Understanding Different Types of Chat Automation

There are so many different ways to find information that it can be a bit overwhelming. Automation is meant to help users find the details they are looking for, but the term automation may seem broad. When it comes to automation, there are also various choices, including natural language processing (NLP), guided conversation, voice-based, and hybrid chat automation.

Why is automation effective? 

Before we get into the different types of automation, it’s essential to understand why companies choose to leverage automation in the first place. From reducing the load on customer service-centric teams to gathering valuable data, automation quickly becomes a force for improving the prospect journey. 

Four different types of chat automation

Guided conversation 

The most common types of chat automation are “guided conversation” or “rules-based.” Used in a variety of contexts, this option leads users through scenarios, offering them predetermined options to choose to help them complete simple service requests and get information. Think “Choose Your Own Adventure” but for finding an apartment. At BetterBot, we use this type of technology to help property managers turn prospects into renters.

Pros: Guided conversation leads prospects to essential information. It allows for ease of use, minimal thought on the prospect’s part, and immediate answers. It can also be straightforward to update information whenever it’s needed. Guided conversation succeeds 100% of the time, and it never breaks, allowing for the best possible customer experience.

Cons: Guided conversation can create “points of friction.” This may be a point in the conversation where the user needs to converse with a live agent. However, this can be an intentional point to connect with the prospect. Guided conversation bots should be able to house all the most critical information. For example, BetterBot has researched what prospects are looking for to provide the most pleasant user experience.

AI/Natural language processing

Unlike guided conversation, “AI” utilizes natural language processing (NLP) to guide users through human-like conversations. Instead of giving users a predefined set of options to choose from, NLP analyzes user queries for keywords and phrases and then answers accordingly. In its youth, BetterBot ran the largest NLP platform in multifamily but moved to a guided conversation model. To learn more about that transition, check out this article on why BetterBot ditched NLP

Pros: NLP continues to be in the early stages of development, which makes it exciting. It can help solve many queries for the end-user.

Cons: The cons with this type of bot are that it’s much more expensive to create, requires a long training period before it can be active, and must be constantly updated and maintained. According to Forbes, this method succeeds 50% of the time…which also means it fails 50% of the time. They can often be masked as a live human, which may upset the end-user and leave them feeling bamboozled by bots

Hybrid

As the functionality of Natural Language Processing can cause issues in the prospect’s experience due to misunderstood questions or responses, some brands utilize hybrid automation, which provides the capabilities of NLP combined with the effectiveness of Guided Conversation. 

Pros: Hybrid automation can be considered “the best of both worlds.”

Cons: While they mainly operate in a rules-based way, they also have a limited capacity to answer other queries through NLP. Although hybrid automation offers elements of both NLP and guided conversation, its result may not always be clear. 

Voice-based

A newer type of automation beginning to emerge is based on voice-recognition technology. While this is still an emerging category, it’s exciting to imagine the possibilities here. 

Pros: Voice-based automation can be convenient for the end-user. It allows for touch-free technology to take over and offers many possibilities.

Cons: This type of automation still has a long way to go, especially in the multifamily industry. This type of automation may be more difficult to provide users with the exact information they seek.

Automation can be used in so many ways to help prospects find the most valuable information. It can also help teams find better leads. It’s essential to keep these factors in mind when considering adding a new tool to your tech stack. To learn about other tools that may help your team, check out our article on prospect management tools you should know about

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