Understanding Chatbots - The beginner’s Guide

Megha Baweja
|
5
min read
Understanding Chatbots - The beginner’s Guide

What is a chatbot?

A chatbot is a program that can hold a conversation with a human user through various channels, such as on web or on other messaging platforms. Chatbots answer user queries and can execute simple tasks without the interference of humans.

Why Chatbots?

Most of the businesses nowadays are moving towards chatbots as they provide new opportunities to improve customer engagement processes. Chatbots also provide operational efficiency by reducing the cost of customer service.

However, live agents play an important role in customer support as well. Regardless of how well chatbots handle customer queries, human intervention is needed to configure, train and optimize a chatbot.

Here’s our beginner’s guide to chatbots to help you better understand this powerful software.

The beginner’s guide to understanding chatbots

Chatbot Builder

A chatbot builder is a platform that allows you to build chatbots with very low or 0 coding.They help you create and design various conversation flows and define corresponding actions. They also have the ability to analyze interactions.

However, on the technical side, they use a mixture of AI and machine learning algorithms to make the bots understand the conversation, process the text and extract information, and respond to the user while preserving the context of the conversation.

NLU, or Natural Language Understanding, is used to understand what’s being said, or the meaning of the captured, unstructured data. 

NLP, or Natural Language Processing, turns the user text into structured data.

And NLG, or Natural Language Generation turns the structured data into text that a human can understand. 

What is Artificial intelligence and machine learning?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is an area of computer science which is sometimes described as machine intelligence. It allows chatbots to perform tasks that usually require human intelligence, like decision making, language translation, or speech recognition.

Machine learning (ML) is the ability for systems, like chatbots, to learn from the past experiences by identifying the patterns in human language. It is a branch of AI. 

Thanks to machine learning, properly programmed AI chatbots can be improved over time with minimal human supervision.

Chat Widget

It is usually a little box installed on the corner of your website.

Visitors on the website can get instant and fast support through a chat widget which makes it easier to connect with your business.

Utterance

Anything that a user says or asks a chatbot is utterance. For example, a user asking a query like, “What’s the weather like in California?” is utterance.

Intent

Intent is what a user is trying to ask a chatbot. For instance in the example given above the user wants to know the temperature of California at the moment they ask.

Entity

Entities are the keywords in a user's utterance that makes the intent of the user more clear or basically adds value to the intent. In the above example entities are “weather” and “California.”

Attribute

Attributes are described as packages that include information (e.g., name, email, phone number) a chatbot collects while chatting with a user. Attributes help a chatbot to personalize its responses.

Bot: Please enter your Name.
User: Hi, I am Maggie.
Bot: Welcome Maggie, How can I help you?

API

API stands for Application Programming Interface. It’s a toolset that lets two apps communicate with each other’s services and allows developers to integrate new apps into existing software.

Webhooks

Webhooks, also known as Web Callbacks, are automated API responses. They allow you to connect your chatbot to web services and pass and retrieve data through them. Hence, providing capabilities to have an efficient communication between your chatbot and web services. Unlike typical APIs, webhooks provide channels with real time information.

Integrations

Software integration is the process of two or more applications being connected. For example, with various integrations, you can connect your chatbot with apps like Facebook Messenger, Slack, WhatsApp, Teams etc. with no coding.

Greeting

Greetings are the initial messages the bot sends to the user. As truly said, First impression matters hence the way of initial greeting matters as it provides opportunity to provide a strong first impression.

Fallback

Fallbacks are the default messages that are sent to the user when the chatbot doesn’t know how to respond to the user's query.

For Example

Bot: Sorry, I did not get you, please try asking your question in another way.

Transfer to Agent

Transfer is an action that redirects a user conversing with the chatbot to a live agent. It can be triggered when the user’s problem is beyond the scope of the chatbots. The agents take up the conversation from there.

For Example

Bot: Sorry, I did not understand your query. Would you like to speak to an agent?

Type “Yes” or “No”

Quick Responses

Quick responses are short instant messages that provide users with possible options. They help users make their decision faster and also improve the flow of the conversation.

The reply suggestions are displayed below the message. Selecting a quick reply is optional, and the user can still type another answer.

Copy bot

It’s a feature that allows you to make a replica of an existing chatbot. It is helpful when you need to build a more complex chatbot flow but you don’t want to start it from scratch.

Bot Training

Training the bot is one of the most crucial aspects of building a chatbot. The way your chatbot responds to your customers depends on how you train it. 

Here are some factors to consider when building your chatbot.

1. Keep in mind your target persona

It's very important to understand the persona of your audience.

You need to know your chatbot's audience to build the bots flows accordingly.

To understand who your targeted user is, you need to collect and analyze the user data you already have. If you don’t have all the information you can also send out surveys or interview your users to fill in gaps.

2. Let the real users test your bot

Now, you need to test your chatbot. The best way to test chatbot is to have a conversation with it. Pay attention to aspects like Bot Flows, User Experience, Response Speed, Chatbot’s Accuracy, Fallbacks, and what happens when bot doesn’t understand a query.

3. Create proper datasets to train your bot

You can create a data set with current information you have about the persona and the type of audience or use the old data from your current customer support. Use the interactions data to analyze frequently asked questions or the questions, words, phrases your chatbot need to understand.

4. Optimize low-scored answers

Regular maintenance on your chatbot is crucial, too. A team of people should constantly review how well each answer performs so that they can improve those that aren’t doing well.

5. Don’t forget to keep improving your chatbot even after the launch

Don’t forget that you need to maintain and improve your chatbot constantly even after the launch. Keep a close look at its interactions with users and find the areas your chatbot is having trouble with and fix them.

It’s time to transform the way you operate your business

Chatbots are drastically changing the way the businesses operate nowadays. They drive efficiency, improve productivity, and lead to happier customers. 

Register with Engati to learn more about our conversational automation solutions.

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