A chatbot: where do I begin?
A chatbot will improve your customer experience completely. This unique technology has absolutely the most to offer to your customer service. Are you more than eager to give life to your new digital colleague, but don’t know where to begin? Then I have got you covered. The question ‘where do I start?’ is common in my experience as a Sales Executive at Watermelon. That is why I’ve created an eight-step workflow to guide you through the beginnings, afterwards you will exactly know where to start on building your chatbot.
Identify the needs of your users
When you start the process of expanding the scope of your customer service you want to start with knowing the needs of your customers. We’re living in a 24/7 economy. When streaming services and web-shops arose, the customer expectations grew higher and more complex. Your customers are not as patient as before, they’re in demand of answers to their queries on a 24/7 base. A study from Lithium Technologies revealed that 55 percent of respondents aged 18-24 expect a response within an hour when communicating online with a brand, no matter what time of day it is. NewVoiceMedia makes a compelling case about the importance of the right customer service, their research pointed out that US Businesses lose an average of $62 billion due to poor customer service. This illustrates exactly why you need to understand the needs of your customer, which is 24/7 availability.
Building it custom vs. using a platform
The pro of a custom build chatbot is that with the right time and money, you can do anything. It is totally up to you how and where you want your chatbot to function. In reality however, there is a limit to both time and money. When choosing for custom building, a good thing to keep in mind is that it’s better to have an excellent bot in one thing, than a mediocre one in a lot of things. To build a custom chatbot takes up a lot of time, and mainly money. The costs for building your own platform are high, and there goes a lot of expertise into the process. For the building you would need a complete development team and a lot of assets. One of the biggest advantages within using a platform is the unique user-friendliness it offers. When starting with the Watermelon platform you do not need any development or coding knowledge. Needless to say, a complete development team is overfluous. Limitations, however, do exist on chatbot platforms, the technology is rather new yet while time goes by platforms offer better and better services. Just like website builders, in the beginning the options were rather limited yet now there is almost no reason to build up a website from scratch with services like Wix or Webs. Watermelon offers a great range of possibilities, like a hybrid model where you can let your bot and human employees work together on assisting a customer. We have numerous integrations like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Telegram. Nearly anything is possible with Watermelon’s platform, without needing to code.
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Set up your team
Building a chatbot is a multidisciplinary task. You can achieve great heights by building it on your own, yet by having a team besides you, the sky is the limit. You need the right people for support and content. Putting together a team where everyone’s weakness is filled up by another one’s strength is a great way to not only learn from each other, but also for building a multifunctional chatbot. A great tip is to include your current customer service employees in the process, they are the ones who actually work with your customers and know what they ask. In this article our Head of Customer Success elaborates on putting together the perfect team. The people who build your chatbot, should know what customers ask and want to know.
Your chat: open or closed
With Watermelon there are several ways for your chat to work at its best. An open chat allows you to ask anything you want from the bot, from complex questions to simple queries. If you have a very broad selection of customer questions coming in, then you might consider a closed chat that functions with buttons to guide your customers to the right destination. Want best of both worlds? That’s also available. Begin with closed buttons to guide your customers into the right direction, in which afterwards they can type out their question themselves. An open conversation or closed, anything is possible with our platform.
Since you have your team and structure together, you can start working on the personality of your bot. A great example of a chatbot’s personality is the one of chatbot Nicol@ from Afas Software. Chatbot Nicol@ drives a Tesla, has a favorite football team and can tell you all about her partner. A personality is key for your chatbot, it’s the thing customers remember. Decide whether you want a formal or informal tone of voice for your chatbot. When you decide for an informal tone you can make puns or jokes within the content or you can add GIFS to the conversation. Want a more formal approach? Adjust your content accordingly, or maybe let your icon wear a suit for the right look. Your chatbot’s personality should be in line with your brand image, and memorable for your customers.
Putting in the content
Luckily, with Watermelon you only have to worry about the content, the coding is up to us. When the personality has been decided, you need to fill in the content that fits. But how do you determine this? Think of your chatbot as a human, what type of language does this person use? And what kind of info does he/she provide to your customers? Talk to your customer service employees and ask them what customers want to know. Do not look at your chatbot as a replacement of your website, and don’t put in information that already lies in front of your customers on your website. You want to fill in the content that customers have a hard time looking for. Simplify the searching process for your customers, by not adding the obvious information, yet rather the more complicated matters.
After having the content and character ready to go, it is time to send your digital coworker to work. As one of our customers NummerEen explains, you should not shy away from failing or putting your chatbot to the test. These are the most educative experiences when it comes to chatbots and their content. You can work on the content for years, only to find out that your customer’s questions do not align. My advice is to go live as soon as possible! This way you find out exactly what your customers want to know.
Hopefully, I’ve got you up to speed about where to begin when building a chatbot. As a Sales Executive I enjoy the different sets of questions people ask me, since I’m passionate about our product, I love to speak about it. If you’re not totally sure about anything, or if you have any questions, feel free to contact me for some comprehensive advice. Are you ready to begin with building your own chatbot? Click on the button below to request a free demo of our product.