Customer service experience is one of the factors gaining increasing importance in the past few years to dictate a user’s inclination of one business over another. With that as the base and the ever-increasing technological dependency of users, Chatbots are becoming the perfect platforms to resolve, improve, increase, and sustain customer experiences through any hour of the day.
Having become an essential conversation medium, Chatbots are being eagerly employed by businesses to become accessible to customers in an enticingly new, increasingly beneficial channel. If you are a business considering this channel for communication with your customers, we are sure you’re riddled with questions that seem to be one too many. How should we build our chatbot? What is the technical experience required? Should we build our chatbot from scratch? How can we harness Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing capabilities?
We’re here to help you with exactly that knowledge.
Before we can understand how to build chatbots, we need to understand the different types of chatbots present and which one is relevant for our business.
The Hype, The Downfall, The Growth:
When Facebook brought the messenger chatbot platform out into the world, the great benefits from chatbots held high expectations of increased sales, conversion rates, engagement rates, and more. With increased mentions and press releases everywhere, the hope spoke loud that Chatbots could be the next big disruptive technology. Facebook launched its own personal assistant, M, that created a great hype which eventually died down as human executives had to take over about 70% of the questions. The attempt with M was to automate all of its activities, however, the automation ability of M could only be taken up as high as 30%.
In addition to this, chatbots tended to make simple tasks like being able to find a recipe or finding some instruction a much longer and sometimes difficult process than it earlier was adding frustration into the chatbot experience. Most chatbots, having started off in specific industries had no data at this point that could be processed in high quantity to understand the flow of human language. With the lack of technology to support understanding context and complex queries, the chatbot hype slowly started to fade to the point where any talk of chatbots reached a deafening silence.
However, with the advances in Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies, several industries have harnessed the lessons from these very failures in the past and improved them over time leading way to great Chatbot success story examples. Right from customer service bots to greatly-abled virtual assistants, Chatbot adoption is seeing an increased growth from 2016, today. Chatbots have quietly seeped into the technological normalcy of the day and made their space deemed essential in the last few years.
So what were the mistakes that wrote doom in the fate of Chatbot’s future and what helped them rise through?
Different types of Chatbots:
1. Rule-based Chatbots: A predefined hierarchy of rules are manually defined by the creator. The rules can vary from being simple to complex.
Working with a diverging focus with the aim of reducing human intervention ultimately only creates the need for additional intervention added into the process causing resource waste. In addition to this, a combination of over-hyped expectations and insufficient NLP ability added to the mix of a vague use case structure leads to failure in answering even simple questions leading to extremely unsatisfactory outcomes.
2. Artificial Intelligence (AI-Chatbots): Most conversational chatbots use artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to understand user input and their intents to draft responses that are personal and fitting to the context. AI-enabled chatbots provide space for the user to take over the conversation and control its direction to provide a more natural conversational experience in the chat.
3. Hybrid Chatbots: These chatbots make the best of both worlds by using a combination of rule-based and Artificial intelligence technologies.
Different ways of building a Chatbot:
When building from scratch, chatbot building platforms house the chatbots. Code-based frameworks provide various database and analytics tools, and AI & NLP capabilities that help in customizing the chatbot as required. It is clear that while using these platforms to build a chatbot from scratch, one would need to have a clear grasp of multiple programming languages.
The best chatbot building platforms for IBM Watson, Azure Bot Service, Amazon Lex, Chatfuel, TARS, Verloop, etc. The best code-based frameworks for chatbot development are Microsoft bot framework, Wit.ai, and API.ai. Chatbots built from scratch can be customized to accommodate any requirement that the business needs.
Chatbot creation software provides users with no coding knowledge to build chatbots through simple instructions. The process is usually clearly explained through chatbot tutorial videos present on their platforms. Many example templates are also readily available on these platforms to create and launch chatbots with less time and financial investment.
Based on the business, the number of visitors, and other requirements, some of these platforms also provide companies with the option to employ one of their agents to build a chatbot solution for them. Most of these platforms don’t require code from the business’s end, however, some platforms could be low-code. Chatbots built through these platforms usually provide a mix of NLP capabilities and pre-planned responses.
Facebook messenger bots have been employed by companies, big and small, regardless of the size as it is one of the most popular social media channels and can provide a great spotlight for business. An entire page is dedicated to developers who would like to build chatbots on Facebook and host them on Messenger. Non-developers can also make use of these pages as the process is explained in quite detail with clear steps. However, non-developers might have to pick up a little code through the chatbot development process.
- Understand your need:
- Price & Time:
- ML & NLP Capabilities:
- Human Hand-off:
- Security & Analytics:
How to decide on the right fit for you?
Your chatbot needs can be extremely simple and take only a few resources to build; it can be for a complex business model and need great data-processing abilities, or it can be a simple chatbot with scope to grow and may need the space to be scaled any day now.
There are infinite possibilities for the customization of chatbots that fit various businesses. Based on the customers you cater to, the kind of function your chatbot needs to automate or perform, the kind of people and resources in your team, your choice might vary vastly. To help you find a clear picture, here are some directions you can venture your thoughts in:
Your need would comprise a clear understanding of the start and endpoints of your chatbot – the ideal journey you would like your users to take. If it can be fulfilled through limited options, pre-planned rules and that is the only purpose you’re looking to draw from it, then a simple chatbot should suffice your business’s needs.
However, if you are looking to eventually scale your business, or already have a complicated business model that caters to a wide range of growing audience, well-made chatbots act as additional channels that bring in benefits to every department in your company.
Chatbots establish your brand’s voice on your website and social media channels; they speak for your brand through well-crafted dialogues and are available for your users when your employees can’t. In addition to that, chatbots provide insights on how your customers communicate with you, provide you with new prospects, and leave no stone unturned in delivering great customer service.
