Chatbot trend has apeared two years ago and still on the table along with Big Data, IoT, VR, and Live Streaming. But! Unlike its competitors, chatbots are much cheaper in development and thus stand near to the consumer market than future techs like IoT. Moreover, chatbots have found their place in the business world and play a decisive role in a set of monetization strategies that are used to attract more customers and increase sales.
Popular Chatbot Platforms
How can you make it cheaper? If you want to create a chatbot there are a lot of ready-made platforms that will reduce the budget and time expenses for development. All you need to do is to choose one that suits your interest and connects your chatbot to the required audience.
- Facebook M
- Google Now
- Kik bot API
- Alexa Skills Kit
- Slack Botkit
- Telegram Bot Platform 2.0
Consumer Application of Chatbots
- Travel – Book the cheapest/quickest cab/flight.
- Food – Suggest the best place for a dinner.
- Health – eCoachs, fitness monitors.
- Communication – For people in despair or when you in need to talk to someone.
- Fun – Joke generators, mascots and virtual pets.
- Shopping – Virtual assistant which searches for products you need.
- Concierge – Pays bills, refills phone, calls a carpenter.
- Entertainment – Searches for events in town, books tickets.
Chatbot for Business
- Productivity – Reminders, TODO, expense reporters.
- Communication – Check-ins, make polls, gathers data.
- Office fun – Tracks corporate events, books lunches.
- Analysis – Data bots, report generators.
Enterprise Scenarios / B2B Bot
- HR – Searches for candidates, makes appointments, handles mass communication with prospects.
- Customer support – answers questions, assists purchase, helps with a decision, gathers feedback.
Best Chatbot User Experience Best Practices
It must be acknowledged that User Experience plays a decisive role in creating a chatbot. It actually dominates over User Interface.
While UI of a chatbot is largely determined by the communication channel itself, the UX stays in hands of developer. If you’ll choose to communicate through Facebook Messenger you’ll be constrained with design of this channel. If you take Skype – all buttons and element are already there, filled in light blue color. As a consequence, there is literally no way for UI customization inside communication platforms.
Real User Needs
Your bot should meet user expectations and fulfill his needs. Don’t port all your data to the chatbot. Use only that content, which is better to transfer through chatbot channel.
People tend to talk with only the top 8 contact in their messenger. Make your chatbot easy to find, send weekly updates and tips of use, so your bot will stay in top charts. But don’t spam!
Tip: Give your chatbot an easy, short name, so users could memorize and search it quickly in his messenger.
Make a little introduction during the first use. Run through basic communication option your bot supports (text/images/voice/questions examples) explain to users what opportunities it provides.
Choose input formats that will be convenient for your users. Good support of natural language will do the trick. Minimize the amount of text needed to input manually. You can do this by assigning numbers to answer variant, so user could type “1” instead of writing down a full answer. You can also provide answers in a form of buttons.
Note: If your bot supports voice input or images, take your time to empathize on this. Most users do not expect that this features will be available and won’t even try them.
Consider the device and format in which your content will be delivered to the end user.
- Most of the bots are living in mobile devices. Avoid big text blocks, that bigger than a chat window.
- Users expect the bot to help with the decision making not chatting. Your information should help in decision making, not just a product description. Supply your answers with hints, facts, time and prices.
- Keep clear design and information hierarchy.
- Use a time stamps for content that is time-relevant.
Your bot should provide feedback and indicate its presence.
- Use “I’m thinking” or “Typing” comments if your bot is a “sloth”.
- You chatbot should respond to all question. Don’t keep silent if the question isn’t relevant or you don’t know the answer.
- Your chatbot should be flexible in understanding word order in order to answer the maximum of questions and “forgive” simple errors.
Give you chatbot a distinctive personality, so users could more likely communicate with your bot again. If you won’t build in a character, users will give it one they want.
Tip: Assign an appropriate avatar to your bot, that would help you to convey right emotions to its users. Users respond best to young, female, funny/friendly characteristics in bots.
Be aware of context. Their location, traffic situation in the area, past conversations and question they asked you, emotional state.
Tip: You can prepare a set of question triggered by the emotion sticker showed by customer on Facebook like: “Feeling happy” - “How about making yourself even happier?”
Make your privacy terms clear from the start, so users won’t afraid to share their personal information with your bot.
Be proactive, ask questions and promote new features first. The average user would rather text to his friend than a chatbot. Make use of situational triggers and engage with customers through major events in their lives like birthdays, weddings, promotions, holidays, etc.
Adding Value with Intelligent Services
There are many intelligent services and modules that can enhance responsiveness and UX of your chatbot. We’ve picked up 5 best intelligent services that are already available for integration.
- Natural Language – With this module your chatbot will be able to process “human” text which greatly reduces input complexity for the end user.
- Multi-language Support – Built-in translator will expand your market presence and help your chatbot communicate with customers from different countries.
- Speech Recognition – This feature will be appreciated by users from Japan and China. Because of the complexity of written system, users in these countries prefer voice input to plain text. Consider this feature if you want to develop chatbot for an Asian market.
- Image Recognition – May be used in both entertainment chatbots and shopping bots. E.g. Your bot can pick a dress similar to the reference image provided by the customer.
- Face recognition – You can personalize UX with emotion recognition and identify the client in a crowd in order to serve targeted ads.
Chatbot development is really a great time for backend developers to show their strength, imagination, and experience. This is when the efficiency of your product completely depends on software part hidden behind the server doors.
That is why if want to develop chatbot for your business, you’d better look for a proficient development company that has skills and resources to handle complex programming back-end tasks, rather than web design company boasting with colorful prototypes and layouts.
As for a start just contact us, and consider chatbot developed!