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If you’ve ever landed on a website, you’re probably familiar with that icon in the bottom corner of your screen. Sometimes it flashes, sometimes it dings. However, if you were to return to the website, you can always rely on it to greet you with a “how can I help you today?” This greeting is the catalyst of many customer-brand relationships, thanks to the website chatbot.
Chatbots are one of the most powerful tools a business can use. When used well, it creates connections and it helps customers out.
We hope you enjoy this guide to chatbots!
What are chatbots?
A chatbot is a type of software that can automate conversations and interact with people through messaging platforms. It will use either pre-programmed responses or artificial intelligence; in the latter case, it will handle more complex conversations than the former chatbot.
Here’s an example.
Say you’re on WhatsApp, making plans with a friend, and you remembered that you needed to purchase something from IKEA. While you could open your browser to look up its opening hours, wouldn’t it be easier if you could find out without switching tabs?
That’s why IKEA decided to deploy a WhatsApp chatbot.
Bots can communicate through different platforms, including Facebook Messenger, chat windows on your website, mobile applications, or even messaging platforms, such as WhatsApp, as IKEA did, or even Telegram and many others.
They have the potential to communicate like us, almost on the verge of simulating real artificial intelligence. However, most chatbots haven't advanced to that level yet, and customers don’t mind. As long as the chatbot can complete their tasks, give responses to their basic needs, and work 24/7- that’s all that matters.
“There is a lot of potential here, and they will keep improving with time, supporting businesses with customer support, marketing, sales, lead generation, and even human resources assistance.”
We know that you have many queries like - Where do chatbots come from? Do all chatbots use AI? Do chatbots use NLP? Are chatbots the future? Hold up! We will answer them all in due time. Keep reading ahead to uncover all these mysteries.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s further break down the mechanisms and workings of AI chatbots to guide you toward building the best chatbot for your business!
Chatbots are everywhere!
Marketing has seen a massive shift- Moving from large billboards to TV screens to your fingertips. We’ve moved from watching passively to engaging actively. This shift can be attributed to the rising popularity of smartphones amongst millennials. If you didn’t know, millennials are thriving in the text-message era. They were raised in a digitally-saturated world. Nowadays, we see texting outrank phone calls as the dominant form of communication among millennials.
These millennials take up the majority of the American workforce and are becoming the primary buyers and decision-makers. Since they live in the text-message era, shouldn’t you?
Chatbots allow you to pinpoint their queries and deliver relevant answers rather than scrolls and click-to-find the information customers and decision-makers are looking for. Gartner predicts that chatbots will handle over 85% of questions in 2021.
Of course, bots eliminate the need for traditional call channels, inconsistent customer service, and wait and drop times. You can integrate these chatbots on your website or any other social media platform to be present wherever your customers and employees are.
56% of people prefer to message than speak to customer service.
- Microsoft report on future of chatbots
But first, where did chatbots originate from?
The history of chatbots
Throughout modern history, we’ve been obsessed with interacting with robots and artificial intelligence. And towards the latter half of the 20th Century, this dream started becoming a reality. Starting with ELIZA in the 1960s to Alexa and beyond.
The year was 1950. During World War II, Alan Turing, was one of the most prominent breakers of German code. He issued an open challenge to the computer scientists of the world. It came to be known as the Turing Test. Turing challenged scientists to create a program that would be indistinguishable from a human in a Natural Language conversation.
A panel of human judges would converse anonymously, in text form, with a computer program and a human operating a computer. They would try to determine which of the participants is a human and which is the program. This one challenge has been the reason behind the development of thousands of chatbots. It is due to this test that we can chronicle the history of chatbots.
Fast-forward to 1966, and we see Joseph Weizenbaum at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and his creation- ELIZA. ELIZA chatbot assumed the persona of a psychotherapist.
She managed this by passing the words entered by users through a program and pairing them with scripted responses. She didn’t manage to pass the Turing Test. But she did manage to do something unexpected. ELIZA got users to trust her enough to confide some of their deep thoughts in her.
6 years later, psychiatrist Kenneth Colby released PARRY. ELIZA acted as a psychotherapist, PARRY, however, played the role of a patient dealing with paranoid schizophrenia. Colby essentially considered his creation to be, ”ELIZA with attitude.”
In a variation of the Turing Test, PARRY shocked its testers. Only about 48% of psychiatrists were able to differentiate between PARRY and an actual paranoid person.
The following year, in January 1973, Vint Cerf decided to bring them head-to-head. Vint created a ‘computadora e computadora’ situation. With ELIZA at MIT and PARRY at Stanford University, he used ARPANET to make ELIZA give PARRY a psychotherapy session.
