Are Chatbots the Best Way to Service Your Clients Online?

We often encounter chatbots—the catchall name for digital messaging software that interprets natural language (how we talk in real life) and responds with helpful information—as little boxes that pop up on our computer screens when we’ve dawdled too long on a sweater online. Usually chatbots present themselves as a know-it-all avatar, be it a bespectacled owl or a sanguine-looking sloth, and include a text box in which shoppers can type and receive messages. Their primary function is to answer run-of-the-mill questions and provide basic information for a website’s users. Last December, a study by Facebook revealed that some 2 billion messages are sent between people and businesses monthly. And a growing number of those messages include tête-à-têtes with chatbots. The ubiquity of chatbots has a lot to do with the accessibility of the software. “Typically, technology is rea

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