06 Sep 2017

What You Need to Know to Make Your ChatBot Project a Success

Artificial Intelligence developing full-bore, chatbots are, currently, a rage. If having one developed for your business has crossed your mind, you should be aware that sole reliance on the provider you choose may not be the best approach. There are several reasons why you'd better have an idea about the do's and don'ts of the business before getting the show on the road. First off, while being sufficiently ripe by now, the technology still falls short in some respects. Secondly, chatbots vary widely. An unsophisticated chatbot, partially assembled from prefab parts, would be a far cry from a multilingual one that is based on a powerful Natural Language Understanding layer and allows your customers to add an order to cart or perform some other action. Lastly, to be able to deliver a good chat bot, your provider must bear in mind so many things that it wouldn't be excessive to remind them of some if you feel they’ve been somewhat overlooked.

Ensuring Sufficient Customer Engagement

While your chatbot may seem like a significant and unusual innovation to you personally, the rest of the world is unlikely to start beating around the door to talk to it. Even if you are prepared to commit a significant investment for your chatbot to have a good conversational ability by virtue of Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Machine Learning (ML), some things still need to be done to enhance its ability to keep the client engaged through conversation. One of the most efficient ways to ensure this would be harnessing a good creative writer. This writer could develop the user personas and come up with a varied set of engaging, unusual and entertaining responses. Such responses would be used by the chatbot in those cases, when it is unable to interpret a user request, or cannot comply with it due to an inventory shortage or some other circumstance. Unlike your engineers, a good creative writer will be able to come up with a versatile set of responses, use humor and make your chatbot sound more human-like overall. In some cases, you can use a short succession of several responses that aim to facetiously refocus your user on the question posed by your chatbot while also diverting them from the fact that the bot has failed to get their meaning.

Personifying User Experience

A no-name bot, especially one that is supposed to be a maven on something and support conversations about a wide range of topics, will most probably be a failure. We seldom open up with strangers. Come up with a cozy name and a witty moniker for your bot, think of it as an intelligent entity, fit it out with a good bio/back story and a memorable voice to befit the purpose for which it was created. Are you aiming to sell home appliances and iOT devices? How about an extraterrestrial with a metallic-sounding name from a faraway planet, – shouldn’t they be quite advanced in that area? Are you selling toys for kids? Your chatbot can then be a fairy tale creature with a funny name. You can even pick a well-known character from a fairy tale your audience is well-familiar with: when kids are engaged, their parents have little choice.

Ensuring a Sufficient Understanding Ability

Before you entrust your chatbot project to a chat bot development team, make sure your business needs and requirements are covered by the technology they can offer. If you are aiming at a long-time business asset that will gradually improve over time, you will need not only an NLP-savvy team, but also an NLP-savvy team with a good grasp of the corresponding Machine Learning algorithms. Machine Learning will enable your chatbot to both sponge knowledge off its own conversations and to derive it from other sources (for instance, a neural network-based chat bot developed by Google has trained itself on movie dialogues). Using advanced Machine Learning algorithms can allow a chat bot to understand up to 90% of the user-provided information, thus making it a lot less clumsy verbally and a much better interlocutor.
You definitely need an ML-driven chatbot if you want it to:
  1. Gradually increase its knowledge and vocabulary associated with your industry.
  2. Learn about any emerging trends and pick up new terms associated with your industry (i.e. stay up-to-date on important events and phenomena).
  3. Be able to engage in small talk and support a wide range of topics (this, in particular, can be very useful for engaging users by asking them personal questions).

Several more things that are worth taking into consideration:
  1. It might be a good idea to automatically transfer a user whose inquiry your chatbot has failed to understand to a customer service rep. This, too, leaves room for creativity. For example, the bot can tell your client that it wants to introduce them to their best friend who is a real pro in this particular area and can help them better.
  2. Queen’s English is not really what you can expect from a large number of users. Correspondingly, your chat bot must be trained to understand a wide range of obscenities, colloquialisms, and slang terms. Moreover, ideally, it must be able to support the conversation while using decent but not too rapturous synonyms.
  3. One and the same language can vary quite a bit in different geographies. Your chatbot must be aware of the differences.

Making Your Chatbot Sound Encouraging

There is nothing more endearing to people than a sincere interest in their problems. Your chatbot should be able to express empathy or concern, as well as a commitment to help. Make sure it’s related vocabulary is rich, expressive and well-architected.

Making Your User Experience as Actionable as Possible 

Come up with a list of actions you think relevant to the purpose of your chat bot and your business. Do you want your user to be able to make payments? Ask your provider if they can implement that. Do you want your users to be able to schedule an appointment with one of your managers, or be notified about a new product being released shortly? Ask how feasible that would be to implement. The more action-packed your chatbot is, the more engaging it is. Some other options you can consider may include polling, surveying, and various integration options.

Sources for this article:

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