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What Exactly is a Chatbot, and Why Should I Care?

Across many industries, Artificial Intelligence is changing the way people access information, and redefining the way organizations and enterprises service their customers.  An effectively implemented chatbot will provide an improved customer experience and make employees happier, too.  

What exactly is a chatbot?  Simply put, a chatbot is artificial intelligence software that can simulate a conversation through multiple communication methods, including phone, websites, and messaging applications. 

Chatbots must be able to correctly analyze the understand request from the user, identify the intent, and then extract data and compose a reply.  Some examples include:

  • a generic, pre-defined response (“Hello, How can I help you today?”) 
  • information retrieved from a knowledge base ("Our office hours are Monday-Friday 9 am to 5 pm")
  • a response based on data the user has provided (“You are excused from jury service next week”)
  • a disambiguating question that helps to better understand what the user is requesting. ("Are you looking for the address for North County or South County?")

So why should you care?  When effectively implemented, Chatbots are an opportunity improve an organization in a number of areas: 

  • Streamline interactions 
  • Improve customer experience
  • Improve operational efficiency 
  • Improve employee satisfaction by removing mundane tasks and providing more meaningful assistance.   

Does this mean that chatbots will replace customer service personnel?  No - chatbots are intended to supplement the service that live agents provide, to reduce mundane tasks and provide convenience.  There are times when customer service representatives are essential to resolving needs.  

With over 25 years of experience in self-service automation, contact center solutions, and focus on state and local government, ATI can be a valuable part of your organization's digital transformation strategy.  Contact us today to learn more at