August 21, 2019
AI and AI-based solutions penetrate all the spheres of our life and business at present in various forms.
Chatbots are the most popular trend and technology of the contemporaneity which really opened up due to the Artificial Technology development.
Chatbots and the place they occupy in the modern world
Chatbots are auto communication systems, either rule-based or intelligent ones. The intelligent bots are quite sophisticated, being a combination of machine learning, AI, and technologies of voice and image recognition.
Chatbots assist users in booking, shopping, search of goods, services, and even jobs, communicating in real language, through sites, mobile applications, phones, and multiple chatbot platforms.
Chatbot development - the future of customer service
Bots influence every modern production and sphere. They are used to improve the industrial process as well as for supply chain management. Still, the greatest influence they have on customer service, having totally transformed it.
The technology has many advantages - accessibility 24/7 for the consumers, the possibility to simulate humans and to provide personalized service, as well as being cheap and simple in implementation, operation, and maintenance.
Let’s deal with some benefits of chatbots in more detail.
Consumers use multiple platforms and channels for purchasing goods and services: email, messengers, marketplaces, social networks, forums, etc. To deliver modern customers the cutting edge service a marketer should be present everywhere and be ready to make personalized offers. Chatbots are perfect in providing audience engagement across various platforms. Find a bit of technical details below.
The most popular platforms for gaining customers and consequently bots usage are Facebook, Telegram and Skype. When a chatbot is developed, Facebook app is created and a separate page for the bot, so the admin rights should be provided to the software developer doing work for you.
Things are more simple with telegram, one only needs an API token to generate and apply with a bot source code to launch it. Preliminary testing can be realized with developer’s own token.
With Skype, the chatbots are integrated through Microsoft Azure, thus the settings are provided to the bot-owner in the Azure interface.
The cases when a client needs several separate projects for bot creation, Microsoft Bot Framework is of use. Besides multiple owners-administrators are allowed here.
So bots can be integrated into a site or a mobile app in various ways, but anyway they save your clients' time and allow them to turn for assistance at any time without even leaving the messaging applications they use. Besides, bots are quick to respond and communicate only essentials.
The advances in technology have already allowed chatbots to lead the human-like conversations, they can analyze the context and deal with complex queries. NLP and big data analytics have brought customer experience to a new level and much more opportunities are open every day. Some brand bots are assigned a personality and a voice which makes customer - brand relations stronger.
Human staff needs rest and with chatbots customer queries can be processed round the clock, not only during the business hours.
More than that, bots are more accurate and quick in transmitting tickets to the right specialist, while it takes the time of live operators.
While the bots accomplish simple monotonous tasks, the live staff is released from routine. Human agents can then focus on complex issues, which demand creativity and analysis. Chatbots speed up the overall efficiency of the processes due to their promptness, ability to handle conversations from various platforms and manifold actions performed in a short time. Besides, their features can always be extended whenever there is a need or opportunity.
Kik and Messenger are the most popular chatbot platforms. According to Venture Beat, there were 300000 chatbots on Facebook Messenger in 2018. It's 10 times more than after the launch of the feature in 2016. To gain new clients companies just need to be active on these platforms.
Due to the possibility to interact with the users through voice, bots can be used to reach out to new internet users. Chatbots have already undergone an astonishing transformation from being a tool for fun to a powerful means of facilitating the communication of tomorrow.
Now you realize that chatbots used for customer service automation can outcome in better customer engagement, higher conversion rates, and broader clients reach, and definitely, want to know how to make a bot program for your business.
How to build your own AI and a Chatbot
There are two ways: to create a tool from scratch or customize an existing solution. However, the initial steps should be similar:
Before chatbot creation, the business owner should figure out how to apply the technology best. The types of work, which should be optimized through AI solution should be considered from work and data complexity aspect and defined. The major bot activity models are efficiency, expertize, effectiveness and innovation.
