Chatbots are widely evident in today’s world. With the rapid advancement of technology and the rising need for automation with less human intervention, chatbots are beginning to be more and more part of people’s daily lives.
What’s a Chatbot?
A chatbot is a computer program that utilizes natural language processing (NCP) and artificial intelligence (AI) to automate replies to user queries, thus simulating human conversation. Chatbots can assist users in getting the information that they need more easily and quickly. Via natural language, chatbots respond to questions and requests without human intervention. Chatbots can help with the user questions by refining their searches through responses.
How do chatbots work?
Chatbots utilize natural-language recognition, which helps them determine what precisely the user is asking. From here, chatbots incorporate advanced intelligence tools to target the user’s specific needs further.
Most probably, you have run into a few chatbots yourself. One example is when you ask your smartphone to set the alarm or check out a website past office hours. These bots have different types.
There are smart and dumb chatbots. The “dumb” ones rely on a script or specific rules, while the smart ones can handle rather intelligent conversations. These two are technically called the rule-based chatbots and the AI-based conversational bots. The conversational ones depend on machine learning and AI algorithms, which help them process inputs and respond with a more personal approach that works relevantly. On the other hand, rule-based bots will only let you pick answers closely related to keywords.
Area of Application
When you pinpoint the most typical service areas for chatbots, you will realize that they serve highly beneficial in sales and support or as virtual assistants. It is customary to see chatbots helping customers to make a purchase. As for assistants, tech-giants offer the likes of Siri and Meena. Virtual assistants have a voice control feature and continue to develop as they learn about the user. Some people might argue that they are not chatbots, but you are actually conversing with them through dialogs when you think of it.
You can also segregate chatbots based on the platform they are on. Some of the most familiar places are instant messengers such as Facebook Messenger, Telegram, and WhatsApp. Some do exist strictly in a standalone mobile application, which is typical when you need more than just fetching information. Chatbots are more evident in websites and messengers because these are the places where e-commerce and customer service sales bots appear.
Now that you have learned what chatbots do and the different types, here are seven essential steps in chatbot building.
- Identify the Type that You Need
- Choose a Channel
- Select The Technology Stack
- Layout the Conversation
- Undergo Proper Training
- Test It First
- Deploy and Maintain
As previously mentioned, you can opt for a rule-based or an advanced AI-enabled chatbot. The type of chatbot depends on what you need.
It would be best to consider where your prospects or even existing customers are and what platform they usually utilize and work comfortably with. You have the option as a bot hosted on your website, a Facebook Messenger bot, or even a standalone mobile app. You can also lean towards a multi-channel option, but you will need to devise a specific strategy for this one.
You have to determine the usual customer issues you need to solve to choose your chatbot’s technology stack. Chatbot developers can help you design your bot based on a framework that you prefer.
When you have the technology stack in tow, you can design the conversation. If you opted for a DIY platform, you could process this via drag-and-drop reply options. However, you should hire chatbot experts or developers if you selected a framework.
If you opted for the AI bot, you have to train it. You have to prepare the bot to understand user intent, and this requires exposing the bot to different variants that a customer might ask. You need to train your bot to a massive data set to set it up for success.
If you are already confident with your chatbot training, you should test it before making it available to your users. Always expect different scenarios that might not be positive always. With this, try to create general replies that help direct conversation towards real goals.
Make sure that you connect all endpoints before deploying your chatbot. You have to ensure proper integration with your whole infrastructure. As soon as your bot gets deployed, you can monitor it and check out statistics. Proper maintenance is required as you might need to refine some answers based on unforeseen user interaction needs.
It is important to realize that no matter how well-designed a chatbot may be, it still has limitations. It will help if you take note that this may sometimes lead to frustration. Thus, it is imperative to have proper chatbot management. You will need technology to help detect your users’ emotions by checking the tone and type of language that they use.
Request for User Feedback
To better understand your users and find if your chatbot is useful, it would be great to provide users with an option to rate your chatbot’s answers. You can offer users a thumbs up or down button or let them have a written feedback option. This is an excellent strategy if you plan to have a successful bot to help run your business. Through this user-feedback option, you can easily target where you need to improve on the dialog or add additional information to help users with more specific answers.
Chatbots are becoming more popular due to the needs of the times. Using them in your business to explore technological advancement would be a brilliant move. Make sure that you take to heart all the information mentioned above and you are well on your way!