This conversation was one of the first milestones in the history of chatbots.
Created in 1988, Jabberwacky attempted to stimulate natural human conversations in an entertaining manner. Created by British programmer Rollo Carpenter, it used an AI technique called ‘contextual pattern matching.’ It differentiated itself from all previous chatbots which had static databases.
It did something completely new by collecting phrases that human users utilized and adding them to its database. Rollo wanted Jabberwacky to be more of an entertainer and a companion than an assistant. He aimed to develop artificial intelligence that could beat the Turing Test.
Carpenter envisioned Jabberwacky to be a talking pet of sorts. Almost a decade after he created it, it was released to the internet in 1997. Jabberwacky set a new precedent for technological growth, gaining popularity among academics and research institutes. Dr. Sbaitso
In 1992, Dr. Sbaitso was created for MS-Dos. It had a fully voice-operated chat program. Dr. Sbaitso was developed to showcase its ability to generate a synthesized voice with sound cards. It simulated a conversation with a psychologist. Since most of the questions it asked were ‘Why do you feel that way?’, it avoided more complicated interactions.
A.L.I.C.E. (Artificial Linguistic Internet Computer Entity) uses heuristic pattern matching to converse. Through Artificial Intelligence Markup Language (AIML), A.L.I.C.E. managed to have more human-sounding conversations. Developed in 1995, it served as Spike Jones’ muse for his critically acclaimed film ‘Her.’ It wasn’t able to pass the Turing Test. But, A.L.I.C.E. was still the most advanced bot of its time and holds much significance in the history of chatbots.
The advent of the new millennium ushered in a lot of exciting, new chatbots. These chatbots evolved from pattern recognition technologies to machine learning and other advanced algorithms.
Due to this, they were able to learn from their interactions with humans. The history of chatbots took a whole new turn, with conversational agents beginning to display a new kind of intelligence.
2001 brought Smarterchild to the world. Smarterchild resided in the AOL IM and MSN Messenger lists of millions of people. It could do anything from holding a conversation to giving you stock quotes and sports scores. This helpful bot was the predecessor to all of the widely available virtual assistants that we know and love because of these capabilities.
5 years later, IBM came up with a chatbot that would compete on the TV show ‘Jeopardy!’. WATSON even ended up beating a couple of the show’s former champions. It demonstrated the power and potential that conversational agents hold.
The last decade gave us personal assistants like Siri and Google Now. The world got chatbots that could perform tasks on behalf of their human users. From placing calls to setting reminders, even looking up the web, personal assistant chatbots can do it all. Amazon released Alexa in 2015.
Integrated into their Echo devices, Alexa holds voice interaction capabilities to perform tasks prompted by voice commands. However, Alexa’s voice capabilities are far from perfect. Keeping that in mind, we at Engati provide our very own voice integrated chatbots with higher reliability.
2016 and 2017 were the years in which bots gained prominence on several messaging platforms. Facebook, WhatsApp, Kik, Telegram, Skype, Teams, Slack, and several other messaging platforms allowed bots to interact with users over these platforms. Users are now spending more of their time online on messaging platforms than on mainstream social media itself.
Therefore, it has become essential for businesses to meet their customers where they prefer to spend their time online.
How do chatbots work?
A chatbot acts as an intermediary that imitates human conversations by initiating chats instantaneously and responding tirelessly to the user queries at any point in time.
All the working chatbots today are mainly based on this model:
The knowledge base provides real-time, personalized customer experience to reach and retain customers. Check out this article to learn more about the knowledge base.
The NLP layer consists of two systems; NLU, Natural Language Understanding, and NLG, Natural Language Generation. The NLU system analyzes the different aspects of the language. While the NLG system maps the given input in natural language into a useful representation
To train a chatbot effectively, it needs data and AI. AI is what powers the chatbots to learn from the queries and text provided. Training a chatbot is an on-going process, so the data needs to be kept in a store for the chatbot to continue automated learning.
Why do businesses need to consider Chatbots?
Chatbots are a business’ best-friend! They’re loyal, never call in sick, and work on the clock, without any breaks. They’re also affordable, fully customizable, and can facilitate any business. Here are a few reasons why businesses need to consider chatbots.
The benefits of chatbots
Another change the world of business is undergoing is the shift from product-centricity towards customer-centricity. Any tool that can enhance customer experience while fostering brand loyalty is the way forward. Here are 4 benefits of using chatbots.
AI chatbots employ the use of machine learning to know people better. They are therefore able to offer a personalized experience to customers based on the information that they gather.
