Have you ever interacted with Siri, Apple’s product? If not, you still might have heard of it for sure. If yes, then you probably were amused by a conversation with it. Apple, however, chooses an exciting way of communication using the power of chatbots. Also, tech giants like Google and Microsoft are the first ones who have already implemented these virtual assistants into their business processes.
Chatbot development has been known as one of the biggest web development trends of 2023. Although chatbots have been around for several years, their potential is still unfolding.
We interact with these chatbots day in and day out. These little virtual assistants can perform any tasks quickly they take on — from reducing tedious tasks to offering smooth customer services, saving time and money, targeted marketing, and much more. Besides these amazing benefits, the best thing about them is: they are not overly chatty, unlike some humans.
AI-Powered Chatbots: How Do They Work?
The simplest way of defining a chatbot would be software that can have intelligent conversations with humans. Since they are based on Natural language processing (NLP) and Audio analysis, they behave and converse more like humans — understand the user intent, process their requests, and give relevant responses.
They are designed to interact via text as well as voice in a chat interface. Chatbots can be deployed across various apps, websites, and messengers like Whatsapp, Twitter, or Facebook Messenger.
Since the chatbot’s outset, every industry is now leveraging its power to improve its customer services, market the brand and even sell products. The more they understand and respond like a human, the more valuable they are to brands.
Types of Chatbots
Chatbot technology doesn’t work on the “one size fits all” rule. As every business is unique, so does its chatbots. Three different types of chatbots are:
Most commonly used chatbots in the industry, rule-based chatbots work on predefined conversations. The users get preset questions and answers when they enter the chat interface. For instance, the bots respond in YES or NO or respond to queries having already defined keywords.
If a user asks any question out of preset ones, the bot won’t be able to answer it, however.
AI-powered chatbots are more intelligent. They understand the user intent and answer accordingly. Therefore, users can chat and get answers to their queries more naturally. These bots constantly learn from conversations between them and users, enabling them to respond more precisely.
Live chats offer perks of both — rule-based and AI-based chatbots. Here, the chatbots support real-time conversations with a customer support representative via the chat interface. Instead of predefined questions, you can ask any relevant questions and get answers at the moment. Live chats deliver a more personalized experience that you would love.
So, before you seriously start to consider whether your business needs such a notion, let’s learn more about chatbots and their development.
How to Build a Chatbot? A Step-by-Step Process
While beginning with chatbot development, focus on breaking the process into simple steps so it would be easier to understand. Here, we made an effort to make your life a little easier and created a step-wise guide from scratch.
Also, give a read to Comprehensive Guide to Design a Chatbot Tech Stack.
Here we go!
Step 01: Understand Why Your Company Needs a Chatbot?
You can’t interact 24/7 with your customers, but chatbots can.
Customers don’t like to wait longer for information they need at the moment about products or services. This wait can make your customers weary of your products, for sure. Here, chatbots can satisfy them — they engage the customers immediately while providing quick answers. Moreover, it helps customers feel valued, making them probably your long-term customers.
Chatbots are :
- Automated — they reduce human error possibilities.
- Always Available — enable to interact anytime with anyone
- Sales-driven — provide customers with product recommendations, ultimately increasing sales.
- Insights Generator — generate insights while interacting with customers, analyzing their likes and dislikes to meet customer needs.
- Marketing Path — allow for a more friendly and non-aggressive approach to customer interaction.
If you want to improve your business with the benefits mentioned earlier, go for a chatbot integration. Also, calculating the potential ROI of a chatbot can help you decide its worth for your business.
And since you decide to go for a chatbot integration, next, plan your chatbot goals.
Step 02: Outline Your Chatbot Goals
Now, think about what tasks the chatbot would going to perform. What queries exactly the chatbot be answering?
Outlining chatbot goals is similar to making up its personality. But it’s in your hands — which features to include and exclude making it the perfect one.