In addition to drafting the basic requirements out of your chatbot, you might also want to try and understand where you fall on the scale of growth that you can utilize through this chatbot channel.
Here’s some added detail: Benefits of establishing communication through Chatbots
Determine the time and resources that you can contribute to this project. An efficient chatbot prototype with complicated requirements can take time. The process of building a chatbot is the most important stage in the chatbot development process as most of the technical input from the developers is inculcated in this process. If there is an immediate requirement or a short timeline for automating simple tasks, many popular messaging platforms like Facebook’s messenger and others provide low-code and no-code chatbot development options.
Based on the services they wish to provide through this channel and their complexity, companies can make their choice on pricing, time, and resources to be invested.
This requirement is a clear differentiator that can help you decide many factors of the development process based on the needs that the chatbot aims to fulfill.Given the chatbots act as channels for user retention, customer service, and lead generation, they should be capable of being able to have efficient, productive conversations with people. The chatbot should understand the context and create a great user experience throughout the chat which is not possible through simple rule-based chatbots. Machine Learning algorithms, Artificial intelligence, and Natural Language Processing capabilities require a clear understanding of several programming languages and dedicated personnel.
One of the most important features that chatbots provide their businesses with is the ability to connect with other platforms to derive multiple benefits through this one channel. Whether businesses need to connect to external reporting tools, retail platforms, other messaging channels, or messaging platforms like email, each chatbot demands unique services and tools, and thereby the potential to effortlessly hold multiple integrations. Several off-the-shelf chatbots, or chatbot development platforms have restrictions over the possibility and number of restrictions that may run them out of the race.
Chatbots, at the end of the day, are not all-knowing virtual agents. At some point, the user will hit the bot’s limitations, and when that happens, how the business chooses to handle the situation can make all the difference between having an abandoned, angry customer and a satisfied, loyal customer. Several chatbot development platforms don’t allow for hand-off to customer service agents and the lack of this much-needed feature could be a potential roadblock.
Chatbots are, in essence, channels of communication that can streamline customer concerns and help companies resolve them in a more organized manner. Whatever the customer concern the business is looking at maybe, if the user can’t reach the chatbot, is not able to use this product as it was designed, or the content is misguiding, all the effort the companies put into building the chatbot and the time the user spend through the chat would all be in vain.
Accessibility for users is important and whichever platform the business is using to build their chatbot should be accountable and accessible to the companies it caters to, for any issues ranging from defective buttons to chatbot mishaps. Having this service at hand and being able to trust it must form a big part of your decision.
Any platform or service you choose to build your chatbot should be able to promise and ascertain the security of the data exchange between you and your users. That is of utmost priority.
In addition to that, analytics of all the conversations should be available to the businesses so that they can train the bot better and improve it with time. Analyzing the number of messages, and negative responses are of great importance for improving a chatbot from its starting stage. It should be kept in mind that most of the off-the-shelf chatbot development models provide generic analytics data. The greater the need for custom analytics, the more you might find yourself moving towards the development of a custom chatbot.
Build from Scratch vs. Off-the-shelf?
As the components and functionality of a chatbot increases, the ease of finding a ready-made template to fit all its needs reduces. The chatbot creation process without a doubt needs to be led by someone with clear knowledge on the subject with its scalability for the future in mind. While Intelligent chatbots do create a great user experience, require capable chatbot builders to handle their functionalities and attend to mishaps when they do happen.Custom chatbots provide companies with the luxury of being able to draw out of this channel exactly what they need. Customization allows for easy scaling, and also the addition of new features with time. Any business can benefit from a well-designed and executed custom chatbot created from scratch particularly to fit their needs. Chatbots are communication channels that are going to become increasingly common in the time to come. As such, investing in custom-built chatbots seems to be a wise decision to conquer the market in the time to come. However, off-the-shelf chatbots and chatbots designed through chatbot development platforms can also be useful.
As each development platform has its own features, pricing models, and constraints, here are some pitfalls you might want to keep in mind and actively avoid based on your needs:
- Conversation limitations with high user influx
- Bad UI/UX and a difficult interface that confuses the users
- The steep learning curve for the chatbot building process
- Increasing or consistent expenditure for less control over chatbot features
- Integration limitations that don’t allow your current marketing tech stack to integrate seamlessly with your existing workflows.
- Non-customized, generic reporting that doesn’t contribute to chatbot development
- Reduced speed when there is a lot of data influx
- Channel Limitations
- Lack of technical documentation and proper channels to seek help
Here’s a tip: How to plan great chatbot conversations?
Having catered to multiple businesses in building extensive chatbots, Right Angle Solutions holds great expertise with different frameworks (such as Microsoft Bot Framework and DialogFlow), NLP, and AI technologies (like RASA, Microsoft LUIS, and Google Dialog Flow). With a multi-channel presence and multi-domain expertise, Right Angle Solutions understands and places your needs and requirements at the center of the chatbot development process and enhances it.
We have worked with multiple government organizations and high-security projects and place the utmost priority on making sure that every part of the development process ensures privacy and data security. All communications that flow through the channels designed by us are end-to-end encrypted, safeguarding the privacy your customers trust you with.
With over 15 years of experience in business intelligence, we make sure to customize the best analytics possible to contribute to the growth of both the chatbot and your business. Harnessing the latest business intelligence tools and our analytics expertise, we provide custom analytics and support that helps in improving your Chatbot’s user experience at regular intervals. Chatbots designed by Right Angle Solutions provide the means for growth through every conversation and create lasting connections.
To understand how we can build a custom chatbot that fits your needs and requirements, Reach Out to Us!