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September 19, 2018

Three steps to starting your brand’s chatbot customer experience journey.

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A quick guide towards choosing a chatbot route that’s right for your brand's needs.

With dozens of chatbot solutions and capabilities out there, it can be difficult to know which one is right for your needs. We’re having regular conversations with clients on whether to ‘to bot’ or ‘not to bot’ in offering better customers experiences from their brand. We thought it would be useful to share some of these foundational questions for marketers to consider as they go down this path with their 2019 CX planning.

Here’s the approach we’re taking with client. Our goal has been to make it as simple for clients to start their customer chatbot journey - breaking it down step by step.

Three steps to start your customer chatbot journey

1. Set chatbot goals

What are your chatbot goals?

It’s crucial to create chatbot goals that are tightly aligned with your business goals and customer service guarantees in order to employ a chatbot service that solves the real problems your brand might be facing today.

For example:

  • If your business goal is to increase marketing outreach, your chatbot goals will include employing a service that provides customers with tips, recommendations, and reviews.
  • If your business goal is to decrease traffic on your customer support channel, your chatbot goals will include employing a service that handles mid-level customer service requests such as password changes or booking reservations in a more automated fashion.

Everyone’s general goals should include using a chatbot service that is flexible, scalable, and omni-channel in nature starting with Facebook and your website.

2. Make a list of non-negotiable features

What features must your chatbot possess in order to be useful?

You may have noticed that chatbot services range in capabilities. For example, one chatbot may be able to provide sophisticated customer service requests but only in one language. While another chatbot can only answer simple questions but in 10 different languages.

Making a list of non-negotiable features will help to determine which chatbot service will provide optimal returns based on your needs.

For example:

  • Which languages do you require your chatbot to speak?
  • What questions must your chatbot be able to answer?
  • What kind of content does your chatbot need to be able to provide?
  • Will your chatbot require some machine learning techniques to be able to update based on changes? That means, will your chatbot need to have access to a database?

3. Choose between a paid off-the-shelf service or build-it-yourself solution

Based on your requirements and goals answered from the previous questions, will a paid or build-it-yourself solution be more useful? This is a critical question that determines the direction of the remainder of your chatbot journey. Based on your previous answers, are you in the market for a chatbot that satisfies basic or sophisticated needs?

Here are some of the differences between paid and build-it-yourself chatbot solutions:

Build-it-yourself:

  • Hire a developer
  • Invest more time and resources, such as money, a technical team, and so on in the short-run
  • Design custom capabilities and a deeper conversation flow
  • Increase flexibility and scalability

According to RubyGarage, the approximate cost to build a chatbot from scratch is anywhere between $6000 to $12240.

For example, Google Dialogflow allows users to build customized bots on multiple platforms including Google Assistant, Alexa, Cortana, Facebook Messenger, and more. Furthermore, if you're are using more than one platform, you can create a customized and seamless omnichannel chatbot branded experience. Dialogflow also supports over 20 languages.

  • No coding required
  • Simple to install
  • Less choice in terms of capabilities, flexibility, and scalability; some chatbot capabilities are available on Facebook but not on Slack

According to RubyGarage, to employ a paid service that includes 50 bots and 50,000 messages is about $100/ month.

For example, MobileMonkey is designed for marketers who don’t have the technical background or resources available to code a custom chatbot. With features such as Facebook Messenger Chat Blaster, Facebook Click-to-Messenger Ad Integration, and Easy-to-Use Facebook Messenger Chatbot Builder, MobileMonkey is particularly useful for brands targeting customers that use Facebook messenger as a primary customer-community channel.

To bot or not to bot?

Bots done right, done well are an excellent way to strengthen your brand’s affinity when the brand voice, experience and customer needs are exceeded. The primary difference between the two routes is that a build-it-yourself platform requires more time and resources, while the paid solution can be more ready-made, 'self-serve' and technology future-proof with the right partner.

We hope these three questions will give you some valuable food for thought in taking the next steps in brand’s journey into chatbots. We’d love to know what your 2019 plans are for lighting up a bot for your prospects and customers?

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