Chatbots are the latest craze and they are everywhere the whole world is talking about it. You might find hundreds of chatbots while browsing the internet. Chatbots aren’t new – only the idea that they can do everything is new. Over the past year or so, the term “chatbot” has taken the media world by storm. Each and every small/big companies are re-evaluating their customer engagement strategy and some of them has already created chatbot from scratch.
According to a study conducted by Oracle, 80 percent of the business are planning to use chatbots for customer interactions by 2020. At the same time, 36 percent of them have already implemented a chatbot service.
Before creating a chatbot from scratch lets go through certain guidelines which needs to be followed:
Identify the problem that you’re going to solve with your bot
The whole concept of building a chatbot is to solve the problems which are faced by your organization it might be either resolving the customer queries, lead generation, extract customer details, FAQ etc.
Identify the top 5 to 10 items that customers want to know about. Limiting the topics allows for finer tuning of the bot to understand the subject. Better which in turn allows answers with higher confidence.
Create the Conversational Architecture
Human language is known for allowing infinite ways to say the same thing with different words. Chatbots are about a continuous conversation allowing for any number of turns taken between the bot and the user. It’s better to come up with some ceratin conversational architecture of texts so that you can easily divert your users where you wanted them to go.
It’s better to show representations of what the bot will say at each step. However, the detailed message design should happen outside of the flow diagrams, as you will want to design variations of the same message for frequently occurring dialogs.
Mine the Chat Data
No matter what platform you use to create your bot, one of the most important resources you will need is a collection of sentences reflecting different ways to express each one of the intents and slot values your bot will need to recognize. This resource can be difficult to create because of the amazing diversity of human language – and the limitations of the developer’s imagination.
The ideal resource is actual text from conversations with customers. If you’re lucky enough to have had agents communicating with customers in chat channels, you can mine those conversations for real examples (see also the next step). But for many companies, this may be the first time they are engaging in customer service through a chat-based interface.
Select the right Channel
Text-based chatbots can live on any communication channel that can carry a dialog either in messaging app like Facebook Messenger, WeChat or on social networks like Twitter, or chat embedded on a website. If you are considering adding a conversational experience to your existing mobile app, ask this question: does this experience add enough new value that it justifies the investment?
Whatever channel you prefer, make sure it offers an open API so that bots can be programmatically embedded.
Design the Integrations
Integrations can be as varied as the applications you want to automate. If you already have an integration with your existing self-service platforms (web or voice) to some of your systems.The same integrations may be re-used for chatbot purposes.
For example, if your IVR application already verifies your customer and can provide order status information, then most likely the integration can be re-used for your chatbot. New bot self-service concepts, however, may require new integrations. Current software packages, technologies, and databases generally have robust connections. That can provide a wealth of detail required for the bot to function.
Once you are done with the guidelines then comes the building a chatbot
Basically, there are 2 ways you can create chatbot from scratch:
1) Build a chatbot from scratch and do coding by yourself:
Building a chatbot from scratch is very tedious task to do but if you decide to go down the path of AI and Natural Language Processing (NLP), creating a chatbot from scratch is going to technically challenging and pricey but there are some open-source libraries like Apache Open NLP or Stanford Open NLP which will help you to create your own Flow and NLU.
Advantage of chatbot from scratch (coding yourself):
– You can easily build a custom bot for your website.
-You have full control of your bot.
Disadvantage of chatbot from scratch (coding yourself):
– You need to have a lot of prior knowledge of coding (mostly in Java/Python).
– It is gone take a lot of time to learn from scratch.
– It’s better if you have some exposure to Machine Learning problems, else the time taken to get something up and running will go up significantly.
2) Use chatbot building platforms:
There are some chatbot building platforms that provides the features like Drag ‘n’ Drop to build chatbots in very less time and without any coding. It’s easy to build the chatbot here as all the coding part is already done. User have to just drag the icon and drop it. With the help of this we can easily build the chatbot according to our needs.
Here are also two types of platforms –
1.Only flow-based platforms:
Chatfuel – Allows you to pick from existing templates or create your own bot with an easy to use interface. Allows you to create Facebook specific bots with rich UI elements directly from the platform.
Flow XO – Provides a drag and drop UI and allows a lot of external integrations. Mainly useful for bringing many services together and automating internal processes.
2. Flow + NLU based platform:
Rakebots – Rakebots is a platform where anyone can build a smart chatbot for there website using natural language processing. It allows you to create specific bots for your website according to your needs and once you have built the bot it’s easy to train and maintain.
Advantages of chatbot building platforms:
-It allows you to pick from existing templates or create your own bot with an easy to use interface.
-It allows you to create Facebook specific bots with rich UI elements directly from the platform.
-Provides a drag and drop UI and allows a lot of external integrations. Mainly useful for bringing many services together and automating internal processes.
Disadvantage of chatbot building platforms:
-You can’t get more customized chatbot options compared to code based chatbot.
Once your chatbot is done it’s all about training and adding values to it. Chatbot is only good when the data are feed. As a general rule, the more training data, the better – though that too depends on the scope of the chatbot, and its intended customer base. Remember, the point is to make sure that the chatbot is as accessible and useful as possible. So the training data used needs to be customized and of high quality.
In short, if you just need a simple bot for your business, you may want to look for a Flow-based chatbot building platform. On the other hand, if you require a custom solution with unique or complex functionality, then it’s better to go with a Flow + NLU based chatbot building platform.
I won’t recommend you to build the chatbot from scratch by doing all the coding by yourself as its more time consuming and not so cost-effective.
If you want to discuss how Rakebots can help you create a unique and great chatbot, just drop us a line!