Chatbots respond to customers’ demands faster than human agents can. Due to the way they’re programmed, their precision provides customers with the information they need. A chatbot accelerates communication which leads to an increase in the number of purchases made. With chatbots, your service delivery is faster, and this efficiency is a crucial factor in enhancing the customer experience.
You can also use bots to increase your company’s credibility by sending out the latest industry news to your customers ahead of your competitors.
Since chatbots are machines, they don’t need breaks as humans do. They are alert 24/7 and are always working. Another advantage that the bots have is handling multiple requests and chats simultaneously without making a mistake. It's an absolute win-win situation. You can expend your human resources on other parts of your business to increase productivity while the bots support your customers on-demand. This saves their time and makes your teams much happier).
P.S. Here’s our list of the 10 best chatbot features!
Although it is impossible to replace humans with chatbots in customer service relations, some reports already show that using chatbots reduces the amount you spend on customer service by as much as 29%. It is also easier to develop a chatbot than it is to create an app. Startups and small businesses that do not have enough yet to fund a customer relations department would find chatbots useful.
Customer support Chatbots can work round the clock to provide quick and relevant responses to a customer’s queries. This is, therefore, a factor in increasing the satisfaction of the customer at the business. In a survey carried out in November 2017, 64% of 1000 US adults preferred getting help from a chatbot at any time of the day. 43% of them claimed that the chatbots resold their complaints faster.
In an ideal world, customers demand immediate service, self-service options, and personalized care. With a chatbot, they get exactly that. Results-driven communication, an answer to every question, in a space (and language) convenient for them!
Types of Chatbots
Chatbots can be classified either based on the deployment platform or capability.
Based on the deployment platform, we have 3 types of chatbots;
1. Those built into messengers
2. Those that use standalone applications
3. Those deployed over a website.
When it comes to capability, we have:
1. Keyword Recognition chatbots
2. Menu/Button chatbots
3. Contextual chatbots
4. Hybrid chatbots.
There are a couple of different ways that chatbots can be programmed. The most rudimentary form is rules-based.
Rules-based chatbots, also known as linguistic-based chatbots, are an excellent tool for automating customer service for specific situations. The conversation is driven by the use of particular keywords or through suggested responses.
Rules-based chatbots use a basic form of Natural Language Processing. They create conversation flows using an if/then logic. It’s very much a black and white approach to conversing, so interactions are very structured. At best, these types of chatbots work as an interactive FAQ section.
However, Rules-based Chatbots have their drawbacks
Rules-based chatbots are best-used for transactional interactions. It acts based on a set of defined rules. It’s a simple approach, to begin with, but it fails in handling more complex questions.
Variations of questions have to be inputted for a chatbot to understand what we’re trying to say. For example, a chatbot is trained to understand and answer the question, “Where’s my pizza?” But if a user were to ask a variation of this like, “When is my pizza arriving?” the bot will not understand the user’s intent unless it’s trained to do so.
If you decide to deploy a rules-based chatbot, be honest about its capabilities. It can only handle a few simple inquiries, so be sure to input a way for the user to contact a live agent via email or by calling.
Menu-based chatbots are a variant of the rules-based chatbot, where instead of the customer typing information out, it’s presented as buttons. It’s a great tool to use when interactions are transactional. Say you’re looking through a catalog, or you’re looking at order status.
They’re limited by their lack of critical understanding and flexibility. These bots can only automate situations that they have learned and are likely to arise.
Now what are AI-powered chatbots exactly? AI-powered chatbots have evolved from incorporating basic NLP to using Machine Learning. Through Machine Learning techniques, the chatbot can learn from its own experience to deliver better experiences to your customers.. Hence, to build a full-fledged chatbot manually, you will have to program these AI applications in it.
While making smart chatbots, a builder has to comprise conversational dialogue training. Such dialogue training is done with artificial intelligence, hence the name “AI chatbots.” The building process of all AI chatbots is straightforward, mainly comprising of these three protocols:
Data processing is a multi-step natural language processing workflow to recognize and infer free input text correctly. This process requires serious engineering efforts when the input is multi-line/multi-objective.
Context helps the program to learn the interdependence between dialogues and the course of actions so that chatbots can drive the conversation in the right direction. The chatbot keeps the availability of previous chat conversations (message logs) in check to build knowledge graphs.
Providing training to learn new conversations at all times to improve chatbots performance with the help of unsupervised methods based on machine learning techniques.
Another approach to building bots would be opting for services that render you a substructure to build your chatbots on, without the need for any coding or programming. In this process, a bot builder uses one single code that everyone can use on all the platforms available. They consist of all the necessary and advanced elements pre-built in the substructure that lets you build a chatbot that stands out in the competitive market out there.
