Nov

HOW TO MAKE A SUCCESSFUL CHATBOT (BUSINESS TIPS)


So you decided that your business needs a chatbot.

And you’ve probably heard conflicting opinions on chatbots - some praise them for the ease with which they can offer customer service, others criticize for their lack of true intelligence.

How to proceed?

At nmodes, we have been working on chatbots longer than most, starting long before they became popular.

Here is how we advise mainstream businesses to approach the chatbot quandary.




1. SET YOUR BUSINESS GOALS  

Remember that users prefer to spend less time talking to your chatbot, not more. A user wants to resolve specific issues related to your brand, not engage in a soul searching chit chat about the meaning of life, politics or sports. A user expects your chatbot to provide the answer to a particular question, and the faster the chatbot can do it the more satisfying customer experience it will create.  

All that means is that your chatbot does not need to have the capabilities of a Siri (generic conversational AI solution). Instead, it has to understand really well the conversational domains related to your business. It does not need to support much of the rest of the language.

And so you need to decide which business related topics you want your chatbot to cover and not to venture outside of these topics.

Typically chatbot topics revolve around sales process, customer support, sometimes they include lead generation, FAQs, problem resolution, and reputation management.


2. DEFINE THE DIALOGS

Chatbots are about conversations. After you have decided what kind of topics you want your chatbot to support it is time to get a bit more specific and define the dialogs. Ask yourself the following question: what do you want to achieve at the end of the chatbot’s interaction with the customer. For example, if you are dealing with the sales process, the end result could be a customer making a purchase, or a customer providing contact information for the sales team to follow up on, or  when a customer indicates what product he or she is interested in.

Build a dialog with the end result in mind.

We sometimes call this creating the conversation flow.

Of course, you can create as many conversation flows as required to support your business model.



3. DECIDE IF YOU NEED AI  

The are two types of chatbots - based on multiple choice buttons and based on natural language conversations.

Don’t discard buttons. Remember that a chabot is expected to make the user experience as enjoyable and as friendly as possible. Buttons often make conversation super easy and fun (the user simply clicks a button, what can be easier?).  In many business cases buttons provide a fast and efficient way to ask relevant questions and keep the conversation flowing towards the desired conclusion.

Using buttons also makes chatbot development simpler and reduces the development costs.

The second option is to make a chatbot support natural language conversations, in which case you will need AI.

Pick the AI solution you want to work with.

The good news is that there are several decent products in the market so you have a choice.

The not so good news is that they all are relatively complicated and require a certain level of technical knowledge.

(And you can always talk to us - we provide AI solutions that do not require any technical knowledge).



4. DECIDE IF YOU WANT TO DEVELOP YOUR CHATBOT IN HOUSE OR OUTSOURCE

Unless you want to position your business as an AI company you likely do not want to develop it on your own. There are several reasons for that.

First, AI technology is complex and its complexity if often underestimated. You will need top AI expertise and will probably need more of it than you anticipate.

Second, as Cameron Schuler recently observed, there is a significant shortage of AI experts and it will be difficult for you to find one.

Third, and perhaps most importantly, if you are a mainstream business developing in-house AI expertise is not part of your business model.

Bringing in an AI partner to help with your AI needs is a reasonable option for many businesses. Of course, the downside is additional immediate costs.  



Following the simple steps above and answering these questions will help you navigate the sophisticated world of AI, decide what kind of chatbot does your business require and how to approach the process of creating it.

Interested in reading more? Check out our other blogs:

Meet Eliza, the Mother of AI

                                                             

Meet Eliza, the Mother of AI..

Today, Artificial Intelligence seems to be the buzz of every major enterprise. Salesforce is formally announcing Einstein this fall, IBM has worked on Watson for years now, and after 20 years of working with AI, Microsoft has made a few attempts to bring the technology to the market. With all this activity, you may be asking yourself what kind of impact AI will have on you and your business, and where you might want to look to investigate the possibilities Artificial Intelligence represents.

Before we discuss how AI will impact customer support and consumer experience, and how you may leverage it in your contact center, I thought it would be fun to take a look where AI got its start.

The term AI was coined by computer scientist John McCarthyin 1956 who subsequently went on to create the Dartmouth Conference to advance the ideas and technologies associated with machine intelligence. While this collective of thought leaders and scientists made huge advancements through programs at MIT and others, most of their work was only circulated in academic fields.

Not many people were aware of Artificial Intelligence, how it worked or its potential uses, until around 1964 when MIT computer Scientist Joseph Weizenbaumwrote Eliza, a program based on Natural Language Processingthat was able to successfully question and respond to human interactions in such a way as to almost sound like a real human being. Eliza, with almost no information about human responses was able to use scripts and pattern  matching to simulate responses that might occur between two people.

The most famous of these simulations, highlighting  AI ability to intersect with modern needs and technology, was DOCTOR. DOCTOR was able to question and respond to a human in such a way so as to almost sound like an actual psychotherapist. As the human subject made statements, DOCTOR asked questions and made statements relevant to the conversation as if it were a present and conscious being… almost.

Over the years  computer scientists, whether academics or industry professionals,  have worked tirelessly to improve upon these developments with the hope of delivering a computer program capable not only to ask and respond, but to understand the context of a conversation. A program that can relate relevant data to responses, thus providing value to the human it’s conversing with, while helping to chart the course of the conversation, just as if you and I were talking over a cup of coffee or across a conference room table.

Why is this important, you may ask? With the introduction of Chatbots, we began to see some of the potential in Artificial Intelligence. Companies could now front-end customer chat interactions that allowed the company to be more responsive to its customers while shortening wait times and deflecting inquiries from the call center, which as we all know are hugely expensive.

The one problem with Chatbots? Customers hated dealing with limited technology that was cold, often incorrect, and frustrating. People are accustomed to dealing with the cold, sterile nature of technology when they type numbers in a phone to be routed but expected a human to be chatting with them. These negative experiences have made a number of companies a little gun shy about implementing true Artificial Intelligence. The last thing a business wants is a customer complaining, especially on Social Media, about a poor customer experience due to a bad interaction with technology.

There is a significant difference between Chatbot technology and true AI, consequently the outcomes and customer experience are proving to be very different. Where a Chatbot is more like an IVR, answering simple questions and routing customers to the correct agent, Artificial Intelligence is aware of the conversation and able to present relevant responses, thereby providing a faster response and shorter customer interaction times and better customer service. I mean, if Eliza’s DOCTOR could simulate a psychotherapist in 1964, what can AI do for your contact center in 2016?

READ MORE

What Is Conversational AI

                                                         

Conversational Artificial Intelligence solutions can communicate with people in their natural languages. The interactions happen via speech or text – our most common forms of interaction.

The most popular example of a conversational AI solution is chatbot.

The chatbot popularity began in 2016 with Facebook’s announcement  of a developer-friendly platform to build chatbots on Facebook messenger. Soon, chatbots became the buzz of the technological community and spread across various industries. As a next step, toolkits that helped build a bot in five minutes grew popular, companies raced to the market with new bot announcements and the world woke up to a new chatbot-based reality.

A well developed conversational AI chatbot is able to interact on a near-human level. If we think about it, most companies’ customer service and sales centers deal with a core of 6-12 repeating issues. conversational AI software allows companies to develop an intelligent response channel that can cover the most common customer interactions.

Another advantage in using Conversational AI is in the marketing and branding domain. Chatbots allow the companies to stay on their message without veering off course . With AI, the scripts are all written and approved in house. Even when the AI system learns, when the appropriate training techniques are implemented, the system will adhere to the required profrssional verbiage.

 

READ MORE