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Creating the right chatbot for your business

Posted: 2 August 2017 | By Abhisekh Kumar

Chatbots have emerged as the flavor of the season, or so it seems when you speak to technology enthusiasts.

In 2016, one of the hottest trends in technology was the Chatbot, with nearly 54% of new users taking to the said technology. The rise of the Chatbot is a direct result of changing user behaviour and maturing of enabling technologies. At the moment, Chatbots are essentially replacing individual apps.

For instance, rather than closing Facebook Messenger and opening Uber, you can simply message in Messenger and ask for a ride. The top 3 industries that will adopt Chatbots this year include Retail, BFSI and Healthcare as per the Chatbot Journal Survey 2017.

There are a few unusual Chatbots out there which are funny and witty in every instance. Hi Poncho is a weather update chatbot which adds a ray of witty, charming, comical sunshine to your rainy/snowy/windy/misty day. Fatherly’s Dad Joke chatbot is coming to the rescue for all dads who don’t really know any funny and age appropriate jokes.

These personable Chatbots become quite prolific, and can be a great example of smart content marketing coupled with efficient customer service. But creating a Chatbot shouldn’t be about coming up with a gimmick. You need to take some fundamental steps before you can take those big leaps.

Prototype your Chatbots Purpose

When developing Chatbots, it is important to find the purpose for which it is being created. The Chatbots used for business are transactional and have a specific purpose which needs to be well-defined. They follow a strict set of rules and regulations and have to fit into an existing architecture and framework.

Chatbots have a diverse skill set, from the ability to perform simple services like scheduling to having conversational interfaces with a bit of basic natural language processing connected to a decision tree. So the more conversational and quicker it is, the better the customer experience.

According to the Chatbot Journal Survey 2017, 95% of the respondents believed that Customer Experience is the space where the Chatbots would have the highest impact. In cases where a manual intervention is required, the Chatbot should be programmed to intelligently steer the conversation to a human agent.

Companies should look at their own business and the purpose for such transformations at first; since the return on such investments will be very low if companies implement such a solution without purpose. They should see what value they can derive by implementing Chatbots into their end solution and whether it is actually solving a problem such as improving customer experience or agent productivity.

Businesses should look at Chatbots in a strategic way which will greatly improve customer service and help in reducing costs incurred due to manual effort in the long run. Most of the users of any platform would want to use a Chatbot to quickly find the information they want and therefore companies should see whether they will get this value from their development.

The Chatbot Developers’ Challenge

More than 75% of developers believe that the resources to develop a Chatbot are easily available with all the big giants ready to provide the platforms. As a Chatbot developer, it can feel overwhelming to develop and target so many messaging SDKs at the same time.

Most of the frameworks boast of the fact that they can be developed once and deployed anywhere. That would mean that this one-size-fits-all-solution must conform to the lowest common denominator and must be supported on all platforms. To achieve this, the user experience should not be compromised and further development done to add new features should match the customer expectations while staying within the confines of the existing ecosystem.

The platform should be in a position to expose the width and depth of knowledge for the Chatbot to consume, learn and intelligently find answers to similar questions asked in different ways. Also Self-service problem resolution by machine learning bots will drastically reduce repetitive human effort, which makes it value for the cost incurred.

So in order to achieve the optimal efficiency out of a Chatbot you will need an open source and light weight architecture that makes it easier to program Chatbots. This way, you have the flexibility to add features specific to each bot platform, while the framework still abstracts away common boilerplate code such as security, logging, analytics, caching, and API integration.

Businesses believe that 67% of mobile applications will be replaced by Chatbots in the next five years with 75% planning to buy a Chatbot for their business in 2017. So in the next offering, Chabots are in for a change in a major way with the introduction of more powerful forms of artificial intelligence and machine learning combined with new UX channels like voice, video and virtual reality.

These bots will ultimately be unleashed on visible digital data, with vast computing power and cutting-edge algorithms to make sense of it all, and also provide the ability to use this knowledge to converse with us about the world in a deeply meaningful and entertaining way. The future of the Chatbot is indeed very interesting.

Abhisekh Kumar is a Senior Technical Manager and a Digital Platform Architect in the Digital Transformation Space at Happiest Minds Technologies

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