A common question that gets asked when building an AI chatbot is:
Why do AI and data matter when it comes to chatbots?
A rule-based chatbot is built with a basic NLP system. Its NLU can only understand phrases when they're said exactly as they're told, and its NLG will only generate the same response, allowing no room for personalization. The machine learning capabilities in an AI chatbot enable it to understand your customers and their queries. AI powers the chatbot to learn from the interaction and improve each response depending on your customer's reactions.
Advanced Chatbot capabilities
The capabilities of chatbots are endless. Unlike an agent, they have infinite patience (and memory). While an agent can feel frustrated interacting with a difficult customer, a chatbot can calmly resolve the issue to keep your agents at ease.
Their memory capabilities are far more advanced than any human. Any detail fed to the chatbot can be used to deliver personalized interactions to your customers.
Here’s a list of some more advanced capabilities of a chatbot.
The value AI-powered Chatbots bring to businesses
Businesses usually use chatbots for lead generation, increasing conversions, and customer support. In terms of lead generation, a business chatbot can help automate your messaging strategy if you already have one in place. A business chatbot can help you convert more leads by reducing response rates.
For sales, chatbots can help your business sell your service or product by guiding, educating, and helping your customers through the sales process. Finally, a chatbot can help your business by answering questions in real-time, at a quicker pace than your employees could.
Chatbots are bringing a new way for businesses to communicate with the world and, most importantly, with their customers with the help of exploding popularity of messaging apps, the accelerated development of all kinds of sensors and wearables, and of course, with the rise of emerging technologies and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
- Digital Doughnut on benefits of chatbots.
How can industries benefit from chatbots?
Before deciding whether or not a business chatbot is right for your business, it’s crucial to ask yourself if you have a messaging strategy in place. And if you receive the same inquiries frequently from your customers or potential clients. Consider if your audience is already using WhatsApp Messenger and if they’re technologically savvy enough to use a WhatsApp chatbot without concerns. Finally, think about whether you have the resources to set up a chatbot and monitor its performance. If your answers are positive to these questions, then you should look into getting a chatbot.
Industries that need staff for performing repetitive processes are the best ones to utilize the benefits of a chatbot. Though certain communications can only be taken by human touch, chatbots can still overtake industries. Like marketing, sales, e-commerce, customer support and management, talent, and employee engagement. In all practical ways, this allows a reduction in overhead expenses and increased efficiency.
Applications of Chatbots
Sales & Marketing
As the world moves away from billboards and closer to screens, many businesses use social media to connect with customers. However, having dedicated teams for each social media isn't feasible, so chatbots fill in the gaps. Many organizations use chatbots as a catalyst for brand communication, lead generation, and nurture warm leads.
Here are the key aspects of digital marketing channels that chatbots can automate:
Engage and qualify leads
Use your chatbots to show website visitors a simple prompt – like “Let us know if you have any questions” – or even a welcome video to open up the door for conversation. Bots can then ask further questions to collect basic qualification details like email and company size.
Send high-intent leads directly to sales
Visitors who spend minutes on your pricing page or click the “Get more info” button likely show interest in your product. Use your chatbot to qualify instantly and book a call with your sales team.
Nurture and upsell users
If you offer free trials, bots can help users who haven’t completed their setup and check in with people whose trials are about to end. For customers, let them know about new features and connect them to the Sales reps if they’re interested in upgrading.
So far, the entertainment industry is the largest industry to privilege a chatbot. The news and media publishing companies have been using chatbots to share their content based on customer needs to a Doc Brown bot that was developed to promote the movie’s anniversary. Publishers and big media brands could share sponsored and branded content through bots.
We have to integrate chatbots with the e-health records to start with the basic patient data. With time, they can use the data to provide patient information. Determining basic symptoms and matching them with known ailments is also something that the bots will become good at with time.
Doctors do their best to be available all the time and dedicate enough attention to each patient. But the problem is, doctors are usually on a tight schedule, and being available for every patient is impossible at times. Hence, chatbots came into work! Healthcare Chatbots are available 24/7 and are dedicated to assisting patients through their recovery. While the doctors save many more lives out there, this chatbot can help you in tasks such as reminding you about your medicines, provide medical information, give you tips, and monitor your overall well-being.
They have a question; your chatbot has the answer
Are chatbots really intelligent? Educating your customers is simple with a chatbot. These chatbots are intelligent enough to answer any question, especially with the introduction of DocuSense technology. Now, you can simply upload your files with all the relevant information about all the medicines you are supplying, and the DocuSense technology scans through the document and pulls the relevant answers.