It’s essential to know the pains of the client and to make clear what tasks should be solved by a bot. As soon as you know the answer the designer will be able to create conversations meant to meet the end goals effectively.
The work of bots is based on the articles and material you have in your help center. That's why the content should be properly written, up to date, easy to understand and helpful. The first step in the chatbot development process should be creating a state-of-art knowledge base.
Any bot and AI works within the frames of the processes already adjusted. There is no use to put in place a new system while your existing procedures are chaotic. To avoid mess carefully think your customer service over before automation and make sure it works perfectly.
Aspects to consider here are the following:
Make authorization and verification procedures easy for bot’s smooth operation.
To track the success of any tool and strategy, one needs to comprehend the metrics he or she can measure success in. Revise the metrics you have or set the new ones before interactive assistant implementation. It will prevent you from running blind.
The major metrics should deal with customer satisfaction aspects. You may compare the number of incoming inquiries and client revenue based activities (orders, purchases, cancellations, etc).
There are minimum 15 powerful platforms for chatbot creation. Some of them are Chatfuel (gathers information in Messenger,) Botsify (allows Smart AI, machine learning and analytics integration and easily integrated via plugins), Flow XO (boasts over a hundred integrations and visual editor easy-to-use), Motion AI (allows visual building, training, and deploying chatbots on Facebook Messenger, Slack, Smooch, or a website).
It should be noted that while the code-based services like Microsoft bot frameworks, wit.ai, api.ai, IBM’s Watson are intended for developers, bot building enthusiasts who lack professional skills can use Chatfuel, texit.in, octane AI and motion.ai.
As most of the technical details are left behind, the conversation should be designed for a chatbot, flow and scripting included here. Decide want a bot will to do, what content will it provide, which questions answer and actions take. It’s essential to understand what the users may want from it and what might an audience ask.
A diagramming, mind mapping or a visual tool, will be helpful to map the outflow of your bot conversation. Use Lucidchart or XMind for the purpose of making a script foundation with all possible conversation scenarios.
Besides there are 3 major components AI chatbot should define and interpret Context (where the user is and what his or her profile is), entities (what the topic of conversation is), and intent (what he wants to do).
To parse inputs and plan the bot answers Natural language processing system is necessary, because it takes all 3 variables into consideration. Finally, make careful scripting defining how your bot interacts with the audience.
Creating a chatbot with personality will determine the way your customers treat your brand. Clarify when a client communicates with AI, and when he speaks with a human for the right expectations to be set in and proper engagement guaranteed. Check the script as if you were a consumer and make sure it contains all the necessary info.
Think about the voice of your brand and provide it to your chatbot. The consumers will then realize they deal with the company they trust.
Though the technology behind chatbots development may seem easily available, testing is vital as the development stage.
Here testing tools and ready-made solutions may come handy: Botium – or Selenium - free, open source tools providing QA. They go ground-up: from the API, through UI, and finishing with actual conversations. This solution is able to train bots in human mistakes comprehension.
TestMyBot is also an open source library possible to be used for free, however it requires Docker and supports Node.js.
There is a host of services which can test chatbots’ performance against potential users, like Botsociety, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Testbirds, or other crowd testing platforms, but you should keep in mind the main metrics to track - effectiveness of onboarding, understanding complex requests and typos, being good at things remembering and consistency of personality.
Born in the eon of IoT and smartphones the technology of chatbots has a bright future. Combined with other technologies, like machine learning, NLP, AI, and RPA, bots become capable to solve a variety of business tasks. More than that their activity enables better business decisions, provides operational support and reduces costs.
To become one in 80% of the organizations using chatbots by 2020, you should decide how to start with the technology, what steps to take and when. It’s better to be prompt with the decision since chatbot development goes at a fast pace. A good idea is to turn for the advice of professional developers. It will help you to ensure your bot will be a state of art solution for any client.
The following practice-based guidelines will serve for you and your company as great shortcuts for your innovative product development and your company growth.
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