How to Design a Chatbot
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How To Design A Chatbot

How To Design A Chatbot. Many businesses, companies, institutions and organizations have made the decision to create a chatbot. This is because they’ve started to realise that automation (in the form of a chatbot) can make those repetitive tasks a lot easier, thus saving time and money.

Saying that though, chatbots can be out of reach due to the advanced technology behind them. They may not know how these technologies work or quite often they prefer to use a static question and answer system such as a Frequently Asked Questions page.

We’re here to help though, we’ve written some ticks and tricks that can help make sure your chatbot implementation is a success, whatever your use case maybe.

Don’t Do It Because Everyone Else Does It

The first thing to do is to ask yourself if your company, business or organisation really needs a chatbot. Chatbots are a great technology but you should only adopt it if it’ll improve your user experience and help improve efficiency or reduce cost to serve.

Chatbot Example Use Cases

Here are a couple of ideas of how you could make use of a Chatbot and improve your business bottom line profit by reducing cost to serve and increasing customer satisfaction.

Replacing your shipping policy F.A.Q’s:
If you have a dense, information heavy frequently asked questions document that details your shipping policies a Chatbot could help. It will help your potential customers find out if their location is covered by your shipping policy.

It can also provide an idea as to how much shipping is likely to cost using anonymised location data.

Reservations and bookings:
Dedicated staff taking bookings and making reservations cost your business money. Did you know that by using a Chatbot you can automate that process by making use of a Scheduling Chatbot. This could save you money in the long term.

The Scheduling chatbot will take your user through the entire process. Starting with taking down their details (name, date of reservation, telephone number etc) all the way through to confirming the booking.

Here you can see an example of a Booking or Reservation use case. It’s really important that it’s easy to use and as you can see, it is.

Examples Where A Chatbot May Not Be For You

Here are a few other cases where chatbots may not be for you

  • To retrieve a lot of information from your customer.
  • To many references to external sources, this is a poor user experience.
  • Retrieving information that has little to no value

Things to Consider Before Launching Your Chatbot

Before launching a chatbot, you’ll need to perform as much validation as possible to understand how your users will interact with your chatbot.

To do this you can reach out to your existing customers and ask them what they would use your chatbot for and if they have any problems in your current customer journeys. For example, is your current booking system taking too long? Try and put yourself in your customer’s shoes and understand the pain points.

If you don’t have customers, look for companies or related groups that address the same problems as you and find out if they are using a chatbot, why they use them or why they don’t use them. It’s important that you offer concrete yet simple solutions to your customers through a chatbot, don’t overcomplicate them.

Keep your customers engaged with a well designed conversational tone.

A Conversation With Your Customers

To ensure your customers engage with your chatbot you’ll need to make sure you keep a conversational tone throughout your questions and responses.

There are a few use cases that would require a more formal tone such as a Clinic chatbot. The tone in those cases wouldn’t be the same as a gaming store chatbot for example.

Your users should know that they are not talking to a human, but at the same time, they should be able to interact with the bot as they would with a person regarding the issue. For example a customer should be able to ask ‘I want to speak to an advisor, can you give me your customer services phone number?’ Your chatbot should reply and give short concise responses containing the information requested.

To Be Or Not To Be Visual

Do you want to include emoticons / emojis? It’s an important decision to make. Emoticons can have the effect of making the process less formal but at the same time users may not take your chatbot seriously.

It’s also a good idea to include visual clues when your chatbot is typing, for example. Visual clues are really important as it keeps your users engaged.

Continuous Improvement Is Key

Chatbots are one of the interfaces that most need continuous improvements. If you do not have the time, money and staff, it is better that you don’t use one. Improvements are a fundamental foundation to allow your charbot to become a success. That said, you can test a chatbot by looking at several options.

Length of responses:
How long are your responses? Which ones get the best engagement rate. You can test different lengths and see what reaction it produces in your users.

Options:
Instead of a free flowing conversation, you can prompt users and guide them in the conversation through options to allow you point them in the right direction.

Language variants:
Make sure your bot recognises the language your users use. You can do this by configuring your bot with different language variations of your questions and answers.

Recognition:
During the conversation you can try to get feedback at the end of the chat session. Prompt your user to give feedback on how easy the chatbot was to use, and if it answered their query.

Restart:
In case the bot does not recognise a question or answer, you must enable it to reply with phrases such as “I do not understand you, please could you rephrase the question?”. This will allow you to capture and add to your canned responses.

Hopefully you’ve found this article useful and you now understand How To Design A Chatbot.

Have you implemented a chatbot for your business? Do you have any other tips and tricks to making sure your chatbot implementation is a success? Let us know in the comments below.

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