Artificial Intelligence is now at the forefront of all human activities. This is especially true when it comes to the Business world.
Nowadays, with the vast technological progress ushered during the Digital Era, Businesses need to constantly evolve and adopt newer trends in order to succeed and generate sustainable revenues.
As a result, organizations must leverage artificial intelligence to dramatically change the way they engage and interact with customers.
Implementing chatbots to their business MO is part of that solution.
Technically speaking, chatbots are not a recent creation. The first natural language processing computer was created in 1966 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Artificial Language Laboratory, and was dubbed the ELIZA.
Fast forward six decades, companies are able to provide instant two-way conversations on a large scale through chatbots.
Thus, it is imperative to ask the following questions: What are chatbots? What is the process used for developing and implementing Chatbots?
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What are Chatbots?
In essence, a Chatbot is a computer program that impersonates human conversations in its natural format.
There are two main formats of Chatbots:
Therefore, a Chatbot is essentially a conversational experience that mimics interactions and conversations with real people in both written and voice format.
Most Chatbots are question-answering computer systems which are capable of understanding user questions and replying to them with an answer. These Chatbots are known as Q&A Chatbots.
Chatbots streamline interactions between a company and its customers. They solve customer queries, improve communication and allow for remote troubleshooting to enhance customer experience. Last but not least, they save costs in terms of hiring employees for traditionally driven tasks.
What is the Process Used for Developing and Implementing Chatbots?
As far as businesses are concerned, apart from the fact that chatbots should be readily available, they must be accessible across a vast array of channels and integrated with the company’s business systems.
Generally speaking, your business must establish a digital presence at all costs. You can opt to add a chatbot to your website, and then take it to the next step.
There are 4 stages that form the entire Chatbot development process:
The first of 4 stages of the chatbot design process is the conceptualization stage. Your company should first conceptualize, or define the goals for the Chatbot based on your business requirements and your customers’ demands. When you know what your chatbot should and would do, developing, deploying and managing the chatbot becomes an easier task.
Your business should decide which Communication Channel it should use. Chatbots are flexible enough to integrate with various types of texting platforms.
Depending upon your business needs, the ease of customers to reach you, and the API used by the desired chatbot, you must choose a suitable communication channel.
The main objective of developing chatbots is to optimize customer service. In that respect, your business must give the chatbot a distinct persona. For example, giving the Chatbot a name, choose between designing it to either be serious or be more casual and playful.
It is important in terms of setting the tone for how customers will interact with the Chatbot. As a matter or priority, your business should ensure that these interactions are not only consistent, but also aligned with your brand identity.
For instance, you can decide to build a chatbot from scratch for your business’ website or mobile application. You can also decide to integrate your chatbot with Facebook Messenger, Telegram, WhatsApp or any other messaging application, and even with standard SMS channels.
Regarding the 4 stages, your business cannot conceptualize a chatbot without opting to develop it. Conceptualization and development practically go hand-in-hand. The chatbot design process and implementing the first of the 4 stages’ general concepts occur here.
As a general rule of thumb, in terms of harnessing Artificial Intelligence and developing an automated workflow, it is preferable that both formats be used. A single task bot is not a feasible option, whether it’s a text-based chatbot, or a natural language chatbot.
To establish a seamless chatbot process flow, multifunctionality is of paramount importance as it enables your business to track and optimize multiple features at once.
Regarding the textual chatbot format, your business can design the conversation of the chatbot. A simple Informational or Advisory chatbot is just enough to provide immediate assistance to the customers.
For example, these bots can employ FAQ-styled messages. As a result, your business needs to develop a conversational style that covers all the possible questions your customers may ask.
Apart from writing standard messages, your business should also envision and create a storyboard, alongside a dialogue flow for the bot, regardless of the format. Without taking these necessary steps, implementing a smooth, seamless chat with a user is simply not viable.
For text-based chatbots, this includes designing different variations of a message that have a similar meaning. Doing so will help the bot communicate in a smooth and seamless manner even when it has to say the same thing repeatedly.
As far as spoken and voice-assisted chatbots are concerned, they require a more sophisticated conversational architecture. They require the implantation of Machine Learning technology and Natural Language Processing tools to improve the conversation between the customer and the Chatbot.
The next step in the Development process lies in the development of a knowledge base. The knowledgebase constitutes the backbone of any chatbot regardless of its format. A knowledge base is where a Chatbot finds the resources it needs to make an autonomous decision.
The knowledge base should be integrated with all the available apps or services that include the information required by the customers.
The next step in the development process is Data Collection. The quintessential purpose of creating a Chatbot is to ensure smooth communication with customers. As a result, the program must be trained to appropriately respond to every incoming query on behalf of the customers.
Collecting all the conversations and integrating the stored chats with the Bot will go a long way to eventually help the program recognize the context of different future queries.
Next, your business must also select a Development Platform. Numerous Chatbot Development Tools nowadays are available that create smart chatbots within a relatively quick timeframe. These tools employ Nature Language Processing to enable the creation of chatbots according to specific business requirements.
These tools do not require a coding background from your business.
These tools include, but are not limited to, the following
On the other, if your business intends to create and code its own Chatbot from scratch, there is a myriad of Chatbot development frameworks available, such as:
At this stage of the Chatbot development process, your business must implement the aforementioned dialogue flow by creating classifiers. From a practical standpoint, classifiers will enable the chatbot program to decipher an incoming query, analyze the context, fetch a response and reply according to the conversational architecture.
This next step of the chatbot process flow is very crucial. Real-time testing and deployment occur at this stage. These two elements go together since your business can only test the chatbot in real-time as it is deployed for real users.
As the chatbot process flow unfolds, your business should assess whether the chatbot is capable of meeting your customers’ needs or not, and answer their questions as adequately as possible.
In that regard, make sure to monitor the entire conversation, gather and analyze the data and create a specialized database that stores the conversations before the chatbot is rolled out.
The final step of the entire roadmap of implementing a chatbot is managing it. This is where the 4 stages come full circle. The chatbot process flow is incomplete without constant management and supervision of the chatbot service after its deployment. If your business resorts to just conceptualize, develop and deploy a chatbot, it should also manage it as well. Without proper long-term management, a chatbot is not a feasible option from an economic and marketing standpoint.
Your business should instill metrics based on three key questions that assess the chatbot development process throughout the 4 stages:
- Did the customers enjoy the Chatbot experience?
- Is the chatbot knowledge base improving over time?
- Is your business able to efficiently enlist interactions resulting from the whole experience?
In order to effectively answer those questions, it would be preferable to create a dashboard and review the chatbot’s performance on a weekly basis with the specialized team to quantify the performance and identify relevant changes.
Chatbot services are at the heart of AI symbiosis with the business world. Customers today are more educated and are more prudent in terms of making purchasing decisions. They have higher expectations, and a lower tolerance threshold.
All in all, a Chatbot solution implemented in 4 stages can help your business meet their expectations. Regarding the chatbot development process, not every enterprise has the time or the financial resources to implement a Chatbot service that is exactly tailored to their business needs in a short timeframe.
At aChatbotAgency.com, we offer a comprehensive development service, implementing a seamless chatbot process flow through 4 stages. We consider it our mission to assist enterprises in streamlining the way they interact with customers.
We will ensure that a fully-functioning, highly-functional chatbot is conceived within the aforementioned 4 stages. Regarding the chatbot design process, we will contact your business and seek your input during each of the 4 stages: In other words, we will conceptualize, develop, deploy and manage a chatbot, and your business will have the final say throughout the chatbot development process.