Constant availability is an essential element of customer retention today and in times of global demands that means 24/7. At the same time, hardly any company can afford to have employees available for customer support and requests. customers at any time of the day or night. It is possible to process many standardized inquiries with a chatbot and thus react quickly on the one hand, and on the other hand filter the inquiries according to importance. In this article, we'll show you how to create your own chatbot.
What is a chatbot?
A chatbot is essentially a robot you can talk to. A text field or audio input opens on the customer side and the customer can ask his questions – on the other side, however, it is not a human who answers, but an artificial intelligence (AI).
What types of chatbots are there?
You decide how much AI is in the chatbot, because there are three of them different types of chatbots.
Rule-based chatbots fall back on a catalog of questions and answers predefined by you. The rule-based chatbot cannot answer a question that is not stored in the database.
AI-powered chatbots use Natural Language Processing (NLP) to recognize user input and then understand it with Natural Language Understanding (NLU). Your users can enter texts freely and your bot will recognize the content even without predefined texts and content. a part from that the AI learns something new with each request via a context memory, so it can become more and more precise in its response.
A hybrid chatbot is a blend of both and combines the classic AI chatbot with the function of a live chat. Specifically, the chatbot interrupts the conversation at the point where it gets stuck and automatically forwards it to a human agent without the user noticing, without any problems.
What are the benefits of chatbots?
There are some arguments in favor of building a chatbot, at least as an upstream instance of customer support:
- Availability 24/7
- large number of requests can be processed immediately (chatbot is more scalable than staff)
- you relieve your employees from simple and repetitive requests
- you can maintain customer data much better because every customer contact is easily logged in a CRM
- you automate your processes (the result of such an interaction can also be fully automated sales)
- Gamification of processes, for example with an individual avatar for your customer, and thus more fun using your service
- your offers can be much easier to be multilingual
- you save personal and you can use them in the important places
Programming a chatbot or using a ready-made bot?
As with the creation of websites, both ways are possible when using a chatbot: either you program your bot completely or you use software for a chatbot (similar to the principle of a web building block system).
The advantage of a self-programmed chatbot is obvious: you decide for yourself what the robot can and does, you are completely free in design and content. However, you also need a programmer or programming skills yourself.
Alternatively, you can use ready-made chatbot software. There are a number of providers for this, such as the DialogBits all-in-one chatbot software. You can adapt most of the robots to your needs and wishes, but of course only within the scope of what the providers intended.
Creating a chatbot: step by step
Step 1: Define goals for your chatbot
You can only design and build it accordingly if you know what your chatbot should be capable of. Then you should be able to answer the following questions:
- What topics should the chatbot automate?
- What user questions do you expect and how should they be answered?
- Should your chatbot provide information or perform tasks?
- What functions does the chatbot need to perform, therefore what resources does it need? For example: creating appointments, comparing customer data, informing about delivery status, etc.
Step 2: How should the chatbot be accessible?
There are many ways for customer inquiries, either via GoogleMaps (formerly Google Business) or via Whatsapp, or directly on your company website. How do you expect the requests you want to answer with a chatbot?
You should coordinate the use of your chatbot with your marketing strategy: if you trust customers a lot on social media, the chatbot should be active there too. If you want to intercept many customer inquiries that originate from your website and usually end up on the customer hotline, then integrate the bot into your website. Therefore: Find out which platforms and channels your customers use, an analysis of the target group can help you with this. To classify your target group, you can also click on the so-called person To fall back on.
Step 3: Find the right chatbot software
There are now many vendors for building chatbots – you can only decide which one is right for your schedule based on the requirements specified in steps 1 and 2.
We have created an overview of the best chatbots for you. When making your selection, you should primarily consider function, expandability and cost. But you should also consider possible interfaces with other programs you use.
Also make sure your chatbot complies with important data protection regulations. This shows you exactly what needs to be considered and how a Chabot is GDPR compliant Item.
Step 4: Give your chatbot a personality
Even more important than with your employees is the personality of a robot that fits your business. Consider… there is still a customer reluctance to communicate with a robot rather than a human. Not everyone has practiced with it yet and is therefore skeptical. They can convince you with a good result – but to break down early inhibitions it helps to give the chatbot a figuratively human face.
The advantage of designing your own chatbot is that you can shape it according to your ideas:
- Should the chatbot address your customers like you or you?
- Should he answer in a rather casual or highly professional way?
- How complex should his answers be?
- Should the chatbot conduct a conversation or spit out facts like a machine?
To find the right format here, you should work closely with marketing. The chatbot is part of your company's face, so it should fit with the brand, brand language, and core corporate culture.
Step 5: Develop an avatar for your chatbot
In addition to personality, your chatbot actually needs a face – a visual implementation. This is called avatars. This should be based on corporate design, so it makes sense to involve marketing managers here as well. You may also want to give the bot a name.
Step 6: Define processes for your chatbot
Now go much deeper into the functions of your chatbot. You have to design concrete dialogue structures and define the necessary actions of the chatbot. What should the bot know and be able to do and how should it behave?
The best way to do this is to use a flow builder (a flowchart) where you define many, if not all, of the potential requests and determine the corresponding reaction and action of the chatbot.
Step 7: Integrate your chatbot
Whether it's on your website, in a Whatsapp tunnel or on Instagram and Facebook… take enough time to integrate the chatbot you've created into the intended channel.
Step 8: Beta Stage: Test your chatbot
Whether AI-based or rule-based chatbot: After creation, you have to assume that not everything will run smoothly. For this reason:
- Check your chatbot for errors.
- Have the bot tested by employees from different departments – their attention is of great value in evaluating the function.
- Use beta testers, i.e. selected customers who communicate with the chatbot.
In this beta stage, ask your testers for their impression of functionality, ease of use, and design.
With the results of these tests, you should proceed to review, eliminate all errors and problems and, if in doubt, repeat this process several times.
Step 9: Train your chatbot
Especially if your chatbot is based on artificial intelligence, i.e. it learns with every request, you should plan a training phase, a trial period so to speak. It may be possible to make the bot available to a small group of customers who are aware of the beta stage. Or you run customer support on two tracks for a while: customer service is still in direct contact with the customer and at the same time feeds requests into the chatbot and uses it as a kind of database.
Step 10: Publish and market chatbots
After so much effort, your chatbot's success shouldn't fail because nobody gets to know about this amazing tool. So you should request it.
Whether as a link in social media posts, in your email signatures or in your newsletter, there are many possibilities. Depending on how you designed your chatbot's personality and avatar, you can also celebrate as a new employee and turn their launch into an event.
Conclusion Create a chatbot
Chatbots are no more secrets of the tech industry and you can benefit from using such a communication robot. The setup is not that difficult, but you should make the effort to tailor the chatbot well to your needs so that the customer experience is positive.