Chatbots really are the perfect knowledge base. And as a result, the interactions boost engagement rates and sales.
Builds a rapport with the patients and provides assistance
Imagine one of your patients has fallen ill but can’t describe what they’re feeling. What would they do? They’d start by looking up their symptoms online, and you know how that turns out. They would most likely land on a page that scares them further and stresses them out even more.
Now, imagine another situation where this patient had an assistant that walks through their symptoms in real-time. This assistant could also help with appointment booking, finding a doctor, and more. That’s precisely why your patients need a health bot!
All chatbots in the medical line have to be presented rightly and made as attractive as possible. When a patient visits your website, your chatbot needs to give them a warm greeting and help them through the symptoms, predict potential diagnosis, and provide them the option of booking an appointment with you directly. They also take in user information by asking them questions, which gets stored for any form of reference and personalized experience. This is how chatbots build a good rapport with your patients.
As previously discussed, chatbots can help patients book appointments directly from your website chatbot. Not just that, they can also assign a relevant doctor to your patient, send the doctor an email with patient information and create a slot in both the patient as well as the doctor's calendar. This way, people can schedule online appointments almost instantly and hassle-free!
The automobile industry is another place where a chatbot can show high levels of efficiency and save expenses. The industry is very customer-centric and is based on queries ranging from basic to important. A chatbot can help a customer solve queries in a better and faster way. Moreover, automobile recall notices have a chance of being delivered directly and a higher chance of being read and acted on with the help of bots.
Customers expect lightning-fast responses and want the purchase process to be quick and seamless. Moreover, the surge in mobile e-commerce has raised the bar as organizations need to accommodate ever higher volumes of traffic. Chatbots come as an indispensable tool here. One that allows businesses to attract clients one-on-one that too in a personalized manner.
Provides personalized suggestions
AI chatbots remember the past interactions of the users and use them further to customize future conversations. Moreover, bots can keep the focus on customers while promoting the products or services. Plus, by personalizing the services, you boost the engagement rate while saving customers’ time by promoting relevant products.
Records real-time interactions
AI chatbots enable e-commerce businesses to get hands-on real-time user interaction. They can analyze information to improve the services as per the user input. The instant access to critical data reduces the operation cost and maximizes a business’s efficiency and functioning.
Eases customer executives
As chatbots can handle 80% of the repeated queries of the customer, they can help customer care executives keep the locus of support to solve complex queries. By addressing complex queries with priority, you can win more customers while reducing the operation cost. Allows customers to browse and compare products with ease
The most effective way to engage and convey messages to users is through 1-to-1 conversations. E-commerce companies allow the users to compare products and filter them as per their requirements. With all the information printed on the screen, customers often struggle to find the factors influencing them to buy a product.
On the other hand, AI chatbots help users understand the basic difference between the products and which one can be best for them as per their requirements.
By commanding the E-commerce chatbot, a customer can ask to filter out specific information. This gives them a sense of command as well as making the process easier.
Insurance companies have been able to uplift their services, communication, efficiency, and customer support by incorporating chatbots into their workflows.
Process claims faster
As part of efforts to make claims smoother for policyholders, chatbots can help out in processing claims. When customers need to file claims, they can do so fast (and 24/7) via a chatbot. The chatbot will then pass on that information to an agent for further processing.
This use case helps reduce the time it takes to process claims. The number of claim filings that your organization can handle increases, too, because humans don’t need to scramble to service every single customer directly. That’s especially useful in times when claims are so numerous that they make it difficult for policyholders to get through to your call center (e.g., in cases of natural disasters).
Help in finding the right insurance policy
Chatbots assist clients in choosing the right insurance policy. By collecting large amounts of data, they can provide all the educational support needed to understand each product. With all the collected data, chatbots are capable of tailoring products according to each consumer's needs. After helping them decide on a product, they can further assist you in going ahead and purchasing it hassle-free.
Manage claims and renewals
Healthcare or employee-initiated policyholders are always eager with their claims. With the help of chatbots, they can check their coverages, file for a claim, and track status. They also assist in renewal processes similarly.
The insurance sector has to be available 24/7 because critical moments can strike at any hour of the day! Hence, chatbots have been a great assistance tool for both clients and insurers working around the clock!
Endless Possibilities with a Chatbot
Chatbot benefits in any scenario. Businesses wish to move towards ROI and a 24x7 service that is both intelligent and effective. They look for more profits and ways to get more business.
The future of chatbots
Despite always being connected to the internet, GenZ is considered the loneliest generation yet. Keeping this in mind, it is highly likely that we will soon be seeing chatbots that have Emotional Intelligence. These bots could judge the users’ emotional state and respond in a way that is sensitive to users’ state of mind.
