building your chatbot, what do you want it to do? What are the unique features that you want your chatbot to have?

Is your chatbot just the first port of call before being transferred to a live chat agent? Or do you want your chatbot to be able to solve as many problems as possible? Do you want to avoid your customer speaking to a live chat agent, if possible?

And what are the other goals and features that you want your chatbot to have? Can it help with online shopping? Should it be able to process payments? Can it subscribe or unsubscribe your customers?

Yup. A lot of questions. But, questions that help you set goals.

3. The Channel

How will your customers interact with your chatbot?  Will you use a live chat program that is embedded on your website’s front page? Or can your customers interact with your chatbot using a program that they already use, such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, or Telegram? This continues with understanding your customer’s needs. You may even want to directly ask your customers what their preferred method of interacting with a potential chatbot would be.

4. Building The Chatbot

Now you know what you want out of your chatbot, it is now time to build one. If you have the programming skills… you can design the chatbot of your dreams. If you want, you can also contact a software programmer or a chatbot development company and outline your needs.

But, the easiest option is to use a Chatbot Creator. But do not worry, easy does not mean that you have to compromise on quality. Some services help you get started fast and easy. 

The best service? Well, Clepher, of course!

Perhaps I’m a bit biased, but you can use our tool to build your perfect chatbot.

Chatbots: Other Great Features

We have covered in depth what chatbots can do and what their features are. Let us dive in and learn about a few other great features that chatbots have and what they can be used for.

Personal Assistant

A chatbot can be used as a personal assistant. A user can ask the chatbot to complete small tasks, such as paying their credit card bill. The user can ask the chatbot for advice like the best place to go on holiday during the summer. These robotic personal assistants can be tailored for specific needs. Such as being a financial advisor or a health coach. The sky is the limit with using a chatbot as a personal assistant.


Unless you have a big company with several live chat agents, you may have to put limits on when customer support times will be. It is unlikely that your customer will be able to receive support at 1 AM on a Saturday. But a chatbot can genuinely be available 24/7. The chatbot does not need to sleep, and as a result, your customers can seek help whenever they need it. If they do interact with a chatbot during ‘closing time’… and they need further help that the bot can’t provide, the bot can create a support ticket. This support ticket will be looked at by a customer service representative later on.


If you ever decide to change your business… or decide to open new businesses, you may be able to use the exact same bot! What’s cool is that with perhaps only a few edits, you can put in place an existing bot into your new business. When designing your own, you should also consider the flexibility. Ask yourself if your chatbot can work for different industries. You may only have one website at present but think long-term. Think about how you can design a chatbot that could be used for any future ventures of yours.

Chat Away!

Now that you know about more about chatbots and why your business needs them… it is time to build one for your own venture too! Check out Clepher here. Oh, and be sure to follow our blog to discover more!

Click Here to Discover Why you Need a Chatbot on Messenger!


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