In a recent article I talked about the easiest way to add a chatbot to your WordPress website.
I worked with the plugin for some more time. I am happy to report that at the moment, it is definitely the fastest way to add a chatbot to your WordPress site.In fact, I mentioned in the previous article that these could be called “TapBots” rather than chatbots. This is because most of the time the user is just tapping on a button to make a choice.
In this article, I will expand on that a little bit and talk about the differentiating factors between TapBots and ChatBots.
Understanding what user types
A TapBot makes no effort to understand what the user says. There are only two modes of input: either the user clicks (taps) a button, or they type in some text. However, when they do type in some text, a TapBot merely stores the information and does not understand it or act on it.
This, of course, is in direct contrast to how a typical chatbot works. For example, there are a few FAQ bots on this website. The main thing they do is to map a user’s phrase to a predefined list of phrases. The variation in what the user says is (or at least supposed to be) irrelevant.
You can say:
How do I get more leads to my website
I wish to get more leads to my website
Although there is a fair amount of difference between these two sentences (especially if measured by Levenshtein distance), the human can perceive them to be more or less the same. A smart chatbot should be able to do the same, and in fact usually does.
Getting to the end of the task
Here is where a chatbot can be easily tripped up. Bot building frameworks such as API.AI provide plenty of tools to handle conversation errors (fallback intents, slot filling etc). But the fact remains that the more conversational you try to make your bot, the more chances the user will type something completely unexpected and derail the conversation.
The great thing about TapBots is that the bot almost always gets to the end of the conversation without any difficulties.
Naturally, there are many things you can do with a chatbot that you cannot do with a TapBot. But the amazing thing about words and text is that there are so many different permutations that it is very easy to use the (grammatically) correct expression in a sentence and still fail to communicate to the chatbot what you want in a way it expects to receive the input.
The TapBot takes away this power from the user, but it also means that there is nothing that the user needs to choose. Less choice can sometimes mean greater decisiveness, which can be a very useful thing for business and commercial communication.
Predictability of the user interface
You can see this in action in your Google Assistant. If you make a choice from the list selector in Google Assistant, you can actually go back and make the same choice again. (I don’t have an example handy, so you may have to take my word for it!). Ultimately, this means the user can do any of the following in the Google Assistant when presented with a list: type a response, make a selection from the current list, or make a selection from an already displayed list.
With a TapBot, there is no such unpredictability. If the user taps a button the button text is echoed into the chat window. Or if the user types something, the text is then echoed back in the chat window. But there is no possibility of the user having to choose one or the other.
Notice how simple it is for the user to use the SiteGuide Bot:
Ease of analyzing user responses
Now, apparently there is something called quantified qualitative.
In the case of a TapBot, doing this quantified qualitative analysis is much easier simply because there is a lot more quantitative data included in the mix. As an example, consider that a user clicks on a button which has some predefined text. Even if the text value is a string, from a programmer’s/analyst’s perspective, it is more like a string constant. That is, it is much more easy to “Filter” inside your spreadsheet software when compared to free form text input.
I realize the above paragraph may not be very clear, and I will write an article about this in more detail in the coming days.
Want to get the benefits of a messaging interface on your website? But without the sharp learning curve of an actual chatbot? Try adding a TapBot to your site. The ease of development and deployment will probably surprise you.