Artificial Intelligence is the future. We’re definitely going to be seeing bots that sound more human as time passes. Someday, we may even get bots that are indistinguishable from humans, even though that’s a long time from now, but that’s where we’re headed!
It’s clear that organizations will be integrating chatbots into their business processes to a much greater extent. A trend that we expect to be seeing is the growth of on-premise chatbots. These are bots that exist on the physical premises of the organization rather than on the Cloud. These are usually located within the organizations’ servers and data centers. With the benefits of increased security and control, many organizations are expected to opt for on-premise chatbots. We at Engati recognize this need and have begun to cater to it as well.
In addition to the mainstream customer service bots, we’ll start to see bots entering the retail arena, among many other spheres.
The future of chatbots lies heavily in Conversational AI (Conversational Artificial Intelligence). Now, users want bots that can understand their questions and commands based on previous interactions. Millennials and Gen Z are becoming more socially conscious.
With Gen Z dealing with more mental health, body image, and loneliness issues than all the other age groups so far, users would like to have chatbots that can gauge their emotional state based on conversational context and respond with compassion.
Engati’s chatbots have conversational context available for Business and Enterprise plan accounts.
Chatbots are simplifying & streamlining processes for millions of businesses across the world today. With the global business scenario becoming increasingly competitive, organizations are looking to increase their efficiency as much as possible. After all, why should organizations waste their resources, especially their employees’ time and energy, answering repetitive and straightforward questions?
A simple chatbot could very easily handle these! In fact, Oracle surveyed over 800 decision-makers from organizations spread across France, the Netherlands, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. 80% of the respondents said they either already used chatbots or planned to do so by 2020. With Engati’s different plans, you can get a chatbot for your business, regardless of your budget.
AI Chatbots are evolving at a much faster pace. Hence, they can handle a much more extensive repertoire of commands and queries. Today, they can accomplish much more complicated tasks and understand queries that are vaguer in nature.
The chatbots of the future will be able to prioritize requests.
They'll decide which ones can be handled by the bot and which requests need an actual human executive. Therefore, the customer experience will become smoother than ever before.
Now, the employees can focus on critical tasks while satisfying customers. Customer service is an expensive activity, and chatbots can reduce these costs by up to 30%. They do that while simultaneously improving the customer experience.
One thing’s for sure; bots are going to become an indispensable part of business processes. It’s going to be truly exciting to see all the innovative ways in which chatbots will be utilized.
Chatbot maturity cycle
Level 1 - Rules-based interactions
At this level, the chatbot is essentially a traditional notification assistant; it can answer a question with a pre-built response. It can send you notifications about certain events or reminders about things in which you’ve explicitly expressed interest. For instance, a level 1 travel bot can provide a link for you to book travel.
Level 2 - Configured machine learning
At level 2, the chatbot can answer FAQs but is also capable of handling some follow-ups. It has the knowledge to respond to some unexpected user utterances and is accessible across different channels- offering a multi-channel experience. For instance, a travel bot will be able to walk you through a few popular destinations and make the necessary travel arrangements.
Level 3 - Self-learning AI
At level 3, the chatbot begins to understand the context. It remembers your preferences and can offer personalized, contextualized recommendations or “nudges” to be more proactive in its care. For instance, the chatbot would proactively reach out to order you a ride after you’ve landed.
How do you create a chatbot?
If you are wondering, is it easy to create a chatbot?
The answer is YES!
You can use Engati to create a chatbot as per your needs and specifications. Engati is a robust chatbot-building platform. You can build and create bots in under 10 minutes with no coding or programming requirements. Integrations are also possible with your e-commerce website, apps, or other messaging platforms like Slack, Telegram, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Kik, and more.
You can either build a bot from scratch or choose from 200+ bot templates that procure multiple use-cases or even ask our experts to create a chatbot for you!
Incorporating Machine Learning and Natural Language Process programs into the platform, which are the key aspects, leaves you with only creating the conversational flow and the tasks you want the chatbot to perform.
Thus, designing these bots is as simple as dragging and dropping from a set of pre-defined functionalities, coupled with some scope to modify and customize them for your specific business objectives. Engati has been recognized for building the best chatbots out there and ranks as one of the best chatbot platforms in the market today. Engati provides your business with robust AI chatbots that can increase your profits and conversions. Creating a chatbot online from scratch can be time-consuming, costly, and usually falls in the market pretty soon. These bots require regular testing and updating to keep them relevant.
