STEP 2: GATHER DATA TO IDENTIFY INTENTS
Once you have planned out your Chatbot, it’s time to start to identify the intents your customers have.
There are generally three types of visitor intents: small talk like greetings, business requests, and random messages. Out of the three types, business requests are the most important part, which is why this guide is mainly focused on building business question intents.
This is not to say that small talk intents are not helpful – they can lend your bot the right dose of personality to make communication more genuine and less ‘robotic’. We’ll explore how to program these later.
For the simplest and most intuitive approach to identifying intents, we recommend a process that is focused around intent discovery from existing customer interactions. This way, there is no secret to Chatbot journey mapping. You already have most of the content you need to work with – you just have to put it in place using the following steps.
Consult Your Existing Knowledge Base or FAQ Resources
Self-service has been growing in popularity, which means that chances are, if you have a website, then you have a customer-facing knowledge base or an FAQ section.
Knowledge bases are used to help customers find the answers to their own questions. They are generally compiled from frequently asked questions – the very questions that customers who don’t feel like searching through your knowledge base may write to a live chat agent about.
Knowledge bases aren’t the only resources that companies have. Often contact centers will have their own internal, agent-facing knowledge base. This kind of knowledge base helps agents respond quickly and accurately to customer queries. Agent-facing knowledge bases might be compiled as documents and shared with all support agents.
Another resource – and perhaps the most valuable resource that you can consult – is your agents’ list of canned scripts and messages. Like agent-facing knowledge bases, canned messages are usually available as a shared document, or within the messaging system. Up-todate canned messages can give you insight into the intents underlying your most common support questions, and exactly what the responses to those questions are.
By consulting your knowledge bases, FAQ resources, and canned messages, you can begin to compile a list of what intents lie under easily answered questions you can assign to your Chatbot.
Use Existing Chat Logs for Information Discovery and Refinement
For ultimate insight into the questions that your customers are asking your live chat agents, go directly to the source: your existing chat logs. This will help you discover the most recent common questions, and any questions that you might have missed out on when examining your knowledge bases.
STEP 3: CREATE INTENTS
There are many ways in which a customer may express their intent. For example, a travel company may define an intent as “Book Flight”. Then “Book me a ticket to Paris” and “I want to fly to Paris” will be two questions associated with this intent.
Combine Similar Questions
Similar questions should be combined under one intent. This will help expedite the bot learning process and simplify ongoing bot maintenance.
For example, if there are 10 reports, you might need 10 intents to introduce each one of them. But if visitors ask, “how to download report #1” or “where to download report #2”, they can be simply put under one intent “Download Report”.
Check Intent Coverage
The intent structure needs to be as comprehensive as possible and cover all the scenarios that you want your bot to handle.
For example, software billing related intents should include: free trial end, subscribe, payment method, payment error, next billing date, account inactive, refund, billing info, etc. By doing this, your bot will be more capable of handling billing questions.
Another example would be those random chitchat requests or spam messages, which are common for companies that provide online help. You can create an intent specifically for this scenario so as to reduce the number of spam chats routed to live agents.
STEP 4: DEVELOP AND MAINTAIN A LIST OF TYPICAL QUESTIONS FOR EACH INTENT
For a highly effective bot, the next question you need to ask yourself is – how do I develop the AI chatbot? To help your chatbot understand each intent better, questions in that intent need to undergo regular review and maintenance. The ideal number of questions per intent is between 18 and 36. This is a vital part of creating a Chatbot that’s effective from the start, as it gives your Chatbot more data on which it can make decisions.
In the intent structure you have created, there should be at least one question in each intent, and each question should be made into a pair (see details below).
Every question has a key part. If the key part changes, the meaning of the question changes.
Hi Sam, can you please tell me where to change the password of my account?
Here the key part (intent) is “Change password”
Hi Terry, is it possible to hide the chat button when no agent is online?
In this question the key part (intent) is “Hide button when no agent is online”.
The question and its key part make a pair. The question is usually long, which contains different clauses and modifying phrases while the key part is short and clear.