Chatbots are on the rise as companies are starting to leverage and integrate them in their business processes.
To start with, let me give you a short explanation of what they actually are.
In short, a chatbot is a robot programmed to respond like a human. Basically, chatbots are a form of automated service, a chat-based interface that clients can interact with.
There are two types of chatbots. All chatbots are a form of artificial intelligence (AI), and complex programming is a part of all of them. Yet, they fall into two categories. The way they are split depends on whether the dominant feature is hardcoded questions/answer or the AI. From business perspective, it is chatbots that harness the full power of AI that can bring real benefit.
Getting started with a chatbot project takes time and thought. It’s nothing that your company or brand should rush into. The better the planning beforehand, the happier you will be with the Chabot’s performance afterwards.
So, here are five key factors that you absolutely have to consider in order to make your chatbot a success.
When Is A Chatbot Project Successful?
Of course, there is no general answer to that.
We defined two main criteria that determine the success of a chatbot project.
First, the efficiency and effectiveness of the project itself. Meaning how well can the chatbot interact with users, how large is the scope of topics it can answer etc.
Secondly, we look at previous expectations towards the bot and how well we could fulfil them. You can only see this after the bot went live and interacted with users.
Now let’s get started with the first, and also the most important factor for success:
1. Find the Right Use Case
The most important question enterprises have to ask themselves when they want to put a bot in place is about the use case.
What is the bot going to do for your business? How will it help you achieve your business goals? Can you use it to improve existing processes?
At the same time, don’t forget to think about your customers and the people who are going to interact with your chatbot. How can the chatbot improve their experience of interacting with your business?
All these questions are crucial, as the use case will massively influence the user experience of the chatbot in the end.
Not all use cases are suitable for a chatbot! So, make sure you considered the questions above before getting started.
If you can help save your customers’ time by delivering the right information at the right time and place (Micro-Moments from Google), your business has set the base for a successful chatbot project.
2. Get the Experts on the Table
If you want to develop a customer service bot, your colleagues from the customer service department have to be a part of the project team! In the end, they are the ones interacting with your customers and they know their expectations best.
Usually, chatbot developers train customized chatbots with example questions. This enables them to conduct individual conversations with end users. The more relevant and comprehensive those questions, the better the bot can meet everyone’s expectations after going live.
It is inevitable to include your in-house experts in the project. They know what customers want, as well as how users ask for information and interact with your company.
3. Keep It Narrow and Deep — Instead Of Wide and Flat
To start with, define one single topic that your chatbot should handle and try to go as deep as possible. This enables the bot to answer lots of related questions about this topic.
This might mean that your chatbot can only answer questions about one topic at the beginning. But, it will be able to answer a lot of related questions and provide actual help. The “Sorry, I can’t help you with that”- kind of answers for this particular topic will pop-up significantly less.
Due to the high number of specific questions about the topic, you will also be able to optimize faster.
You can always extend the scope of your chatbot’s knowledge later on, but to start with, try to keep it narrow & deep!
4. Be Clear and Transparent
Keep it in mind — your users must know if they are talking to a machine or a human!
Some companies seem to forget about that, but customers/users must be informed when an employee is going to take over the conversation from the bot. So, make sure you are clear about that.
Also, make sure to be transparent about the topics the bot already “knows” as well as which topics it still has to learn. This will reduce disappointments and lead to a better user experience.
5. Make Sure To Be Prepared For the Time after Launch
In comparison to other projects, launching the chatbot does not end the project. It’s quite the contrary — this is the start of the optimization phase.
On one hand, chatbot development companies have to be prepared to check and react in real-time.
On the other hand, your business has to provide the resources to get the most out of the crucial 4–6 weeks after launch. In the end, you want your chatbot to learn and improve.
A lot of businesses are jumping on the chatbot bandwagon. To make sure your chatbot will be a success, start with aligning its use case with your business goals. Make sure to get relevant people in your company on board and keep the first topic narrow and deep.
Keep your customers happy by being clear and transparent about your chatbot and don’t ever think the work is done after launching the bot.
About the Author:
Stephanie Falkner is Digital Marketing Manager at Onlim, an Austrian startup helping businesses automate their customer communication via chatbots, intelligent personal assistants and social media.