As the world quickly fell into the pit of what is called the COVID-19 pandemic from late 2019 to early 2020, everyone was left scrambling about how customer service and communication would keep up with the changing world. The answer is easy – remote communication and chatbots.
Customer service agents simply could not keep up with the increasing demand for customer inquiries, and more and more businesses resorted to building chatbots to help them address customer concerns with the help of Artificial Intelligence or AI, especially for repetitive and results-based queries.
But what came with this are endless customer complaints where certain chatbots are just terribly and poorly made – extremely slow response time, they don’t address simple concerns – they just simply don’t work.
In this article, we will give you an essential guide on how to build your chatbot without annoying your customers, consequently improving engagement through effective customer service chatbots.
All About Chatbots
According to Forbes, recent research shows that 72 percent of responders said that interacting with a chatbot is a “complete waste of time,” defeating the purpose of what a chatbot should have been there for – providing improved customer service and increasing customer loyalty.
In theory, a ‘chatbot’ is software designed to conduct online one-on-one conversations with the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI) or Natural Language Processing (NLP) that mimics human conversations.
What makes chatbots unique, especially with the emergence of technology, is that with proper building, they should help resolve customer concerns and provide information without human intervention 24/7.
Chatbots aren’t only limited to text-to-text inputs. Audio inputs or text and audio inputs are also considered chatbots.
Did you know that AI-powered virtual assistants like Alexa and Siri are also considered chatbots?
Types of Chatbots
1. Menu-based chatbots
These are the most common and simple forms of chatbots. Also called “button-based” or “rule-based,” menu-based chatbots present the user with several options to choose from. Depending on the user’s choice, the selected option will prompt another set of options, and so on.
Here is an example of a menu-based chatbot of Cebu Pacific Air‘s chatbot – Charlie.
You can think of it as similar to an automated phone customer service where you are asked to click a number to proceed to the query of your choice – but this time, in chat form.
Charlie chatbot of Cebu Pacific Air
The catch, though? Since menu-based chatbots only require you to make choices over pre-set selections, this will not recognize or answer any typed-in queries from the user.
2. Keyword-based Chatbots
Using Natural Language Processing (NLP), a keyword-based chatbot is a more advanced chatbot that utilizes AI to understand customers’ inputted text and chat through keywords.
Keyword-based chatbots allow for a more natural conversation flow than menu-based chatbots as they give more freedom to customers to type in their concerns rather than choosing aimlessly from pre-set menus.
“We’ve used both menu-based and keyboard-based chatbots for our business, and while they both have their advantages and disadvantages, the ability of keyboard-based chatbots to make customers feel like they are actually conversing plays a key role in customer satisfaction,” says Michael Nemeroff, CEO, and Co-Founder of Rush Order Tees.
3.Contextual or AI Chatbots
Customer service also hugely benefits from the takeover of AI, or Artificial Intelligence, in business processes.
Through Artificial Intelligence, contextual chatbots are capable of deriving ‘context’ from a conversation. Unlike the previous types, contextual chatbots don’t need to recognize a specific word to be able to answer a query.
Specifically, contextual or AI chatbots can assess a customer’s shopping history, search queries, or conversation history with the seller and take all of these into consideration before sending a response.
Now that you know what kind of chatbots are at your disposal, how do you actually make one?
1. Determine your purpose
Before creating a chatbot, it is important to be clear about what it is for.
- What problem am I trying to solve for my customers?
- Who is it targeted to?
- What information do I want my chatbot to give my clients and potential market?
The common problem users encounter with chatbots is that most, if not all, never give the answers they need, even when chatbots are supposed to be quick customer service assistants instead of actual humans.
According to Logan Mallory, VP of Motivosity, “Organizations should avoid a ‘jack of all trades but master of none’ chatbots – those that never really give value to your customers. Determining the purpose of your chatbot from the get-go allows you to decide what kind of chatbot to develop and what kind of information to give based on your potential customer’s queries in your market.“
2. Get a chatbot platform
There are countless chatbot platforms in the market that allow you to create your desired kind of chatbot. As there are numerous chatbot platforms, here are what you need to consider before choosing:
- Type of chatbot desired. Different chatbot platforms have different specializations. If you are leaning towards AI chatbots, consider bot builders that allow you to leverage advanced analytics or Natural Language Processing (NLP) for a better customer experience.
- No coding chatbot platforms. Chatbot platforms exist, so organizations don’t have to use mindless coding to provide advanced customer service. Most chatbot platforms operate in a drag-or-drop bot builder with ready-to-use templates so you can create your chatbots in a matter of minutes.
- Organization type. Some chatbot platforms specialize and are more suited for specific industries and organization types, like SMBs and SMEs, or for sales or customer service.
- Integration with 3rd party applications. Look for chatbot platforms that allow you to integrate with major third-party applications for social media apps like Facebook Messenger, Instagram, or webchat, and eCommerce integration like Shopify.
- Different chatbot platforms are available at various price points, depending on your desired features.
Mark Pierce, CEO of Cloud Peak Law Group, says, “Determining the use case for your chatbot and assessing the right platform that best serves your purpose is the only trick you need to know in making a successful chatbot. Chatbot platforms have eliminated the need for complicated coding, making chatbot creating a breeze in the park for anyone.“
3. Design your chatbot conversation flow
After figuring out your chatbot type and platform, setting up your conversation flow is the most crucial step in making a chatbot – and probably takes the longest.
Don’t fret, though, because there are many tools to help build your own chatbot, and most chatbot platforms have made creating conversation flow, or conversation blocks, easy to do with step by step instructions.
For example, Landbot gives you a preview of what your actual rule-based or menu-based chatbot would look like while working on it, with each ‘conversation block” customizable to your preference, dragging and dropping each block to create a new set of blocks in the conversation.
Mobile Monkey allows you to create conversation flows through dialogues and Q&A through their bot builder.
Through the bot builder, you can create your conversation flow by customizing a welcome message and specifying an input type (this decides whether you’ll create a menu-based chatbot or a chatbot that recognizes keywords from freeform text from the users) and creating multiple-choice answers and branches of conversations.
According to Priyam Chawla, Marketing Manager at Jolly SEO, “Growing your organization is highly dependent on customer experience. Leveraging technology and AI to create conversation flows that effectively address customer concerns without human intervention is a huge step towards lead generation, cost reduction, and organizational growth."
4. Deploy your chatbot
Once all systems are in place (including previewing and testing your chatbots because the last thing you would want is a faulty chatbot!), it’s time to deploy these chatbots to the world!
If you want to deploy your chatbots on your website, you can click the ‘share’ button through your bot builders and have them pop up on your website as a full-page chat, a pop-up, an embedded function, or a live chat.
You can also integrate your chatbots into your social media messaging applications like Facebook Business Page, Instagram, or Twitter messaging, or integrate them with eCommerce apps like Shopify.
Chatbots and Customer Service
Modern technology has significantly improved how social media influences customers and how organizations provide effective and efficient customer service. With a functional goal of improving service quality, chatbots aim to improve service performance and fulfill customers’ expectations.
Chatbots have become an essential core function of an organization’s customer service program, and with society getting more technologically advanced, the demand for better-quality chatbots should not be undermined.