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Straight answers to the 10 most important questions about getting started with chatbots

Know Before You Bot

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Chapter 4

How to build a chatbot?

Now you’re ready to build your AI chatbot. Different chatbot vendors will have different approaches: some are chatbot builders and will do all the work for you, while others will hand you the keys so you can do it yourself. Some vendors will offer both options – doing as much or as little of the work as you want them to.

Before you can understand how to create a chatbot for your website or social media channels, make sure you understand how each vendor loads and maintains bot data (do they have the capability to batch import data?), what the visitor interface is like (keyword or button bot?), and what degree of support the vendor provides (do they have bot templates or quick start guides?). If you’re opting for a bot with NLP, you’ll want to see how chatbot training happens, and the tools and services you’ll need to maintain it.

When it comes to how to build and how to train your chatbot, your best source of data will come from your chat scripts, knowledge base, and FAQs. Use the questions and answers you already have to accelerate development, but keep in mind that you may need to adjust the language to be more conversational. After all, a chatbot has ‘chat’ in its name for a reason.

If you don’t have a way of tracking frequently asked questions or repeatable agent responses, then you’ll want to get your entire team involved by asking for suggestions on what the bot should be able to cover. Your front-line agents are invaluable as they interact directly with customers day in and day out. Ask them which scenarios or questions they think a bot can handle, and which should be escalated to a human.

Note that your agents likely won’t be familiar with everything a bot is capable of doing. For example, did you know a bot can use new or returning customer information to respond with more personalized answers? Focus more on which customer engagements can be automated and which require human-to-human interaction for that extra special customer service charm.

Once your chatbot is built you will need to maintain it. Depending on your use case(s) and the platform you choose, this can be a team effort, or you may find you need to assign a new ‘chatbot maker’ who is responsible for keeping your bot up to date.

Consider this

Scope out how much effort building the bot will require from your team and how much support you’ll get from the vendor before, during, and after the bot building process. The ideal chatbot vendor supports you from start to finish, making sure you’re set up for success every step of the way.

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