You need to predefine all the Frequently asked questions (FAQs). List down the queries customers are most interested in. Provide them with a better understanding with short text responses and follow-up links.
However, you must always start with a modest goal that satisfies your customer services domain! You can begin by answering a limited set of questions or meet customer needs by handling a broader range of topics. — As your business makes progress with time, you can change chatbot goals likewise.
You can create an AI-enabled chatbot with informational and transactional use cases handling all business tasks and saving everyone’s valuable time.
Step 03: Identify Niches for Your Chatbot
Mainly, Chatbots are designed to tackle the customer service domain of a business with automation in the routine processes, just like answering multiple repetitive customer queries at a time.
Customers can come up with asking the same thing differently, like — when will my parcel be delivered? What is the delivery date, or when will I receive my order? If you look at these questions, you’ll figure out that they all belong to the same category of “product delivery.”
So, you can create categories based on popular customer requests on the same topics, like product delivery, product quality, product return, etc.
Step 04: Pick a Perfect Channel and Language for Your Chatbot
Your chatbot’s success ultimately relies on its communication way and language. For instance, if a user only understands and reads Spanish while your chatbot converse in Dutch, you can probably lose a potential customer.
Also, decide the channels you will use chatbot automation, whether you want to use it on your website, Facebook page, or Whatsapp. The choice is yours! Since chatbots are flexible and can be easily integrated into various messengers.
Also, keep in mind the ease of customers while reaching you and the possible flow of customers from a particular channel. You selected the right channel if your chatbot satisfies both conditions.
Step 05: Integrate Various Apps and Software
You can take your customer service to the next level by integrating various apps and software into your chatbot. Evaluate the app’s integration with multiple metrics like impact, ease of use, and time — or you can leave this step to chatbot development service providers.
If the metrics show desired results, go for integrations in the first place.
For example, you can integrate the following apps or any other falling into these categories.
- Cloud storage tools: OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive
- Payment systems: Stripe, PayPal
- ERP systems: Salesforce, SAP, Guidewire, Genesys, UI Path
- CRM systems: Salesforce, Zoho, Hubspot
- Calendar: Calendly, Google Calendar
- Messaging apps: Slack, Facebook Messenger, Chat Widget
- Maps: Apple Maps, Google Maps
Step 06: Choose the Best Chatbot Builder Platform or Hire a Development Team
The most crucial step in the building process is deciding whether to use a chatbot development platform or hire a professional development team. Well, you can go for both, but mainly, it depends on your business needs.
Suppose you are looking for a simple chatbot with basic features like simple marketing and responding to FAQs within a limited budget and time. In such a scenario, chatbot-building platforms are the ultimate solution. They build a smart and cheap prototype with easy drag-n-drop options.
Among other chatbot builders, popular ones are:
- Drift chatbot
However, these builders have limitations — here, you have to train, upgrade, customize and maintain chatbots. — Otherwise, reach out to a chatbot development team and hand over all tasks. They will build a customized, full-scale chatbot solution with powerful Artificial intelligence for all your business needs.
And if you are looking for a chatbot development team that adds unmatched value to your business. In that case, no one is providing impeccable services other than Revolve AI, developing AI-powered chatbot solutions and helping companies to skyrocket their services.
Step 07: Create a Detailed Chatbot Roadmap
A chatbot’s roadmap will simply explain how the process will work, what should be included, and what should be excluded.
Before finalizing the development roadmap, you need to set chatbot’s:
- Precise Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
- Milestones and deliverables
- Estimated time
Recalling step number 03 of the process, decide what precisely you want from your chatbot. Jot down all the required features with details.
Step 08: Design Chatbot Persona and Chatbot Flow
you need to create a buyer’s persona first so that chatbot can respond on its flow. If you are working with a chatbot development company, they will help build buyer personas for you. You just need to find the most common and relevant customer queries you want a chatbot to answer.
Since customer service agents are at the forefront, ask them about the most queries and issues they get. Leverage social media to find out what your customers are interested in.
