First things first, what is a chatbot? It’s a software that can talk with users on messaging apps, websites and social media. Messaging apps on China like WeChat were the first to introduce chatbots, and now they are gaining traction elsewhere.
The Western world got its introduction to chatbots when Facebook released its API in 2016. In one year or so we have close to 40,000 chatbots on Facebook Messenger. You have chatbots to order pizza, flowers, to check the weather and so on.
If you live in the United States or on some other country where Facebook Messenger is the number one messaging app, are set when it comes to chatbots. There are many countries, however, where people are not used to chatting on Messenger.
What they use instead? WhatsApp! In fact WhatsApp has more users around the world than Messenger (around 1.2 billion vs. 1 billion).
Most countries on South America and Europe, for instance, have a huge penetration of WhatsApp users. In some countries it can be as high as 80% of the mobile phone owners!
WhatsApp has not released its chatbot API yet, but it has already changed its terms of service and confirmed that it will allow software to be used on the platform. In fact you already have companies that are gearing up to help you create chatbots for WhatsApp when they are released!
Chatbots are a big deal because they allow businesses to automate their communications with users. For example, a business can use a chatbot to solve doubts about its products, to provide customer support, to send satisfaction surveys and so on. All of those talks would be impossible to be done with human attendants if you have a large business with tens of thousands of clients.
If you have a business, be it offline or online, stay tuned for this upcoming release! They will certainly have a big impact on how companies and consumers communicate around the world!
Daniel Scocco is the founder of Botware, a company specialized in the development of chatbots.