4 Smart Ways to Automate Data Collection with Chatbots

/ 20 July 2022

Your business is sitting on a goldmine of data just waiting to be utilized. There are several tools you could use to do this, including focus groups and social media monitoring; but one of the most effective is chatbots.

There’s no need to worry about a robot invasion because these helpful AI-powered assistants only have one goal – to help your business thrive. They automate data collection to save precious resources, improve the booking journey and boost sales by pointing consumers toward relevant products or information. 

Want to learn more? Keep reading as we run through what chatbots are, why they’re important and how they automate data collection. 

What are chatbots?

Chatbots are your customer service, marketing, and sales teams all rolled into one. Not only are they available 24/7 to answer queries, but they act as your website’s virtual tour guide. The very best chatbots rival the most meticulous concierges, welcoming consumers, directing them to where they need to be, and managing complaints.

However, the main reason chatbots have boomed in popularity is because they automate data collection. This can then be used to give businesses a better idea of what their customers want.

Why are chatbots important?

By 2024, Insider Intelligence (an industry-leading market research company) predicts that consumer spending via chatbots will reach a whopping $142 billion, up from $2.8 billion in 2019. Another insight suggests that 40% of internet users would rather interact with a chatbot over a customer service agent.

But why do we love chatbots and what makes them so important? Website users prefer them because they enhance the customer experience by offering personalized assistance day and night. Businesses rely on them because they eliminate time-consuming tasks, reduce costs, and dig up a treasure chest of meaningful data.

Alongside open-ended surveys and online tracking, chatbots are a valuable method for identifying profitable trends. Every time they have a conversation, they collect information on consumer interests, behaviors, and purchasing habits. The more they learn, the better they get at pushing tailored offers to people at the right time.

How do chatbots work?

Chatbots are like toddlers – they need time to learn, consolidate information, and practice their newfound skills. When you build one for your business, you’ll have to teach it how to be as helpful and human-like as possible. To do this, you must first speak its language. Chatbots use natural language processing (NLP) and advanced machine learning (ML) algorithms to process data insights. 

NLP helps the computer program understand the human language so it can perform repetitive tasks. ML is a little more sophisticated. It allows the software to predict outcomes and intent without explicitly being programmed to do so. 

Most chatbots use NLP, ML, and AI (artificial intelligence) to automate data collection, understand the context of a conversation and determine a customer’s preferences.

Using chatbots to automate data collection

Now we’ve run through the basics, it’s time to take a closer look at how chatbots collect data…

1.    Open-source datasets

Brand-new chatbots don’t have much data to learn from, which is where open-source datasets can help. These overflowing online libraries are freely available to use, modify, and share, often released by independent agencies and academic bodies.

Relevant open-source datasets include Twitter Support, Ubuntu Dialogue Corpus, and Yahoo Language Data. Each has curated questions and answers, FAQ examples, and two-person chat logs. Thanks to this feast of data, your chatbot will quickly gain valuable insights.

However, there are a few drawbacks. Many open-source datasets are generic, meaning you won’t get the most relevant data for your business. Think about how many different personalities there are on Twitter. Your chatbot might pick up bad habits that don’t reflect your brand (a cautionary tale includes Microsoft’s ill-fated chatbot, Tay).

2.    Existing chat logs

Mining data from existing chat logs works better than sifting through open-source datasets. There are two ways to approach this:

  • If you have a chatbot, you could mine data from the existing chat logs.
  • If you have a live chat solution, you could mine data from human-to-human interactions.

The obvious downside is that you must already have a virtual customer service solution that can function as a teacher. If you do, you’ll benefit from more relevant data that uses your brand’s voice.

When unearthing old chat logs for learning purposes, be mindful that the data is still relevant to the end-user. Old conversations might have outlived their usefulness.

3.    Customer service documents

If you don’t have existing online chat logs, don’t panic. You can load any data into your chatbot, including email threads, text conversations, and telephone transcripts from your customer service team. Like the above, this information already has a business context to help your chatbot define its diction.

4.    Use premade software

While rewarding, building a chatbot can be costly and laborious, especially if you don’t have an in-house development team. Luckily, you can use premade software to make the job easier. 

One of the most popular choices is the IBM Watson Assistant. It uses AI to provide fast, consistent and accurate answers to customer queries. Or, you could build a chatbot and collect data from the IBM Watson Knowledge Catalog – a handy tool that lets you access, curate and categorize data from across the web.

Consent data capture services

Collecting data is key to success. Once you have a bank of customer information, you can tailor your marketing campaigns, push bestselling products, and expand your reach to new, relevant audiences. Chatbots are one way to do this, but there’s a wealth of equally valuable tools, including consented data capture.

At 3radical, our data capture services weave consumer consent into your web design or applications. By creating engaging experiences that let customers make clear choices about how they wish to interact, trust follows. We put transparency at the heart of our data capture services, which leads to increased long-term engagement.

Want to learn more about our trustworthy data capture services? Don’t hesitate to contact us today. We’ll get back to you shortly.

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