Moreover, collect data from business support emails, knowledge bases, and FAQs. These small pieces of information will make a chatbot’s full flow.
If you are building a chatbot yourself, well, in that case, consider questions, words, and phrases you want your chatbot to understand. Also, it would be great if you wrote as many variations of those words and phrases to train the bot more smartly.
Step 09: Create a PoC (Proof of Concept)
Proof of concept, similar to prototype or MVP (minimum viable product), guarantees a successful project if optimized in the right way.
If you achieve the goals set within your POC, the chances of final product success are great! however, if you remain unachieved with your goals, no need to worry! You can sit back, think about the possible reasons for failure, and then come up with a fine-tuned product.
Reasons for a Chatbot POC failure could be many — for instance, it may be:
- Slow speed
- Damage structure
- non-appealing persona
- Irrelevant answers
- Non-engaging or less-engaging behavior
User testing, Another part of POC.
You could test your product with your co-workers, friends, and real customers. However, it is quite possible they may give biased opinions. In my opinion, crowd testing is a perfect thing for user testing. It connects you to real and unbiased testers. It’s great when more and more people interact with your bot — you’ll get a good amount of data to train your chatbot.
Step 10: Build Your Chatbot!
After passing the POC and solving all issues, it’s time to pay attention to other crucial factors — You need to understand what needs to be improved, changed, or added. Or leave it in the hands of your chatbot development company. They’ll take care of everything!
API Integrations for Chatbots
The grasp of chatbots in Conversational AI can’t be understood without APIs — these integrations help chatbots to communicate with multiple apps and backend systems. Therefore, making it easier for businesses to get user data through different channels.
And also, APIs get data from apps like CRM, HRMS, ERP, etc., and send it to the chatbot for smoother processing.
Improving the Chatbot
As they say, there’s always room for improvement, so always start with a simpler version, then scale it. You can always expand your chatbot capabilities with the need of time and customer demand, making it even better!
Wrapping up the process
So now you have developed a top-notch chatbot for your business, make the most out of it and boost your business. Always follow a step-by-step process to develop a chatbot so that you don’t overdo or miss anything important — Good luck with your first chatbot!
Chatbot Development Platforms
AI-powered Chatbots, along with their benefits, have now become every business’s core part. With 24/7 availability, it automates the human workload, and that’s what Artificial intelligence does best, right?
Getting started with chatbots can be overwhelming. Since multiple chatbot-building tools exist, choosing the perfect one would be pretty confusing.
How to Choose the Best Chatbot Building Platform?
We have already narrowed down the names of the best chatbot builder platforms above. Here are some additional factors that will help you evaluate the perfect fit for your business needs among a myriad of platforms.
Find out your use cases
You thoroughly need to understand what exactly you want from your chatbot. Since every chatbot builder platform offers different features, pricing and integrations, pick one according to your business use cases.
AI Capabilities and Training
Chatbot offers users a personalized experience — You would feel like you are conversing with a fellow being, and what’s better than this?
This conversational component makes a chatbot more intriguing for users. So keeping this in mind, consider a platform that has AI capabilities to expand your use case. Also, analyze the chatbot platform’s ability to train the bot on multiple intents and responses to satisfy the user query smartly.
Everything best comes with a price, they say. Taking this phrase into the literal meaning, a development platform including first-class features and integrations will, however, take a big part in your budget, and still, it does not guarantees to help you achieve your desired goals.
You need to opt for a platform pricing plan that allows you to pay according to your achieved or non-achieved goals.
In today’s data-driven era, businesses are turning to chatbots more than ever — to stay accessible round the clock, with minimum human intervention, and squeeze the most value for their company growth.
Chatbots are the core part of marketing and sales campaigns now — Whether you need click-to-Messenger ads or post-purchase follow-ups, Now’s the time to invest in a chatbot strategy if you haven’t already. And since chatbot development is so easy, very soon, everyone will be able to make them for their purposes. So why wait?