A chatbot, also known as a bot, chat robot, or chat simulator, is a computer program capable of simulating a conversation with a human.

Presented in the form of an instant messenger, it gives the illusion of opening a chat with a real advisor, when, in fact, it's a textual exchange with a computer program.

Now widely used in customer service for online businesses, chatbots first appeared several decades ago, in 1966 in the United States.

Back then, it was a program that simulated the words of a psychotherapist.

Today, chatbots have a very different role to play. Benefiting from advances in artificial intelligence, these software programs pinpoint keywords in a conversation and offer answers to web users and customers.

Better still, these virtual agents now perform tasks almost autonomously, and they can make sales and marketing suggestions based directly on the preferences of the person with whom they are chatting.

The use of chatbots continues to grow year after year, both in the consumer market and in B2B. Today, the uses of this software are many and varied.

Chatbot users use them just as much to order a meal as to search for a product, obtain information, find out about current events, or organize their schedules.

Little by little, chatbots are increasingly replacing mobile applications, as their mode of interaction is deemed much simpler and more intuitive.

In terms of ecommerce, chatbots are widely used to assist consumers with their online purchases. They are used to answer any questions they may have, acting as genuine sales advisors to the user.

Unlike humans, bots are constantly available, so they're highly responsive. This enhances the user experience.

In some cases, however, when the conversation becomes too complex to be replaced by a computer program, a customer relations advisor takes over.

The chatbot acts as a first filter, reducing the waiting time between the consumer and the customer service department.

It relieves the workload of advisors and, at the same time, reduces the costs of a standard customer service while retrieving data to assist with the company’s customer relationship management (CRM).

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