Before you develop a bot, understand the bot and its capabilities to help you and your business. This understanding brings clarity and efficiency to the bot development.
Chatbots are artificial intelligence systems that the users interact with through text or voice interface. These interactions are straightforward, like asking a bot about the weather report or trace a missing entry in your bank account. Further, you can structure interactions, with users choosing options from a list of items presented or unstructured freestyle flow similar to a conversation involving a human agent.
Whatever be the type of user interaction, good design helps in building an efficient bot. A good design allows answering most of the user queries, anticipates all the conversation flows, and expects the unexpected.
Post ver 7.2 release, platform has an option to help you design your conversations using the Storyboard feature. It is an intuitive conversation designer that simplifies and streamlines the bot blueprinting process, without the need to have external flow charts, tracking, and versioning tools. See here for more.
Platform Recommendations: The following steps are considered while designing a bot:
- Understand the User Needs: To set the scope of the bot. The business sponsors, business analysts, and product owners play an important role to identify the user requirement by gathering market requirements and assessing internal needs.
- Set the Chatbot Goals: It helps you create a well-defined use case. This involves converting the above-identified scope to a use case. It is advisable to involve the bot developer in this phase.
- Design a Chatbot Conversation: To define chatbot behavior in every possible scenario in its interaction with the user. Simulating conversations go a long way in identifying every possible scenario.
Once the bot capabilities and ideal use case are well-defined, the bot developer can begin the process of configuring bot tasks, define intents and entities, and build the conversational dialog.
Things to keep in mind while designing a chatbot: Try to answer the following questions (some if not all):
- Who is the target audience? Technical help bots targetted for a tech-savvy customer need a different design when compared to help bots for a layman like, say, a bank customer. Hence assessing the target audience is always important.
- What bot persona will resonate the most with this group? This will help define how the bot talks and act in every situation.
- What is the purpose of the bot? The goal i.e. the customer query that the bot needs to address defines the endpoint of any conversation.
- What pain points will the bot solve? The purpose and scope of bots are set to identify what the bot addresses and when the human agent needs to take over.
- What benefits will the bot provide for us or our customers? The main benefit of using a bot is time-saving. The user need not waste their time waiting for a human agent to be available for answering their query. You, as the business owner, need not worry about not being there to cater to all customer needs.
- What tasks do I want my bot to perform? Simulation of user conversation helps identify the tasks that need to be catered to by the bot.
- What channels will the bot live in? This will to some extent drive the way the bot is presented, the various options available for the chatbot is limited by the channel/medium it is used.
- What languages should my bot speak? When catering to a multi-lingual community the language support is imperative and building the dictionary simultaneously is useful.