Seven Tips for Building a Great Chatbot
Chatbots are becoming more widely used and companies in just about every industry, from healthcare to financial institutions and commerce, are employing bots for their marketing, sales and customer service needs.
Contrary to popular belief, building a chatbot to add to your platform doesn’t have to be a difficult or expensive task.
Here are tips for building your first bot!
1) Map it Out
Before you get on the platform and start building, take a moment to map out the bot’s conversation flow! Consider what the goal of your bot is and what information will be helpful to users. What data do you want to gather from users and where do you want to push them on your site? Mapping out the bot makes the building process much easier.
2) It’s best to start small and simple
Think about it, no one wants to talk to a bot forever, especially if bots are meant to increase efficiency. Try to make conversations as short as possible and give query-specific responses instead of overloading users with too much information at once. One practical tip from Chatbot Architect Samantha is to “write what you want to say, then delete half of it.” This will help make your bot’s statements concise and to the point.
3) Think strategically about how to deploy your bot
You want your bot to launch at users when they need it, and not otherwise. Bots can be deployed on a time delay or based on user behavior, e.g. lingering on a page, scrolling through the page, clicking on a persistent button. It’s best to not launch a bot the second users land on a page as that can be more pestering than helpful and lower engagement. Be strategic about what you want each bot to achieve. Thinking about which users would need it (i.e. what pages or behaviors would be great points to deploy), will help make this decision.
4) Manage user expectations
Chatbots are still a relatively new space, and there is often confusion between live chat and a chatbot on websites. Bots help reduce the manpower needed to handle customer questions or concerns, but be sure to help manage your customer’s expectations by letting them know they are talking to a bot, not a person. While this difference is clear, try to make the conversation flow as naturally as possible.
5) Let people know off the bat why they should bother talking to this bot
People are more likely to engage if they know what they can get out of it. Use your introductory statement(s) to explain what the bot can do for users and how it can help.
e.g. “I’ll help you find your way around the site”, “I can teach you more about our offerings”, “I’m here to help you understand our pricing plans”.
6) Give your users options
Make your bot’s communication easy. Since NLP, or natural language processing and AI are still technological advancements in progress, most chatbots work with a decision tree format. We’ve found that giving multiple choice responses often lead to higher engagement rates than open ended, free text responses. Users don’t have to type in every answer because you’ve anticipated what they need and presented it when they need it. Users can click through the bot quickly, and if there’s any question the bot can’t answer, free text responses will push communication back to a human to continue the process.
7) Even if a user doesn’t want to continue the conversation, ask for contact information
Chatbot conversations should move quickly, but you never want to lose an opportunity to capture potential lead information! A great tip is to ask for user info somewhere in the middle of the conversation; not too soon that it turns users off, and not too late that many have dropped off. Asking for user email before their name, etc gives you a method of contact, even if they exit conversation afterwards.
This gives you the opportunity to follow up with potential leads who might be interested but simply don’t have time right now.
Crafting and launching a simple, easy-to-use, and efficient chatbot is the best way to gather data on users and stay connected to your audience. You can utilize information gathered from chatbots to stay updated on user preferences and demographics, and tailor messaging to keep them engaged and coming back.
At Instabot, we understand that your first bot will likely not be your best bot. But don’t feel overwhelmed by the newness of it all--we’re here to help! Take comfort in knowing that Instabot’s platform is designed to be intuitive and easy to use for even the least technical person. You can build and launch a bot onto your website, email, or mobile app in 20 minutes or less
To start building your first bot free, simply contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re still not sure about taking the reins on bot building, we would be happy to build your first bot for you—for free!