Did you ever notice the chat window that suddenly pops-up as soon as you land onto a website and says ‘How may I help you today?’ Do you ever get the feeling that the person you are chatting with doesn’t seem to be a human…. might actually be a robot? Those are chatbots, conversational software applications considered as a best substitute to a direct human assistance for conducting interactions in today’s date. They vary substantially in sophistication, be it text- or voice-based, or a combination of both, and a great self-help solution for forward-thinking brands.

As per Chatbots Life, so far USA, India, Germany, the UK, and Brazil are the top five countries using chatbots the most. Chatbots can also help to cut operational costs by up to 30%. A Gartner report predict that, as per their chatbot statistics, 85% of customer interactions will be managed without humans by 2021. According to Juniper’s research, the introduction of chatbots will save 2.5 billion service man hours over the coming years. All these statistics point only in one direction, meaning that the users i.e. millennials or boomers are both liking the use of chatbots. Internet users are highly satisfied with chatbots and millennials around the world are already using them regularly for varied activities. Businesses are planning to spend more on chatbots than mobile apps for the text-savvy generation of today.

Types of Chatbots:

Today, chatbots can be categorized as either rule-based chatbots or artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots. A rules-based chatbot has a pre-defined set of questions, answered and data fed within by human operator and when asked questions, it provide replies based on a set of rules defined by their human operators. This type of chatbot conversations end on a note of either offering a specific piece of information, an invitation to talk to a human, or the request to follow up later. It can also be simple FAQ type of applications where a defined set of information is collected to move to the next level—qualifying a potential sales lead, for example. The drawback here is that the chatbot will not respond beyond the very specific programmed commands.

What makes AI Chatbots unique?

AI chatbots comes handy and fits the purpose, for today’s information hungry generation that looks for the information on their fingertips. AI chatbots are designed to understand language outside of a set of pre-defined rules and algorithms and are continually refined based on the input it receives from users. Using AI and Natural Language Processing (NLP), they are designed to operate virtually on their own, adjust based on patterns, and become smarter over time as they experience new situations.

AI Chatbots in Higher Ed

In uncertain times like today’s, AI chatbots are extremely useful for organizations responding to large number of incoming queries and complex sets of information, 24/7 365 days. As Covid-19 has disrupted several schedules indefinitely, AI-driven chatbots are best suited for colleges and universities that are contemplating flexible decision making, deeper dive into predictive analysis and sentimental analysis.

Lately, there are three major solution categories emerged in Higher Education, concerning the student lifecycle, that include a variety of AI-based solutions:

  Prospect to Enrollment   Student Engagement   Alumni Development
  • Gathering admissions information
  • Providing detailed instructions on completing Financial Aid and FAFSA forms
  • Ensuring housing issues are resolved prior to arrival on campus
  • Staying up to date on campus opening dates, activities and events
  • Enhance academic advising with info on GPA, grade forgiveness, changing majors, scholarships and bottleneck courses
  • Handling IT support services automatically, including password resets and resource availability
  • Track homework assignments and identify potential study group members
  • Get learning assistance by identifying university resources related to subject
  • Sign-ups and reminders for alumni events
  • Creating mentoring opportunities by matching students to alumni
  • Uncovering associations between alumni and organizations

So all-in-all, higher education can benefit a great deal from chatbots as they offer real-time, on-demand, instant response for simple to the most complex queries. AI Chatbot has the capability to enhance online experience for the consumer. It will not only handle multiple queries at the same time but also remembers and learn, in a way self-train itself. With growing trust on AI chatbots Universities can take advantage of the same and use the technology to comfort its students, their parents, the staff and faculty members. AI chatbots are the intelligence drivers that will transform, empower and evolve the face of many industries, including but not limited to, higher education.