Chatbots have become an almost essential part of business now. We see them on social channels and websites alike. As technology grows and allows us to do more, we can build a better customer experience. It’s not about replacing the human connection between businesses and customers, but giving people a range of options. Bots for business are a good way to make yourself more accessible to customers who don’t have the time or desire to engage in lengthy phone calls or email trades.
So, how do you build bots for business? Let’s look at the steps you should take before jumping into any bot-building of your own.
Set your goals
Understanding your goals is crucial when building bots for business. The simple reason is you don’t want to overspend or underspend. If you decide on a cheap DIY bot that really can’t achieve your business goals, you’ve wasted time and money. Conversely, if you spend too much on a bot that you don’t really need, you won’t get a good return on investment.
Chatbots can be simple or extremely complex depending on the technology being used. So, define your goals clearly first. Do you just want the bot to answer a few basic questions and direct customers around your website? Or do you need something more intuitive to nurture customers toward a sale?
Decide on the right bot for your business
Once you know your reasons for developing a bot, you can investigate the different types out there. You can get simple button bots, for example, that have built-in questions with answer buttons that guide the conversation. Next, you can invest in bots with natural language processing. These are more able to understand human commands, allowing the customer to type their specific requests. Furthermore, you could look at chatbots with full artificial intelligence and machine learning. They still need to be programmed, of course, but they get better with use. They can even access other databases, such as checking for stock levels, pricing or shipping charges.
Ultimately, it’s all about creating the right experience for your customers. One tip is to include a hand-off function. This allows the bot to direct the customer to a human if it can’t handle the customer’s requests. That way, your customers get the best of both worlds.
Custom or off-the-shelf?
Did you know you can actually build chatbots yourself? There are plenty of companies out there offering ‘build your own’ chatbot solutions. You can even build them within your social channels such as Facebook and Instagram. These can be great additions to your business, however, you probably won’t get the full functionality that a custom bot can deliver.
Again, it comes down to how much you want to spend and whether investing in excellent chatbot technology is worthwhile for your needs. If not, you may be happy with an off-the-shelf solution. Bear in mind, however, that you’ll need to spend a lot of time programming it to perform the tasks you need it to.