Is your business ready for a chatbot?

If you’re a regular reader of our blog, by now you may be convinced that a chatbot is just what your business or organisation needs. Not only have they surpassed the capabilities of live chat, but they also pose a number of benefits to the services of local councils. Despite the many exciting prospects that chatbots pose, implementing a chatbot into your customer service operation is not something that can be done overnight. Making this step with your business is going to take time, and if the process is rushed you may face severe consequences further down the line. In this article, we will be setting out three important factors that you need to consider while preparing to implement your very own chatbot.  

Have you prepared your customer service/chatbot team?

As we have mentioned before, by introducing a chatbot into your organisation you reduce the need for a large customer service team answering the same mundane questions. However, this does not mean that you should remove your customer service department. This is a fantastic opportunity to upskill the members of staff who are able to step away from these repetitive tasks. Training may be necessary to provide your customer service team with the knowledge they need to deal with these particular types of questions, as these are the queries they will be specialising in following the implementation of your chatbot. You’ll also have to consider who will be on hand to maintain the chatbot when necessary. Are you going to employ in-house staff to monitor your chatbot, or are going to use a third-party chatbot vendor to deal with these maintenance issues for you? Either way works – it is just a matter of deciding which is best for your business. While chatbots tend to rarely have any technical issues, it’s always best to be prepared for these occasions.  

Have you established your chatbot strategy?

A chatbot without a clear strategy is like having a car with no wheels – you’re simply not going to get anywhere. By developing a chatbot strategy for your business, you ensure that you are going to make the most of your chatbot’s potential. Some of the key components of a chatbot strategy include:  

Setting goals

Ask yourself – what is the purpose of your chatbot? Are you using it to answer simple customer queries, sell products or perhaps a combination of the two? Once you have established what you are trying to achieve with the chatbot, then the rest of your development process can be built around these set goals. You’ll want to bear this in mind when developing the script for the chatbot and deciding how the bot is going to interact with your customers.  

Define the capabilities of your chatbot

Simply put – how much do you want your chatbot to be able to do? Not only do you want to set out the key tasks you want your chatbot to carry out, but you also want to set the chatbot’s limitations. There’s no point trying to tell yourself that your chatbot will be able to answer every possible query, because this is simply an unrealistic expectation. As we have noted in the past, there will be some queries that will require human intervention due to their complexity. Therefore, it is important to define the point at which your chatbot will need to pass the query or task onto a customer service agent. By doing this, you can ensure that you won’t leave any of your customers frustrated at a chatbot’s attempts to answer a query it is not capable of resolving.  

Decide how you are going to measure success

Metrics are vital for any campaign or digital strategy, and chatbots are no exception. They can be incredibly useful in measuring how well your chatbot is performing. Also, they show you the areas in which your chatbot is successful as well as the places where your chatbot may require improvement. Without defining your KPIs, there is no way of seeing what is working with your chatbot and what isn’t. You may want to measure metrics such as average time spent on chat, retention rate, as well as customer satisfaction. We have even compiled a list of 15 key performance metrics for chatbots to give you some further inspiration.  

Have you allowed time for development and testing?

We all know that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a chatbot. Yes, it is possible to build a chatbot in a number of days, or even minutes – but it isn’t going to be very good. It takes time to develop and build a chatbot that is going to provide the best possible results for a business. As a rule of thumb, we would say that it takes between 1-3 months to build a fully fledged and comprehensive chatbot. You will also need to allow sufficient time for testing. There’s no point sending your chatbot live if it will need to be taken down and fixed only hours later. After all, we all remember what happened with Microsoft’s Twitter chatbot Tay – who was shut down a mere 16 hours after its launch. You will need to spend time testing out some of the typical queries that your chatbot will be expected to answer, as well as some in depth UI/UX testing. In addition, you should make sure that your bot is able to recognise different iterations of the same query. For example, a bot may recognise and respond to “Bin day Cardiff” but won’t understand the question, “What days are my bins being collected in the Cardiff area?”. By allowing yourself this additional testing time, there is a lower risk of your users experiencing problems with your chatbot later on. If you think your business is ready for a chatbot, then get in touch. Our IntelAgent chatbot technology is allowing businesses across the UK and Europe to provide their customers with effective and high quality customer service as well as helping them increase efficiencies and save money. To find out more, book a demo with us today.