Chatbots: What You Need to Know and Tips to Build Them

Chat bots have come a long way. More businesses are leveling up with chat bots that engage, interact, and up-sell customers.

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The idea of chatbots may be slightly intimidating for beginners who often have many questions about it. What is a chatbot? Why is it so important? Can I build a chatbot for my business? Those are some questions that may be running through your mind.

Understand that chatbots are here to make our lives easier. And this year going forward is all set to become the year of the bots.

More and more businesses are leveling up with these bots that engage, interact, and up-sell customers. In fact, chat bots have come a long way and are so convenient they can even be integrated into popular messaging platforms like WhatsApp.

Now, a specialized WhatsApp API (Application Programming Interface) can enable rich automated conversational customer experiences and reduce the already affordable cost for communication on WhatsApp. You can drive more customer engagement with rich, interactive and conversational brand experiences using the seamless integration of a chat bot like this one.

In this article, we highlight key insights on what you need to know about chatbots, and how you can use them to boost your business. Let's begin...

What Are Chatbots?

For entrepreneurs, business owners and other creative professionals, you can consider chatbots an ultimate chatting machine for your business.

A chat bot is essentially a computer program with predefined logic. It emulates textual conversation and human speech to deliver greater satisfaction to users. The primary purpose of having a chatbot is to mimic a real-life conversation between two individuals.

Today, chatbots are widely used in customer service where a human was conventionally performing the role. These bots leverage chat mediums like SMS, websites, social media sites like Facebook, and messaging apps like WhatsApp to send and respond to messages. Considering their efficiency, businesses now feel implementing the bots is truly worth it.

How Do Chatbots Work?

A chatbot may resemble a regular app when looking from an architectural perspective. You will typically find an application layer, an optional AI engine, a database, and APIs.

The rich user interface (UI) found in typical mobile applications is absent here. Instead, it is replaced by a chat interface. This interface is governed by a dialogue flow that allows for peer to peer communication.

The chat interface also focuses on user requirement and the best modes to deliver user satisfaction. That makes chatbots quite effective for improving user experience.

Types of Chatbots You Can Use

Modern chatbots come in two different types

  • Rule-based bots that respond to specific commands
  • Bots based on artificial intelligence that respond to natural language.

You will also find a third category – hybrid bots that give you the best of both the worlds.

I) Rule-Based Chatbots

The primary aim of these bots is to provide relevant information to the user. For this, the bot may simply offer suggestions to the user and let him/her choose one. This is followed by a series of questions that gather more user information, while continuing the conversation. This process continues until the bot has all the information necessary to deliver the right data to the user.

This basic version is designed to stick to the business objectives and does not much bother the user. You may find this good enough for user engagement and drive smarter conversions. The complexity increases when there is a provision for the user to input a text message. Now, the bot has to be designed to understand and interpret the inputs correctly.

II) AI Chatbot

Bots powered with artificial intelligence promote conversational dialogues. In fact, building these AI bots is a sophisticated process and includes three protocols:

  1. Data process: This comprises of natural language processing to correctly recognize and interpret free input text. This can be a challenging task since multi-line and multi-objective inputs require serious engineering efforts.
  2. Contextuality: AI bots build a knowledge graph using previous chat conversations. This will help your bot to learn about dialogue dependencies and drive the conversation in the right direction.
  3. Chatbot Training: Your chatbot needs to be trained in new conversations. This can be done through unsupervised methods based on machine learning or in a supervised environment through humans.

From a learning perspective, these bots are user-friendly since the user can steer the conversation as per his/her need. This control over the conversation makes the user reassured and increases the likelihood of a conversion.

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Top Tips to Build a Chatbot Like a Pro

Here are the top three tips on how to build a chatbot and design it to really boost your business’s conversations and engagement:

1. Identify the Goals

Before you jump into building a conversation flow, consider the real-life issues to be handled by your chatbot.

Do you want an informational chatbot? or Do you want it to conduct surveys and collect feedback? Make sure to answer these questions before you can begin with chatbot design.

2. Offer Proactive Suggestions and Tips to the User

Sometimes, the user is at loss of words and does not interact with the bot. So, design your chatbot to be proactive in providing some tips to the user. This helps to kick off the conversation and navigate it in the right direction.

3.Use Avatars to Personify Your Chatbot

Users respond more to faces, and hence, chatbots need to be personified to gain maximum attention.

Choose the right avatar that can be the correct representation of your company. This selection plays a major role in shaping the right perception of your brand.

While this is completely optional, it is always beneficial to add a human touch to your bot.

Conclusion

Ultimately, chatbots are a powerful new medium to carry out meaningful interactions with customers. Use the bots to offer a rich and intuitive experience to your users.

When you integrate chatbots in your business website or mobile app, for example, it will help you gain your customers’ attention and increase engagement and conversions.


David Neeble is a freelance writer who can actually answer yes to the question, “"And from that you make a living?" In his 10+ years as a professional writer, he has worked in proposal management, grant writing, and content creation. He is especially passionate about writing amazing content for various API platforms, of which he has written about how the Whatsapp cost is more cost-effective compared to other communicating platforms.