If at some point you came to the conclusion that you need a chatbot for your business, it’s obviously a good start. You may have analyzed how your customer service may benefit from it, how you can spare money, and other advantages that automation may bring you. However, realizing it isn’t enough. You need to design your chatbot with the specific regard to your audience. Let’s take a look at which direction to take.
The algorithm of chatbot design:
To be honest, creating a great chatbot design isn’t the easiest task. But I need to tell you something: without it, your business has quite low chances to take advantage from your chatbot. That’s why I propose you to take a walk with me through the main steps of creating a powerful chatbot design.
1.Understanding the problem
Ask yourself what kind of problem you expect a chatbot to solve. Without a clear vision of a problem, you wouldn’t get any further. Cases and experience of others can be helpful at the research stage, but remember that it should be the problem of your business. Not someone else’s problem.
From realization of the problem, you can move to setting the goals you should reach with the help of your chatbot. Those goals can be such as improving customer service, minimizing spendings, and so on. Try to avoid generalizations and decide on your objectives relying on the numbers and your vision of business development.
Also, it can be useful to come up with particular numbers you want to reach after a month, two months, or half a year (for instance, average messages per user, click through rate, requests to unsubscribe, etc.). This one definitely requires some research of chatbot use cases in businesses of your field, but results are worth it.
Without a sufficient research stage, there’s no moving forward. So take your time but make sure that you have gathered enough information. What I mean about information here is a collection of your experience with customer service and cases of similar businesses.
By analyzing the pain points you and your customers (but also other businesses and their customers) have been facing, you can create a chatbot design that addresses these problems at the first instance. Problems with which your customers usually struggle should become the main focus for you while developing a chatbot.
4.Mapping user journey and creating logic blocks
To design a worthy chatbot design, the best practice is to make it as visual as you can. Use prototyping tools (like Botsociety) or just your pen and paper – the character of tools doesn’t make any difference since you are doing it for your own convenience. The only thing that matters is to make things so clear that you can always come back and trace connections (believe me, you will need it in a while) between logic blocks.
However, the primary thing you need at this stage isn’t a prototyping tool or a pen, but the knowledge of your customer journey. To create a conversation tree, first, you need to map customer journey with your chatbot.
Customer journey is a sequence of steps that your user is supposed to take from the first interaction with your service to purchase. Relying on this map, you can create a conversation tree for your chatbot that will make interaction with chatbot users more natural and human-like.
5. Creating an MVP and testing
You might be acquainted with the idea of Minimum Viable Product. For the process of developing chatbots, it’s also an important concept. The reason is clear – it’s always better to spend less time on creating basic functionality and test it before going deeper into details.
Try to address the main problems of your customers by MVP functionality chatbot design. Of course, in order to benefit from it, you will need to analyze the interaction of customers with your chatbot. Otherwise, you will get a wrong picture or won’t get anything at all.
Also, don’t forget about content that you need to keep somewhere. Again, it’s better to make things as visual as you can. So that you can see the relations between content blocks and keep everything in one place. You can use simple spreadsheets at the beginning, however, when your content expands, you will need to switch to a database.
6.Adding NLP and other features
Today one can hardly imagine a chatbot that doesn’t have at least basic understanding of human speech, and it would be impossible without Natural Language Processing (NLP).
How does it work? You need to “teach” your chatbot recognize the most common phrases that your customer use. For this you can use such platforms like Chatfuel, wit.ai, api.ai, Microsoft Bot Framework as all of them have NLP functionality.
Use the results of research phase where you should have gathered excerpts of the language of your customers and, in particular, questions they use most often.
7.Training and testing
Now, when your chatbot is ready, you can give it back to your users for further testing. You need to save inputs from your customers and use it for training your chatbot (with the help of NLP tools) to make it better understand them.
While developing a chatbot, creating a strong chatbot design is extremely important. It implies defining your problem, setting goals, researching, creating conversation tree, making MVP of your chatbot, adding NLP, training, and testing. All the steps are essential for any type of chatbot or business it serves for. They represent the basis from which you can develop more complex architectures.