How Do Chatbots Work? A Guide to Common Chatbot Questions & Features


AI-driven chatbots have become a welcome customer service resource by both brands and consumers. As artificial intelligence programming continues to advance, chatbots are more popular than ever. But, how do chatbots work – well, the answer lies in knowing a little bit more about the purpose of chatbots and how they’re used in online marketing.

Here is a comprehensive guide containing eleven different chatbot questions and features:

1. What is a Chatbot?

An AI chatbot is software or computer program designed to communicate with human users, mimicking the language and behaviour of a customer service agent. Chatbots are used on websites and chat platforms, to assist users with a wide variety of tasks. Chatbots are able to engage in discussions or conversations with humans, handling inquiries and statements, and performing activities in response.

2. Is a ChatBot Independent from a Human Operator?

Yes, a chatbot is not run or overseen by a human being. It is completely independent, running 24/7. It’s like an instant messaging-esque customer service channel, using human speech and responding with a combination of machine learning and predefined scripts.

3. Can a Chatbot Learn?

Yes, to some degree, a lot can. When asked a question, a chatbot uses a knowledge database to provide an answer. When it is asked a question it does not recognize, a chatbot may attempt to deflect the conversation, pass it off to a human operator, or provide a way to contact a real person. A chatbot learns from every interaction, constantly growing its knowledge database, although this relies on the underlying software.

4. How Do Chatbots Learn Language?

A chatbot works entirely based off the software and programming code it’s provided. Bots are trained only according to the information provided, meaning they don’t necessarily understand intuitively what a customer’s plan is. It only has previous information to rely on. Thankfully, a chatbot’s logs can oftentimes detail what customers are trying to ask and be used as a way to coordinate more functionality.

5. How are Chatbots Trained?

Chatbot training is fast and much more affordable than hiring a customer service agent. For example, with a human being, one has to provide them with thorough support and instruction regarding how to handle clientele and the information they are expected to provide. All a chatbot has to do is browse conversation logs and from these, they can understand how to answer certain questions.

6. Pattern Matches

There are 3 classification for chatbots and how they respond to a given query. The first is pattern matches which group text and produce an appropriate response to said text. Pattern matching is cued by a chatbot reacting to a keyword, name, or as you may guess, a pattern. If a pattern isn’t detected and a structure isn’t detectable, a chatbot cannot reply.

7. Natural Language Understanding (NLU)

The second classification for chatbots is NLU which can be broken down into three concept – entity, context, and expectation. Entity represents an idea or category, like a payment system. Context is a classification of conversation or conversation sequences which allow a chatbot to better understand conversation. Expectation is the fulfillment of the customer inquiry.

8. Natural Language Processing (NLP)

Lastly, there is NLP which converts speech or text into structured data which is then utilize to procure a response. Words are separated into tokens or pieces which have a linguistic representation, the chatbot then studies and learns from the analysis of the piece, text is processed to identify errors or spelling mistakes which could alter the intended meaning, the chatbot then looks for different categories of words which are required, and then the chat searches for subjects, verbs, objects, or common phrases to discover related phrases a user may wish to convey.

9. Database Accumulation

On the consumer end, all we see is a chatbot. On the other side though, chatbots build a database of customer service information, marketing data, and queries which can be used to further the agenda of the managing brand. This data can be used a number of ways, including to improve upon existing chatbots and furthering the reliability of a company’s AI mechanisms.

10. You Probably Already Use a Chatbot

Chatbots can appear on websites in customer service but they are also used every day in virtual assistant technologies like Google Home, Amazon Alexa, and others. Messaging apps like Facebook Messenger use them. They are also very common in eCommerce as well as communications, education, entertainment, finance, food, health, social media, travel, and utilities. Unfortunately, chatbots are also used maliciously including to fill chat rooms and social media with spam, advertising, and insults. They can be found on AOL, Yahoo! Messenger, Windows Live Messenger, and other instant messaging apps. Chatbots have also been used to disrupt emergency services, bully and harass on social media, and to spread misinformation regarding social or political events.

11. What are Some Chatbot Development Platforms?

You can actually build your own chatbot through cloud-based or chatbot development programs. Microsoft Azure and AARC provide bot engines which can develop chatbot platforms or software. Cloud Platform as a Service (PaaS) provides NLP, AI, and mobile backend as a service for chatbot development.

Dean is a self-professed tech geek with a fondness for computers, video games, and any novelty tech-savvy gadgets.