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Beer — The simplest way to develop a chatbot

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Go ahead. Have a pint with a friend.

https://unsplash.com/search/beer?photo=MYxvETrYabg

Seems absurd, doesn’t it? Well. Bear with me for a little while, and it will seem less and less absurd with every passing minute.

What are you building a chatbot for? To have a conversation with your audience. Sure, you may want it to generate leads for you, generate an additional revenue stream for your business, or just make your audience/consumers aware of what is it that your business stands for. But you can’t deny that it all starts with a conversation. That is the foundation of your chatbots.

And what has been driving conversations for decades now?

Beer

Or any booze, to be more precise.

We catch up with friends over beer, we meet our dates over a couple of drinks. That is how most of the great conversations start. We talk about our business, we talk about what’s going on with our lives.

We Talk. Period!

And hence the correlation. So go ahead. Invite a friend to have some cool ones with you. By the end of the conversation, you may have everything you need to build an amazing chatbot.

CONVERSATIONS HELP WITH THE CHATBOT?

Yes, they do.

The problem many of us suffer from is a preconceived notion or bias of what a website, an app or a chatbot needs to be like. That’s wrong.

At the end of the day, the primary intent of having a chatbot is to drive engagement up. Have conversations with your audience. And you simply can’t predict, with precision, the direction the conversation will be headed towards. You get to know that only if you do that — CONVERSE.

HOW SHOULD YOU APPROACH?

  • Think of yourself as the bot, and the friend as the user initiating the chat.
  • Set an identity/persona of the bot. The same persona you assume when you are describing your business.
  • Have an intent

Businesses are driven by intent.

For any action that you take, any changes that you make, there is a certain expected outcome associated. You are trying to get your audience, your users to do something. What is it? Do you want to get the user to be interested in knowing more about the business? Do you want them to simply leave their email, phone number? Do you want to have a channel via which you can keep a constant and regular mode of communication open?

What exactly is the intent behind the conversation ‘you want’ to have with your audience. Identify that, and set that as the tone of the conversation — with your friend!

  • Have zero expectations

Don’t think of your friend as your friend today. Think of him/her as a face in the crowd. Talk to him/her the way you would to a random visitor. Your friend doesn’t owe you shit. The only thing you could have wished for was his willingness to take out an hour or two of his time for you, and he has done that. After that, the ball is completely in your court. If you are unable to interest him in what you are talking about, that’s on you, not him.

  • Evaluate the mood of the conversation

Identify the points where you were able to get his attention, and the points where you sensed it wandering off. Both are important. They will help you identify the anchor points in your conversational flow of the bot, and the black holes where chats go to die as well.

  • Start strong, finish stronger

It is absolutely important for you to start strong. That is the weakest moment where you have the opportunity to get his attention and drive the direction of the conversation.

https://medium.com/media/2292cb8c340b3df590239fdae4e282f5/href

But it is even more important to finish stronger. By the time you finish, you are laying down the final stages of the conversation. You are essentially helping them reach the point where your CTA or intent lies. The conversion percentage of this intent is dependent on how strong or weak you finish. If you are able to get the user to tune in to your wavelength (or vice versa), you have a slam dunk.

  • Have a recording device handy!

I want you to use your smartphone to download an app that can record the whole conversation. Believe me, it will help later.

  • Script out the conversation

Don’t rely on your memory — that is why we used the recording device. Note it all down. The whole transcript.

And then you should identify three points:

#1. Strengths

#2. Weak Links

#3. Forks in the road

  • Start focusing on the forks

In any question, there are more than just one potentially correct response. You ask five people if they want coffee and you may have multiple different responses. Some may like it black, some may love it with cream not sugar (and vice versa), and some may go all the way.

The responses are less important than the question that resulted in the origination of the responses.Why? Because once you gave identified these questions, you can start noting down the possible options different people may give.

  • Build your chatbot

That’s it. We are done. Your conversation, and the analysis of that conversation you did later would have helped you make a better conversational flow and UX, and now all you need to do is to incorporate it in the bot.

Have fun. Let me know if you need more clarity on any of the points.

That’s it for today; see you tomorrow.

I am Abhishek. I am here... there.... Everywhere...
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Beer — The simplest way to develop a chatbot was originally published in Chatbots Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Source: Chatbots Magazine

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