If your business is planning a chatbot launch, then 2019 is now looking like a reasonable launch date. This allows you time to build the conversation, train the bot, test it with users and adapt the latest bot technologies. These strategies will help any company looking to launch a bot into their market or vertical.
The power of the cloud and smart design services allows your business to launch a chatbot today, if it wanted to. While the excitement and benefits of chatbots might make that seem like a good idea, experience tells us that businesses need to plan ahead, think carefully about their bot and test the heck out of it to ensure it meets both customer and business needs.
Therefore, with a few months still to go in 2018, take the rest of this year to plan and build your product for a 2019 launch. That will help you launch a mature and considered product, rather than a rushed effort that might excite your technology team, but not help the business in the long run. To build that perfect bot, use the following strategies.
Define Your Chatbot Business Plan
As with any part of the business, your bot should be planned out. In a team meeting, consider the objectives for the bot. How will it help the business and how will it benefit the customer? Research the chatbot building options and technology. Match the most-suitable technology and customer-facing platform to the project and write out the basic aims it should fulfill.
You should end up with a plan that clearly defines what the bot does, how it will work and where you will use it (across website, Facebook or other options).
Write an Initial Script
Based on what the tasks you want the bot to handle, defined during planning, create a rough draft of the typical conversations you expect it to perform. Write it in the simplest English you can, look at other bots for good examples of language use, and note any complex areas of a conversation that need breaking down into simpler options.
If possible, run these ideas by a friendly customer to see if they believe the chatbot would be of benefit. Also if possible, run polls or forums to find out what your customers would most like a bot to do. Again, there are plenty of existing bots to take inspiration from, and many bots follow a similar structure.
If there’s anywhere where your bot can act in a unique way, build this in to the script and be prepared to use that as a selling point.
Flesh and Personality
Using your choice of platform, create a working draft of the bot and then look where you can add elements of personality to make the bot engaging or fun to use for customers. Again, there are plenty of good existing examples of bots that help engage with the brand, and quite a few bad press stories of where businesses made their bot unusable or gave it the wrong tone of voice that everyone else can learn from.
With a more complete bot now up and running, it will need extensive testing across the widest possible range of users to ensure it meets those original business and customer needs. Focus on finding areas where it fails, where there is ambiguity or potential for confusion and clean those parts of the conversation up.
At this point the focus should start to be on a speedy solution to any question, remove unclear language, look for a simpler choice of words and avoid jargon. When planning ahead, look for suitable jump-off points for new features you may want to add later.
Time to Deploy
Having done all the hard work, 2019 is approaching, and it is time to deploy the bot. Ensure you have spent plenty of time advising customers and users that your bot is coming. Explain clearly what it does, what the benefits are, and how it is part of a move to automated, smart help.
On launch, monitor the early exchanges for positive outcomes and rapidly address any negative sentiment, or problems people have with it. One of the main strengths of a chatbot is that it can be updated live, on-air, to improve the service it provides.
After a month or two of use, measure the results against what you expected to see in terms of time saved, issues resolved, sales made and so on. Be prepared to revise or refine the bot to meet those goals, and look to see where the bot can benefit the business next.