Hence, businesses are opting for chatbot platforms to build bots faster and with ease and because it contains many benefits. Despite how easy it is to create a chatbot using our platform, consider implementing our 7-step conversational design process.
Step 1: Understand your target market
It’s hard to define the end-goal of your conversational flows without a target audience in mind. So ask yourself, who is going to use your chatbot? What kind of questions would they have for your chatbot? What tasks do they want to accomplish through the chatbot?
We recommend limiting yourself to four core users. Four users is already a lot to work with, so make sure you are sure you need all of them.
List the core users at the very top of your chart.
Step 2: Define your goals
The next step to writing your conversational flow is to determine your chatbot’s purpose. That’s right; just because your chatbot isn’t human doesn’t mean it’s safe from being asked about its job.
What does it do for your customers? Does it assist them with their purchases, or is it the equivalent of a greeter?
What will your audience use the chatbot to accomplish? Speedy tasks like checking a shipping status or long-term goals like fitness tracking?
How much effort will it take? Will it regularly send reminders to users or pop up now and then to celebrate when they meet a goal? Determine its goals before moving to the next step.
Step 3: Design your chatbot’s personality
Go back to step 1, and think about your target market; how would they like to be greeted? Step into your audience’s shoes and think about how you would converse with them. Write it down like it’s a script and implement your voice into your chatbot.
Your persona will help you determine the tone, writing style, maturity, and politeness you’ll use in your writing. It doesn’t have to be compelling; your chatbot could simply be a hipster snob or a chipper bank teller.
For your chatbot to be believable and compelling, you have to connect it with your brand. A chatbot with a witty and emoji-heavy script may not suit an insurance agency. Your chatbot represents your brand, so make it look and sound like a part of your team.
Step 4: Create a diagram
In messaging, replies are short. Poorly written chatbots send walls of text with an overload of information, but real conversations don’t work this way. Chatbot replies should generally be brief and cut to the chase.
Write your script in fragments to stay organized and make brainstorming easier. An easy way to do this is by creating a conversation diagram.
Conversations have elements, and a diagram will help you map out every possibility of what your chatbot could say. The elements you may use in a chatbot conversation are:
Used to start a conversation. Formality is dependent on the relationship (return versus new users).
For engaging or seeking information to keep the conversation going.
Giving information that is either requested or pertinent to the conversation.
Testing the user’s understanding. Restating details and information for clarity.
When the chatbot doesn’t understand or fails to fulfill a request.
Politely acknowledging the bot’s faults. It should be brief and serve as a bridge to alternative solutions.
Presents your customer with relevant actions or options.
A clear end to the conversation.
You can also include visual elements such as carousels, GIFs, emojis, pictures, or videos.
Remember to keep your customer’s journey in mind when you map out your conversation elements and diagram. What kind of experience do you want to create? Will interactions be quick and professional or conversational and casual?
You can create diagrams and flowcharts for multiple conversation types. Using simple boxes and arrows, map out a greeting or two, potential user responses, chatbot answers, among others. If you have live chat, you can look through your transcripts to find frequently asked questions for your chatbot to answer.
Once you have your material on deck, you can start labeling your diagram boxes or nodes. Give them simple names like “New user greeting,” “Returning user greeting,” etc.
Step 5: Writing
Now that you have a structure to work with, you can start writing conversation scenarios. Depending on your bot’s purpose, you may have to create iterations for each situation.
The trick is to keep messages short — hence the nodes. Imagine you’re texting your customers in real-time when writing your script. First, step into your customer’s shoes and picture what they’d like to hear and what tasks they’d like to accomplish. Then step into your shoes and solve for how you’d like to help them.
Remember to keep the pacing in mind. Even though you can’t draw pauses, consider them when writing your elements. A conversation with a therapy bot may move slower than a shopping assistant bot.
Step 6: Start iterating
Great. We've got all the pieces of the puzzle. Now, all we have left is to assemble them. Easy peasy!
Designing the actual conversation flows is a time-consuming process. After completing your first draft, start creating variations. Your customers don’t want to have deja-vu every time they talk to your chatbot. Make it more human with iterations.
Then observe. Note what you’ve missed, and find the dead-ends. If your customers get lost during a conversation, how do you get them back on track towards their goal?
Step 7: Editing
Designing conversation flows can get intense quite quickly.
As you write and rewrite your script, we recommend reading it out loud to yourself. Hearing your writing makes it easier to spot errors or awkward moments. Try doing this with a teammate who is unfamiliar with your chatbot. You get used to hearing the character voice you’ve concocted in your head, but an outsider’s perspective will determine if it comes through in your writing.
