Chatbots are all the rage right now. You’ve heard of them and read about them but never really thought too deeply about how they work and why they are unique. While understanding the inner workings of chatbots will always be important to grasp their full potential, there are many things to consider before deciding to build one.
7 Tips To Consider Before Building A Chatbot
1. Design the right experience
To build an engaging chatbot, you’ll need to ensure it’s easy to use. You should be able to access it with a single tap or click. The interface should be intuitive enough that it doesn’t require any training or instructions — your customers should be able to figure out how to use it without help from you or anyone else. And if they do get stuck, they shouldn’t have to wait long for an answer or resolution to their problem. It’s also important that the chatbot offers value above and beyond what you’d get from just calling customer service by phone or emailing them directly.
2. Craft effective copy
Chatbots aren’t just a means of adding a conversational interface to an existing app or website. They are also a chance to rethink your marketing strategy and create an entirely new one. For example, Tonya’s company, Aptible, recently built a chatbot that helps people find doctors who accept Medicare plans and deals with insurance companies on their behalf.
“Our goal was to create a better experience for our users,” Tonya says, “but we also wanted to make the process of finding and booking appointments easier for patients who are already stressed out about their health.”
This is where chatbots shine: They can reduce friction by gathering information from users that would otherwise be laborious to enter, such as previous medical history, allergies, and so on. This allows them to provide personalized results that might not be possible with traditional websites or apps.
3. Make it easy to access
Make sure your chatbot is accessible from anywhere and on any device. Integrating your chatbot into your existing website is a great way to do this. For example, if you are using a chatbot as part of a marketing campaign, make sure that it is easy for users to find and access the chatbot at all times. In addition, consider hosting the chatbot on a separate domain or sub-domain so that it can be easily identified and linked to from other web pages or social media accounts.
4. Keep in mind that chatbots can’t do everything
You might think that chatbots can replace your entire customer service team, but unless you have a specific purpose for using one, you should avoid this temptation. Chatbots are designed for simple interactions and routine tasks like scheduling appointments or checking in on the status of an order. However, if a customer has a complex issue — or if they need help with something outside of their previous experience — it could be not easy to communicate their needs in a way that makes sense for the bot.
For instance, if you’re working on a project that requires a lot of complex technical knowledge, it might not be best to use a chatbot. Instead, you should consider using an agent who can communicate with your customers in human language. This is where customer support through live chat comes into the picture. This will help ensure everyone understands the issue and can work together to solve it.
5. Build with security in mind
Chatbots are a new technology, and as such, they have a lot of room to grow and improve. However, like any other software, they can be prone to issues and vulnerabilities.
When building a chatbot, you need to be aware of the risks involved and take steps to mitigate them. For example, bots can be hacked into or manipulated by external forces. To prevent this from happening, you should build the bot with security in mind from day one — this includes using encryption techniques and taking other precautions to keep your users safe.
6. Make sure the bot works offline
Some people rely on chatbots because they don’t have Internet access or because they’re unable to use them at that moment (for example, while driving). If your bot doesn’t work offline, your users will be disappointed and might not come back. To ensure your bot works offline, you can use a solution such as Microsoft Bot Framework, which has built-in support for offline scenarios.
7. Hire a developer to help you out (if necessary)
Building a chatbot from scratch is difficult, even for the most seasoned developers. If you don’t have any coding or designing experience,n it’s best to hire someone to help you build the chatbot. You can use sites like Upwork or Freelancer to find a developer with experience building chatbots. If you’re willing to invest some money into your bot, then this will help ensure that it doesn’t fail.
As we discussed above, chatbots are very capable tools. However, they should be used with care and caution. It might be best to start small and test the waters before diving headfirst into a much larger project. Just because a chatbot is built doesn’t mean that it needs to be implemented—it can often be just as (if not more) effective to use as a model for the kind of interactivity users want.