Step-by-step Checklist to Build the Right Chatbot for Your Business

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85% of customer interaction will be managed without humans by the year 2021, statistics from a report by Gartner state.

It means Chatbots can be a fantastic addition to your business, especially at this time when they will play a crucial role in business operations, customer interaction, and enterprise management.

Chatbots will not only save time and resources by automating repetitive tasks but also improve customer experience and help your business grow by gathering crucial customer insights.

The best thing us that you can even create one easily. However, one of the biggest obstacles will be not knowing where you should start and what you should keep in mind.

8 Importance Things to Keep in Mind While Building a Chatbot

The last thing you would want is to spend days building a chatbot that is not beneficial for your business at all, and it is most likely to happen when you do not have anyone to guide you.

That is why I am here with this step-by-step chatbot building checklist in which I will guide you through some trivial yet crucial things that you should be aware of while building a chatbot.

It will help you build the right chatbot for your business that does what you want and gives your customers the information they need. Let’s begin:

1. Define the Purpose of Your Chatbot

Building the right chatbot for your business is impossible unless you know for who you are building it and why you are building it. Hence, defining the purpose of your chatbot should be the first step towards building it.

You should ask yourself why you are building the chatbot: For improving your customer service? For driving sales? Or for branding and marketing purposes? Only if your goal is clear, you can create a chatbot that helps you in achieving what you want.

Here is what you should do to define the purpose of your chatbot:

  • Instead of tacking too much too early, break your purpose into specific domains.
  • Start with minimum viable knowledge (MVK) of your chatbot. Focus on piece of domain knowledge first and then expand as your advance further.
  • Link your chatbot’s domain and purpose so that they evolve together.

Defining your chatbot’s purpose this way will help you know how much knowledge and training you need to give to your chatbot so that it fulfills your business purpose.

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2. Define Your Chatbot’s Personality

A chatbot is right for your business if helps your clients do what they want and gives them the information they need.

That is why you need to work on the personality of your chatbot and decide how it will interact with your clients.

Here are a few questions that you need to ask during this phase:

  • What tone your chatbot will take? Will it have a name? Will it have a story?
  • What will be your chatbot’s type? Will it be rule/based or AI-based?
  • How will your chatbot address your clients?
  • Will it be funny and quick-witted or have a formal approach?

Once you have answers to all these questions and decided what type of personality you want for your chatbot, make sure you stick to that style and tone. Customers will rely on the chatbot only if it is consistent throughout the user interaction. Otherwise, they will find it difficult to trust the chatbot.

3. Select the Channel on Which You Want to Build Your Chatbot

The next step is to choose the channel on which you want to build your chatbot. It is essential because chatbot features differ from platform to platform. Also, it will be the first question chatbot builders will ask when you will attempt to build a chatbot on them.

There are many channels on which you can build a chatbot, such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, Slack, Instagram, Google Assistant, Alexa, or even your website. Choose the one where you think it will benefit you the most.

In case you are wondering how to choose the right channel for building your chatbot, this cheat sheet can help.

4. Choose the Technology Stack for Building Your Chatbot

Once you have discovered the purpose of your chatbot, defined the chatbot personality, and decided on which channel you want to build it — you need to choose the technology stack for your chatbot.

There are many ways you can build a chatbot like:

  • Using chatbot-building frameworks
  • Hiring chatbot developers
  • Using chatbot-building platforms

Your choice will depend on your requirement, the features you want in your chatbot, the channels it supports, and how advanced technology it is using.

5. Design the Conversation

Designing the chatbot conversation flow will be the next step after selecting the technology stack. It is an essential step because this is how your chatbot will communicate with the user.

The process of designing the conversation flow is easy if you are using a DIY platform for chatbot development. You only need to drag and drop the reply options.

But if you are developing the chatbot on a framework to customize it as per your requirement, hiring a team of chatbot development experts will be much better.

Here are some other things you should keep in mind during this phase:

  • Do not skip the introduction part because you cannot expect customers to share their details right away.
  • Keep your messages short and to the point.
  • Directly explain to your customers what you can do and what you cannot.
  • Do not slip into a monologue. You should not send more than three messages in a row.
  • Leverage emojis, GIFs, and videos if you can. Customers feel connected to them.
  • Do not of beat around the bush. Ask straightforward questions, instead.
  • Allow customers to support their answers with file attachments or links. The conversation will feel more personal to them this way.

I would also recommend you read the messages loud before finalize them in your chatbot conversation. This will help you decide what part of conversation you should keep and what you should chuck out.

6. Personalize the Chatbot Experience

The key to every successful chatbot is a conversation that keeps customers hooked, and it is possible only if we personalize the user experience in conversation with the chatbot as per their requirements.

Here are a few ways to do so:

  • Use the first name of your customers. They will feel more connected.
  • Adjust the tone of the conversation as per your business needs and the identity you are representing through your chatbot.
  • Focus on customer pain points and try to address them as much as you can.
  • Give your customers the choice to check and correct the information they are submitting.
  • Use keyword triggers in your chatbot conversation so that users find it easy to communicate.
  • Integrate the chatbot with systems that you are using for customer relationship management and enterprise resource planning purpose (CRM or ERP software) so that you leverage it in the future.
  • Guide users across throughout the conversation. You need to understand that chatbots are not an all-intelligent AI that uses machine learning to extract information from users. Instead, they rely on user engagement to drive the information forward.
  • Save the information so that you do not have to ask your potential customers again and again. You can also use this collected data for remarketing purposes.

7. Test Your Chatbot for Potential Issues

Just building the chatbot will not be enough. You also need to ensure it is helping your customers, and the only for doing that is to test your chatbot for various scenarios.

Here are a few questions that you need to ask in this phase:

  • Is the chatbot using correct spellings?
  • Does the conversation flow seem natural?
  • Are there any loose ends?
  • Are your messages appearing overwhelming to read?
  • Are all the buttons, dialogues, or widgets working properly?
  • Is your chatbot integrated into your entire infrastructure if you are using a CRM, ERP, or other software systems?

Only if you can find satisfactory answers to all these questions and you are satisfied that your chatbot is working properly, deploy it.

8. Analyze and Evolve

Your job for building a chatbot does not end with deployment. Instead, you reach the most critical stage in which you have to see if your chatbot is solving the purpose it was made for.

Here are different ways of doing that:

  • Tracking analytics to see how many people are engaging with it.
  • Checking your chatbot from time to time for loose ends and see if there is any scope for improvement.
  • Refine the conversation flow to improve user experience.

You need to understand that your journey will never end when you build a chatbot for your business. Instead, you will have to keep looking for ways to engage your customers. It is the only way to thrive in the changing market and the rising competition.

***

These are a few essential things you should keep in mind while building a chatbot for your business. Even if they appear trivial, these little steps can make a huge difference and help you develop a powerful chatbot.

Rest, it is all about implementing these things practically. So, take these things into account while developing the chatbot and see the difference.

Do not forget to share your experience with us!

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Step-by-step Checklist to Build the Right Chatbot for Your Business was originally published in Chatbots Life on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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