The chatbot is a marketing and customer service technology that comes of age in 2018, after a couple of years of learning the ropes through company tests and trials. But, how can businesses, new and experienced in bots, take advantage of them in a world where apps, social media and other trends like AR are eating into budgets?
So far, in most cases, chatbot rollouts have been very pointed and focused on a limited set of customers or based on a limited offer or experience. Even major brands like British Airways have restricted use to trials of an emoji-based chatbot for special seasonal offers, while Mall of America recently tried to help customers through the festive crush with AI-based directions and recommendations.
In Asia, the landscape is more advanced with Indian, Chinese and South Korean airlines, banks and other companies rolling out full customer-service chatbots to meet their massive user bases and help take some of the load. As western rollouts start to reach the scale and ambition of Asian efforts, bot builders need to remember the aim of the bot is a simple yet engaging conversation.
Whatever the effort so far, there is enough data for companies to develop a plan and strategy, but even if your company is planning a first chatbot, this guide covers all the bases.
What do you need from a chatbot? How will your customers benefit from one? These are the key questions that need to be answered before even thinking about the detail. Take the time to define what sort of conversation you want your chatbot to have. If early experiments proved successful, then expand the scope of the chatbot to add new layers of questions, deeper information access and equip it to answer more complex questions. If the tests generated poor customer feedback, ask if the test was well-defined. Perhaps starting again will be a better option. If the bot was considered an outright failure, future efforts may prove more fruitful in the hands of another team.
To many data-focused companies, users simply account numbers or email addresses. Chatbots help you find out more about them, and the type of information they need. If you haven’t run a test look at other competitors in your market and see what they have done with chatbots to find out what sort of questions your chatbot might ask. Existing bots and chatbot libraries, like SnatchBot’s Bot Directory provide a useful starting point for those embarking on their bot journey. From health to hospitality, retail to eateries, there are plenty of well-defined examples you can use as a launchpad.
Write down the questions you want to ask, and that users need answers to. Order them on paper (or on a spreadsheet) by priority or category to create a script. This is how most chatbots work, and you can build a tree based on yes/no or more complex answers to come up with a useful product relevant to your business needs. Smaller businesses with simple needs can build the example live into the chatbot editor, creating the branches as they go. However, every word and line needs to be seriously considered for usefulness, impact and helpfulness. Chatbots need to be clear and to the point.