Stop bloating your chatbot and turn it into one that customers love.

What’s the saying? “Nothing worthwhile comes easily.” 

That undoubtedly holds true when it comes to chatbot development. It requires time, effort, resource, and commitment to the challenges you face, to bring about truly excellent chatbots that your customers love. Do you want a bloated chatbot; one that has many dialogues but only goes inch-deep. Or are you looking for something that really helps customers move forward on their most common use cases?

Building an AI assistant that can help your customer rather than simply deliver basic information can be hard work. However, as you can imagine, delivering ‘generic chatbot’ is much easier, and is often the path of least resistance for companies. 

For instance, your car needs a service and you must make an appointment. For a chatbot to engage with this, it requires a complex set of questions and answer scenarios that typically take between five and 10 steps, clicks or ‘turns’ within the interaction. But often chatbot teams go for the quick fix - they let their bot relegate the user to an FAQ response, which  concludes with an online form and doesn’t deliver resolutions for most customers. This setup only works for those customers that have no additional questions, have all their account and car information to hand and don’t need the emotional reassurance throughout their customer journey that their car will be serviced quickly and within budget. Those that do will try to contact the business via other communication channels, or worse, decide to go elsewhere.

At inception, a basic bot has around 10 to 40 FAQ style short dialogues, but as it progresses and interacts, most organizations continue to add more FAQ, because designing and implementing them is relatively simple. Your stakeholders in the business are also happy, because the bot is expanding. As the bot reaches between 100 and 200 dialogues and swells the number of ‘intents’ that ‘recognise’ the incoming questions, it becomes bloated – and there is still no quick, efficient, or satisfactory resolution for the customer. Now the organization has created a monster - a much bigger headache to manage.

The solution to a bloated bot is to slim it down! Do some rigorous cleaning up, look at which flows are actively used by the end user, and disable the rest. This should be done over and over to keep the bot from bloating. Moving forwards from this point, a UX designer or customer journey expert along with the keen eye of a customer services director, can design a new, more proactive bot.

Pick one or two use cases or customer journeys that are core to the business. These are the questions your customers ask the most, and around which you can begin to design a bot that won’t bloat but will ultimately offer a satisfactory outcome. 

Working with a developer, design an effective dialogue. This requires a more granular approach using a conversation designer than the usual method for development. Conversation designers will take it step by step and consider how a human being would break the conversation down into smaller pieces to make it easier and more intuitive for the end user. This has a knock-on effect for the development work making it more time consuming and adding much more value to the bot creation process to deliver an assistant that can find the right solution for the user.

The outcome? A more simple, human, and proactive bot that ultimately finds a resolution for the customer and makes the customer experience better, whilst also reducing the amount of data, dialogues, and intents for internal teams to manage. A win for everyone.

What seems simple for humans and customer service agents isn’t as simple in bot creation – it must be deconstructed into sub steps and every piece of the jigsaw must work. Organisations mistakenly believe that bots can do everything without too much effort on the development side, but like most technology, they require constant improvement and reiteration. 

Rest assured that once the work is done, that’s when you get real automation, and that’s when customers can be truly helped by a chatbot, and the organisation begins to see cost savings. It’s a leap of faith, and can take time, but like we said, nothing worthwhile comes easily.

If you would like to find out more about how The Conversation Design Institute can help you develop truly excellent chatbots that delight your customers or want support in training your team contact us to find out more.