Is it your first time creating a chatbot?
If you are dealing with customers, implementing a chatbot in your business will put you one step ahead. From sales to marketing, from communication to lead generation, chatbots are a valuable asset, and they will help you thrive and improve efficiency in the critical areas of your business.
However, just like any other website, campaign or even marketing funnel, having a strategy behind your chatbot is fundamental to achieving your goals.
This article will explain to new users how to carefully design your goals and strategy and everything you must keep in mind before creating and implementing your first chatbot.
1- What Are Your Goals
The first step of the chatbot strategy is to set your goals. You can only dive into design, functionality and flow building once you have your goals clearly defined, as they will serve as your leading guide to all the following steps. Don’t forget that you must align your chatbot goals with your business and marketing goals.
If you are not sure where to start, a good starting point is to answer the following questions:
What do you want to achieve with your chatbot and why?
What is lacking in your business?
What are the solutions you can provide with your bot?
What would you like for the chatbot to do better?
With those answers in mind, you can see if your goals fit into qualitative or quantitative goals.
Qualitative goals are subjective and non-measurable, for example, improving customer service. They are based on qualitative data and are more related to the HOW and WHY aspects of the chatbot. On the other hand, quantitative goals are specific, numeric and measurable. An example of a quantitative goal could be “increase sales by 5%”.
Whether qualitative or quantitative, keep your goals in mind when building and evolving your chatbot and make sure you measure your chatbot’s performance according to these targets as accurately as you can.
2- Who Is Your Bot Persona
Even though your bot is not human, your chatbot needs to have some kind of personality, so it is easier for customers to engage with it. You can opt for an intentional character that aligns with your brand or an accidental one simply due to the conversation structure and the copy you write.
Still, the most important thing is to make sure that your bot’s personality attends and sympathises with your audience persona. It is worth spending a little bit of time thinking this through to ensure that your chatbot’s style and tone match the bot’s audience, context, and purpose.
3- How Is Your Conversation Flow
That’s the moment to design how your bot will interact with your audience.
The conversation flow building is a vital part of the chatbot building process and will take you the most time. It also requires intention and attention to detail, as you need to test your conversation flow and make sure it is natural and flows like a human conversation.
Moreover, your conversation needs to guide your users to achieve those goals you’ve established initially.
If you are having trouble starting, Flow XO recommends you draft the main conversation flows, what questions you want to ask, and the different paths the conversation might take based on users’ responses.
There are a couple of excellent and free tools available to design your conversation flows, and you can check them here on our Support page.
4- What Is Your Chatbot Type
Once you set your conversation flow, you need to evaluate what type of chatbot can best deliver this conversation and how they fit into your strategy. There are two main types of chatbots: button bots and NLP.
Keyword Driven Flow: Button Bots
Keyword-driven flow or button bots are the most common and simplest form of chatbot interaction. The keyword-driven flow will present a list of options to users, also known as quick replies, and the flow of the conversation will follow the responses chosen by the users. These chatbots usually start with a simple menu of choices, and which option the user selects will determine how the bot will respond.
Bots structured in this way are called ‘button bots’ because they are operated using buttons rather than speaking to them as you would chat to humans.
Keyword-driven bots are way easier to build and maintain. Plus, they are “plug and play”, as they are ready to use as soon as they are built. Flow XO excels at keyword-driven flows, and unless you already know you need an NLP bot and why, it should probably be the first kind of interaction you reach for.
Natural Language Processing (NLP) Driven Flow
Natural Language Processing (NLP) driven flow are those chatbots that the user chats to the bot as they chat to a person. However, NLP bots are way more complex to build, as they require training and several testings until you reach a perfect flow that works like a natural human conversation.
Even though they are worth the investment, new users must be aware that a well developed NLP takes a lot of time and work to design, test, monitor and manage. You will need to think through what intents you want to support in your chatbot and gather some training phrases for each purpose from your historical user data.
If you opt for a NLP, Flow XO supports NLP style interactions with plugins to two very powerful, popular and free NLP systems, Google’s Dialogflow and Facebook’s Wit.ai. If you need to build a simple flow, button bots might be more cost effective and less time consuming than NLPs.
Flow XO Top Tips
See below some of the Flow XO’s recommendations for first time users that will smooth your chatbot building process:
- Be clear and concise with your sentences: Break your messages into bite-sized chunks, add some small talk questions and sprinkle some emojis, images, gifs and videos. It keeps the conversation alive and your users more engaged. Imagine yourself talking to a bot and evaluating how you would like to be talked to and what would make you more engaged within the conversation.
- Build an option to talk to a live agent: A bot can solve many problems, but not all of them. Provide to your users some way to reach out to a live agent. Flow XO allows your bot to transfer the conversation to a live agent or enable the user to leave a message for your team to respond.
- Monitor and act on errors: If you are building your bot for the first time, you will undoubtedly encounter mistakes or room for improvement in your chatbot flow. Set up error notifications so you are aware when your bots fail, and you can intervene
- Analyse and Measure: Pay attention to your bot’s performance closely. Flow XO provides built-in Google Analytics that can provide some additional insights that will be useful to you when improving your bot
If you are new to the universe of chatbots, exploring the Flow XO platform and all the available features is essential. There is a lot to learn and so much you can do with your chatbot! It takes time and practice, so allow yourself to immerse in this process.
Flow XO also has tools to help newbies familiarize themselves with the platform and support the bot’s design and implementation.