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5 minutes read

How Chatbots and Virtual Assistants Can Optimize Your App

By Robert Kazmi
By Robert Kazmi
5 minutes read

Until fairly recently, chatbots seemed to be somewhat of a dirty word. These little pop-up avatars would usually try to engage you, answer basic questions, and get your contact information for the next available human interaction. As for virtual assistants, they would usually ping you with an appointment on a calendar or remind you of an important birthday. Things have changed.

Now, due to massive technological advances in artificial intelligence and intuitive algorithms, chatbots and virtual assistants can take your mobile app to the next level. They can perform complex tasks, engage in personalized conversations, and even discuss the day’s events with you in detail, along with advice on traffic to avoid and restaurants to try. This is next level stuff, and it’s available now. Let’s jump into the ways these features can work for you. 

What’s the Deal with Chatbots?

Chatbots are big business. According to this report, the expected global expenditure will be $1.25 billion by 2025, and growing at a torrid rate. Chatbots can automate many formerly human processes, which can lower operating costs significantly and help businesses grow. Because artificial intelligence has come so far, chatbots within various mobile apps can make the user experience jump from adequate to amazing, with customized and personalized guides that Let’s take a look at which types of apps can feature a chatbot, and how it helps.

  •       MedTech Apps: We’ve all used various medical websites to diagnose ourselves and others with illnesses and injuries. Sometimes, however, it takes some time to piece things together, often because there are symptoms you don’t think to report or false conditions that don’t make sense. An intelligent chatbot will ask you all the right questions, draw logical conclusions, and give you personalized advice on what to do. Check out HealthTap for reference. Other chatbots in healthcare apps can remind you of prescription times and interactions, various insurance coverages, and more.
  •         FinTech Apps: The complicated world of finance can be a confusing one. From balancing your household budget to understanding complex stock trading methods, we could all use a little advice. A financial app with an intelligent chatbot that can answer questions, keep track of your expenditures, and offer timely advice will make that app desirable indeed. Cleo is an example of a smart chatbot app that takes your information and gives you solid guidance to manage your money. Having a 24/7 advisor is a must-have for any future FinTech app.
  •         Fitness/Diet Apps: This enormously popular type of app can definitely be enhanced by a state-of-the-art chatbot. Every user that is challenging themselves with weight loss and exercise could use a guide, answer man, or motivating coach, and that’s what chatbots can do. Tasks like adding up calories, tracking steps, and reminders to get out and walk can all be automated through a chatbot. In the hyper-competitive fitness/diet/lifestyle app market, having an intuitive chatbot can give you a leg up.
  •       Education: Whether you’re an overwhelmed grad student or an adult wanting to learn a new skill or language, there are countless apps out there to help you learn. Duolingo, for example, has incredibly advanced chatbots to simulate conversation, which is the best way to learn a new language. The same goes for study guide apps for students with chatbots administering pop quizzes. When an app has smart chatbots that guide and challenge the student, it’s naturally going to be more effective…which equals more downloads.
  •         Entertainment: Here’s a sector where there are countless opportunities for a variety of different apps. There are chatbots that will help you find a good movie, ask you trivia, or field silly questions from the kids. The “smarter” a chatbot is, the more capabilities the app can have. Some are even indistinguishable from humans in the conversational talents. 

Virtual Assistants

The emerging world of virtual assistants may seem strange and foreign, but it’s likely you’ve been using one or more for quite some time. If you’ve ever talked to Siri, Jarvis, Alexa or Lyra, you’ve already interacted with some of the most popular and powerful virtual assistants on the market today; they are only going to get bigger and better, as they represent many of the giants in the tech world.

And the bar is being raised every day. Assistant apps are utilizing artificial intelligence and cutting-edge algorithms to become incredibly conversational, figure out multiple solutions to problems, and even inject a sense of humor to otherwise mundane subjects. New virtual assistant apps almost need to be voice-reactive, and the more successful ones have access to smart speakers for easy communication in open spaces.

Today, users expect the easiest and most natural interaction with their virtual assistant apps. This involves multi-tiered searches, contextual interpretation, and instant adaptation to increasingly complex requests. For example, you might ask your virtual assistant, “I want a vacation in February where it’s by the ocean, averages over 80 degrees, and near a casino. For under $2000.” This presents an incredibly dense set of searches and problem solving, so any app that includes a virtual assistant needs to look to the future to be technically prepared for this sort of task. 

Final Thoughts 

There are clearly plenty of benefits to including chatbots and virtual assistants in your soon-to-be developed app. There are infinite amounts of niches and verticals where these could be provided, either an unexplored direction or simply improving on an existing app. It’s best to do your research, try a few existing ones out, and make a list of good parts and pain points that each one has. You should also consult with a successful app development partner to determine the viability, timeline, and expense it’ll take to make your app a reality.

Do you have an app idea that you want to bring to fruition? Reach out to us today for a free consultation!

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