You can also use a platform, like Engati, that lets you create and test your chatbot. Interact with your bot in real-time to get an idea of its flow. It’s like seeing a play performed on stage versus just reading the script. The pacing and delivery make the words come alive.
How to build a chatbot with Engati?
Now that you’ve designed your conversational flows, you’re ready to implement your plan. The best way to get started is by building your chatbot through a platform like Engati. Engati is the world’s leading multilingual low-code digital CX platform. Engati offers free registration and allows you to get started in just a few simple steps.
Once you’ve registered, you have to follow these simple steps-
- Select the Create a Bot button on the portal’s homepage.
- Give your chatbot a name, a description, and assign a category.
- Then you’ll be presented with a library of our templates. You can either browse through and select the one that suits your use-case or click Skip and build the chatbot from scratch.
- Next is channel setup. Here, you can customize your chat window for web chat and select which channels you’d like to deploy the chatbot. Then click Next for the live chat menu.
- If you’d like to support your chatbot with live chat, enable it in this menu.
- The conversational intelligence step will allow for quick FAQ set up and customizing the welcome path for your bot.
- Finally, review all changes, and your bot is ready to be deployed!
Build a chatbot with rich capabilities that we offer!
We offer some of the best features out there for you to build and customize your bot. Here’s a short preview for you:
- Conversational Modeler.
- Contextual Conversations.
- Multi-platform Support.
- Human Takeover and Live Chat.
- Bot Building and Customisations at only USD 22 Per Hour.
- FAQ Builder.
- Multi-lingual Support.
- Voice Bots.
- Bot Templates.
- Mobile SDKs.
- WhatsApp Support.
- Intent and Entity Recognition.
- E. Sense.
- Easy Chatbot training.
- Easy Integrations Framework.
- Copy a Bot.
- White label.
- FAQ Upload.
- Rich Analytics.
Engati chatbot deployment channels
We also support deployment for channels such as:
- Website and native mobile applications
- And more
All you have to do is select your channels from the channel deployment menu, and you’re set!
And if you’ve already deployed your chatbot and would like to deploy it on additional channels, simply select Channels from the Configure menu and select your channel of choice.
Engati Integrations for your chatbot
In our efforts to onboard popular ticketing platforms, and as part of our planned integrations, we have now enhanced current Salesforce capabilities to support ticketing use cases on Engati.
Chatbots are commonly used for customer engagement with potential prospects and integrate with the customer CRMs to update the collected user information in the integrated CRM.
Engati further provides standard out-of-box integration with the most popular Cloud CRM solution, Salesforce. This integration offers capabilities for recording Leads, Service tickets, and Inquiry Functions.
You can now integrate your Zendesk account with Engati and enable your customers to:
- Create tickets,
- Get ticket details,
- Update existing tickets through the chatbot
Google Calendar Integration
Bypass the time-consuming back-and-forth with your clients for appointment bookings. Engati integrations with Google Calendar enable your customers and prospects to book slots straight into your calendar through your chatbot.
Google Sheets Integration
Enable Google Sheets Integration on your bot to store user-generated data in a Google sheet. It helps you focus on Lead Generation, Customer Service, and Inquiry Collection.
Send SMS node enables your bot builders to send instant notifications to your customers’ mobile phones. This functionality will also allow bot creators to send SMS to multiple numbers at once if their service provider allows them to.
The capabilities of any chatbot can be significantly enhanced by having it integrate with other systems and applications. The typical use cases include –
Access to Data
Integrations enable a chatbot to get data from various systems and use it for more informed responses. Examples could include a user getting information about the latest sales KPIs or a user inquiring about the status of their applied leave.
Integrations allow your chatbot to complete a transaction that your customer may be interested in. For example, this could include allowing your customer to submit a support ticket for getting help
Automate tasks and increase your team’s productivity within minutes. With Zapier, you can integrate 1,000+ applications to your bot to simplify customer journeys.
Social Media Integration
Integrate your chatbot across multiple social media channels to build a solid brand personality, generate leads, capture user data, engage customers, and improve retention.
Are chatbots here to stay?
Chatbots are weaving their way into our personal lives. They’re already embedded into our phones, laptops, watches, among other devices and as devices get smarter, chatbots will too. But this circles back to our first question- why? Why are chatbots finding a way into our lives?
The answer is simple. It’s to make our lives easier.
The aim of the noble chatbot has never been to replace anyone, but to support their endeavours. With a chatbot, you can find the operating hours of IKEA in minutes; You can find the order status of your package in seconds; And you can enhance your customers’ lives in an instant.
We wish you luck on your journey of diving into the world of AI and chatbots.If you’d like to ride the automation wave and explore further, register with Engati here.