Setting Realistic Expectations for your Chatbot Project

SeaKnight By SeaKnight, 12th Mar 2018 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Business>IT & Ecommerce

As growing numbers of businesses launch a chatbot, your company might also have plans. Among all the hype, setting realistic expectations is key to ensuring a fair test of the technology and of building the best bot for your business.


Chatbots perform all sorts of functions that can save a business time and money, and even help generate revenue. However, many businesses launch their bot in a blaze of glory only for us never to hear from it again shortly after. What probably happened is the test didn’t meet the glowing predictions of the marketing or IT team, and was quietly removed.

Being realistic about how chatbots can help your business set goals for both the company and the customer. For example, according to a recent survey, only 15% of people have used a chatbot. Many of those that have used them expected too much from the technology, so there needs to be understanding on both sides.

Choose the right bot type

Clearly, if your business has little to no technology focus, then a chatbot is unlikely to help matters. However, any company with a website or Facebook page that sees a reasonable volume of traffic could benefit from a chatbot or a concierge presence. But what bot to use?

There are two basic types; information bots, helping people find out information without having to trawl a website or ring up the company or office. Secondly, there are research bots that need to find out a little about the person to engage and help them make a decision, sign up for a service or to recommend a product.

Any bot should really only perform one task, allowing it to remain focused. That way, the bot has a specific function, and the user knows what to expect from it. Even then, with 85% of people not having used a bot before, any business needs to spell out what the bot can do, and what the customer benefits are. Starting any bot into with “want to save time!”, “don’t want to talk to an advisor” or “I can help you find xxx” sets a baseline of expectations.

Plan and build the right bot

Looking at how much time or money can be saved gives the chatbot planners the opportunity to create realistic goals. Can a chatbot save two hours of a team’s time per day or will it reduce agency support calls? Other targets such as “reach x million people and sign up xx thousand new customers” are very vague and unlikely to be met without a substantial marketing budget.

For the company, the general benefits are the provision of a 24-hour service for customers, saving time talking to reception or sales agents, and helping filter enquiries, so only the important ones that require a team member’s attention are escalated. Any company can look at time-wasting points in their processes and create either a chatbot for customers, or an internal bot for workers, if the company is large enough to warrant one.

Many bot services offer fast creation tools, letting a company build its own bot, making it an ideal project for internal teams. Even so, the bot has to work for the customer, not just the company, so experience in user development and understanding your customers' needs is a key part of building a good chatbot.

Customers like to find information easily, they hate filling in forms, they don’t like hanging on the phone, and since many customer service call centers are restricted to following a script, they might as well go through it with a computer service at their own speed, without the hurry and bustle of a call center agent.

For any business looking to explore the chatbot technology, a service like SnatchBot’s platform is the best way to start in-house development. with script-based bots, natural language processing and cloud analytics, the bot can be up and running in hours, not weeks. This allows businesses to experiment and see where it adds benefit to the customer conversation.

Measuring the results

Assuming you’ve measured some current costs, have built the chatbot to meet customer needs and launched a trial, there’s plenty of time to let the results come in. Just because a chatbot’s analytics page will light up the second people use it, there’s no need to judge it after hours or days of use. Allow your bot to find its digital feet and for customers to find and use it.

What is important is ensuring that customers have successful outcomes, which is why having an internal bot is valuable. The chat can be edited and updated as you see how customers use it. Only when the bot is fine-tuned should you start looking for results, and only when sufficient data has been gathered. If they meet expectations, then let your bots run free, if not refine and reflect on the project and try again, because bots are benefiting huge numbers of businesses, suggesting failed projects are more down to poor design.


Business, Chatbots, Expectations

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author avatar SeaKnight
Tech writer focused on how it can change the world, for better or worse

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