How to Develop a Chatbot From Scratch
With all the chatbot chatter, it's tough to know what's going on — the noise makes it difficult to listen to the right thing. Get a basic overview of what you need to know to develop your first chatbot.
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So you have heard a lot about chatbots, but you don't know how to get started with them. There are a lot of chatbot platforms, and it becomes tough to make a choice. At times, the noise makes it difficult to listen to the right thing. If this sounds like your situation, you are at the right place. In the next five minutes, you will have all the resources at your disposal that are required to build a chatbot.
1. Identify the Opportunities for an AI-Based Chatbot
What do you want to achieve with your chatbot? Well, the primary purpose would be to automate processes to gain efficiency and accuracy. So, a precise understanding is required. Ask yourself: Where do I want it to be implemented? What processes can the chatbot simplify? The greatest opportunities for any chatbot (or perhaps for any technology) is to solve operational challenges and then decipher things clearly from the big data. Solving work and data complexities will obviously contribute to the business bottom line regarding efficiency, expertise, effectiveness, and innovation.
2. Understand the Goals of Customers
What do your customers want or expect from you? If you already have a website or app, you should be able to answer this question easily. How does your customer engage with you (via email, chat, phone, social media, forum, etc.)? What actions do they perform, how do they enter your sales channel, and what kind of expectations they have for your sales and customer service departments? Sit with your departments and make a list of the goals of your customers.
3. Design a Chatbot Conversation
When the designer knows about the goals, they can design a conversation with a chatbot in a better way. This is a significant stage that decides the quality of user engagement that your website can deliver. We can categorize chatbot interactions as structured and unstructured interactions.
Structured interaction. You already know about this kind of interaction. You know what your customers will ask and can design it easily — it's just like an FAQ section of your app or website. This information will link to your contact information, services, products, etc.
Unstructured interaction. The unstructured conversation flow includes freestyle plain text. It's hard to predict what queries will emerge, so it's like an extempore speech competition for your chatbot. How would your chatbot know the answer? That's the role of AI. AI decodes the context of the communication based on NLP analysis. The same NLP will provide a voice to your chatbot application.
While developing the script for messages, it is important to keep the conversation topics close to the purpose served by the chatbot. The designer has to simplify the conversational user interface. A perfect balance has to be achieved between close-ended and open-ended conversation to keep the flow natural, precise and task-oriented.
4. Develop a Chatbot Using Non-Coding Frameworks
So you want to have hands-on experience? Thanks to chatbot builder platforms like Chatfuel, Botsify. and so on, this is no longer a dream job. Though it's not possible to create Aan I or NLP-enabled chatbot that can deal with unstructured data, you can create simple chatbot conversations and upload that to a cloud platform to serve basic purposes. These frameworks are packed with drag-and-drop templates to create bots.
5. Or, Develop a Chatbot Using Code-Based Frameworks
To create a chatbot with code-based frameworks like Wit.ai, API.ai, or Microsoft Bot (to name a few), you need specialized chatbot developers with an understanding of programming languages, machine learning, and AI. Such a chatbot can solve complicated purposes and serve customers by better decoding their unstructured conversation. It has a database to store data, generates analytics, and incorporates AI.
The Bottom Line
A chatbot can be general-purpose or all-inclusive ones. Understanding the type of work complexity you want to solve and insights you want to penetrate, you can make the right choice. However, the latter choice might demand hands-on working gloves or an experienced AI chatbot developer.
Published at DZone with permission of Saroj Kumar, DZone MVB. See the original article here.
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