If you are planning to develop a chatbot, you might be wondering what things to take into consideration before embarking on a development project. Many developers may ask, "What is the strategy for successful chatbot development and its best practices?"
Here are some of the best practices to lead you to a successful chatbot development project.
Know Your Audience
First of all, building a successful bot requires some deep understanding of the customer’s product or services and its user base. Your first goal should be to understand what the audience will use this bot for. According to some recent use cases, bots generally fall into these categories: entertainment bots, commerce-focused bots, news bots, utility bots, and customer service bots. Talk with the client and potential customers about the bot and really listen to their answers.
Identify Correct Use Case Scenarios
As bot technology improves, businesses are using bots more often in situations where human judgment and effort have traditionally been required. Some relevant business use cases include assistant bots, finance compliance, and supplementing HR practices. The use cases can be classified and explained in terms of automation and augmentation. Automation of routine tasks can improve overall productivity and performance in a business setting. Augmentation bots powered by artificial intelligence and natural language processing can be better than humans at switching tasks and sifting through gigabytes of data. A bot can listen to a customer’s needs and help filter through a long list of choices, perform more accurate searches, and finally prompt the customer for relevant information as required. Also, a bot can accumulate targeted feedback during a conversation.
Choosing the Right Bot Development Framework
Businesses can build bots from scratch or use comprehensive frameworks aimed to mass-produce bots. Apart from tech giants like Microsoft and Facebook, there are numerous startups with their own frameworks and specialized offerings that you can use.
Prominent frameworks for building bots include:
Custom bot development is also popular because relying heavily on a platform may come with the risk that the parent company can change its terms and conditions. Also, businesses that lack clarity and development skills to build their own bot should approach a development firm for assistance in creating it.
Connecting the Relevant Systems
A well-designed chatbot should automate routine tasks which are otherwise monotonous for an employee. Thus, a bot should fit into your business model like a traditional employee. A chatbot should have an understanding of the business logic and should easily communicate the end results to the appropriate employees. Don’t expect everyone to come to the bot for answers. The bot should be integrated with internal communication tools such as Trello and Slack. Don’t tell the sales team to log into a chatbot administration console to see what leads have come in; export those directly to the existing sales management tools in use at your business. Also, avoid giving your chatbot an explicit product list that’s certain to continually fall out of date. Instead, connect it to your existing product database.
Though a bot is not a replacement for human-to-human interaction, the development team should make it user-friendly. This requires a conversational logic which understands a user’s perspective in terms of coherence and context. The bot should initiate the conversation and lead it.
Expectations of Failure
Bot conversations can be nonlinear when users ask questions which are not predicted by a bot developer. Thus a plan for failure should be built in by the developer.
The bot design should have the following responses to avoid an unsatisfactory user experience:
Revisit a previous state
Restart a conversation
On failure, politely ask the user what they are trying to accomplish
Sometimes a clearer explanation can get the bot back on track. If not, log the user’s goal and add new paths to the chatbot later to deal with this case. If you can reliably capture the tasks that a user failed to accomplish, you’ll have the data to make the most impactful updates next time you upgrade the bot. Besides automated analytics, explicit feedback from users taken through email or social media may offer insights for application updates.
Chatbots promise a swifter and smarter online experience. Our new virtual assistants will be ever-ready, able to listen to our questions and respond intelligently. If you are willing to take the next technology leap, make sure you check out other relevant chatbot development tools to help you create your own list of best practices.