Every industry has become consumer-focused in present world. The idea is always how to improve customer delight. We have customer support agents working 24/7 for us and providing support for different services and products.
With time, a business tries to work in a smarter way. Today many leading companies in healthcare, finance, insurance, e-Commerce, logistics, sports, entertainment, leisure, travel, and other industry, is benefitting from the use of chatbots.
A bot is a program that automates certain tasks. It chats with your customers through a conversational interface. They act as your personal assistants and could live in any major chat applications like Facebook Messenger, Slack, Telegram, Text Messages, etc.
Most top brands today, are integrating the chatbots into their chat support systems. Big names such as Facebook and Telegram have created their own chatbots and chatbot platforms.
Tec inStore launched a customer service chatbot. After one month of usage, the chatbot had an 80% success rate. More than 1500 people have requested help from the chatbot, which reduced requests to the customer support agents.
Companies that are using chatbots successfully:
With the Starbucks chatbot, you can place an order for your favorite drink or snack. The chatbot will tell you when your order will be ready and the total cost.
You can request a ride from Lyft via chat (Facebook Messenger and Slack) or voice (Amazon Echo).
You can request a ride from Lyft via chat (Facebook Messenger and Slack) or voice (Amazon Echo). The Messenger bot will show you the current location of your driver and a picture of the license plate and car model.
Fandango’s Facebook Messenger bot lets you watch movie trailers, find local theaters, and see what’s trending this week, even send you to a page where you can buy tickets.
Spotify’s Facebook Messenger bot makes it easy for its customers to search for, listen to, and share music.
- Pizza Hut
Pizza Hut customers can easily order pizza for delivery or carryout from Facebook Messenger or Twitter. Customers can also reorder their favorite pizzas, ask questions, and see current deals.
Casper: Helping Insomniacs Get Through the Night
Insomnia is a serious problem. You are left to feel alone, when rest of the world is resting peacefully.
Casper’s chatbot Insomnobot 3000, is a conversational agent that aims to give insomniacs someone to talk to while the rest of the world rests easy.
An interesting graph by Business Insider shows the possible savings at a national level in the US, when insurance companies, financial services, sales and customer services, used chatbots.
How to create a chatbot?
1) Purpose of your Bot.
The purpose of a bot is to provide a service, which people want to use repeatedly.
If you were build a chatbot app for the first time, you would like to choose from the following options:
These bots offer users with new forms of information for consumption like breaking news and other stories.
MassBudgetBot tweets when Massachusetts state budget earmarks are approved.
These bots offer automatic solutions to questions. In short, they solve a user’s problem or inquiry via chat. They are used for reasons like booking appointments or shopping online.
Yellow Messenger bot offers purchasing interactions for everything from movie and airplane tickets to eCommerce and mobile recharges.
2) Choose your messaging app your bot will use.
Apart from the two most popular messaging apps i.e. Facebook and Slack, the bots can live on many more options available; for example, Kik and Viber.
Selection of an app, depends on the type of audience you are trying to reach.
3) Decide which platform you will use to build the chatbot.
Most messenger apps provide tools and documents to developers to build bots.
There are many platforms that can be helpful for you to build your bot without a lot of coding required like Chatfuel, Botsify, Beep Boop, Bot Kit, Octane.ai and others. While Beep Boop provides an end-to-end developer experience and allows users to build great bots, Octane.ai helps your business engage with your customers and integrates with all social medias and also provides real-time analytics.
4) Choose your bot’s personality.
Your Bot’s personality should match your brand; this should be the cue to build your Bot. A great example can be:
PONCHO: A Weather Forecaster
Poncho was launched in April 2016 at Facebook’s F8 developer conference. It is a funny and witty bot, capable of sending personalized weather forecasts and astrological predictions. It focuses on the activities about which the user wants to be updated daily and is a huge hit with users.
Image Source: – www.poncho.in
5) Build your bot’s flow.
When you start creating your chatbot, the platform you’re using should provide options on how to branch out conversations. Usually, the user is given a choice of drag-and-drop or multiple-choice responses. You can frontload the bot with if/then statements. Your Bot is supposed to understand the intent of the user and deliver a solution in the most effective way.
A typical conversational framework:
Image Source – www.hubspot.com
Finally, you need to set up your chatbot’s ability to process the natural language that most users will input , i.e. their vernacular language and understand the underlying message and sentiment of those words.
6) Connect the bot to the messaging app.
Many of the resources already discussed, will allow you to do this within the same platform you used to build the bot. But before you commit to those options, make sure you do thorough research to make sure you won’t be expected to pay any fees to the platform in the case that your bot sees a high level of success.
There are a few open source and free tools available in the market like Recast.ai Bot Connector.
7) Test and train with a beta group.
A beta group should be formed to test the bot before it is launched for public consumption. That can be internal or external, your own colleagues or outside community of testers.
a) Reddit –The beta testing group on Reddit, known as TestMyApp subreddit allows developers to post apps and invite users to try out and review them.
b) Betalist – It has a pool of qualified testers and active community. You can submit your app to Betalist and get seen by the site’s community of enthusiastic users who want to discover new apps.
8) Promote your chatbot.
Once your chatbot has been thoroughly QA’d and de-bugged, it’s time to release it to the public and promote it. You can create a profile on BotList and update the community with fun facts, info, and offers related to your chatbot.
9) Create a dedicated, SEO-friendly landing page.
A dedicated, central page should be created to explain the purpose, features, and where to find/install your chatbot.
Problems to keep in mind
There are a few big challenges that chatbots have to overcome. i.e. accuracy and empathy.
- a) Customer connection
Your chatbot should be able to interact with customers in a normal, human like way and respond to what they want. A chatbot is an integral part of your business and should be taken seriously.
- b) Customer Engagement and retention
The second big challenge the business owners face is to maintain a good retention rate. An improperly developed chatbot will be unable to interact with customers, they would get frustrated and close the chat.
Improve your chatbot
Apart from deciding on new strategies and software, a business owner can assess and decide how to improve their chatbot by going through the program’s analytics.
- Review analytics.
Analytics can tell how your chatbot is performing. Review analytics and look for the user drop-off points and what’s causing them.
Analytics help you to monitor the good and bad areas of your chatbot.
- Know your audience.
The key difference between an effective and ineffective chatbot is proper knowledge of your audience, how you communicate with them and understand what they need from your business. Ideally, chatbots target a specific audience and provide necessary information to them.
- Focus on being conversational.
The way we speak, write and message each other is very different. This is one of the toughest things a bot has to encounter and overcome when they try to understand and respond to a user.
To avoid this, set up a realistic expectation with your customers either directly or indirectly at the start of the conversation.
- Use auto-response buttons.
By using buttons, users can interact with your bot in standard way. This make things easier for your chatbot and the user can get the information they need in the quickest, most efficient way.
- Give your bot a character.
Give your chatbot a unique image and stick onto it. The idea of giving a singular personality to your chatbot, is to give a certain feel to your customers, leading to conversations that aren’t mechanical.
Chatbots have the potential to be very favorable to your business and brand if they are created and maintained properly. An effective chatbot can be created for your business if you emphasize on human interaction and strive for accuracy.
With the latest statistics in hand, we can clearly state that chatbots are here to stay and they will be playing more critical roles in the digital marketing scene.