How to Build a Chatbot for Your Business
Chatbots bring ease and efficiency to your customers and your business.
To start us off, let us first understand the meaning of a chatbot. A chatbot is a tool that employs Artificial Intelligence to simulate a conversation with a human user through messaging platforms, websites or a mobile application. Chatbots are increasing in popularity day after day. More businesses are now investing heavily in chatbots. According to an Opus Research report, the total amount of money that will be invested in chatbots by 2021 will reach 4.5 billion dollars. This trend is mainly contributed by the fact that chatbots play a very vital role in businesses. They accelerate operations by dealing with an unlimited number of conversations as compared to humans. They are also easy to use, cost-effective and efficient. These plus many other benefits leave you with no option but to have them for your business. Building a chatbot for your business is a worthy undertaking. It involves some steps which are elaborated in this article.
How your customers can benefit from chatbots?
Although Artificial Intelligence has not hit the intended heights where they can wholly imitate humans, artificial intelligence and chatbots to be specific can significantly contribute to the success of your business. Here are some of the benefits of using chatbots;
- They can help your customers to decide on the purchase
- Chatbots have been useful in dealing with customer objections
- They can quickly inform customers about some of the details about the business, such as the cost of the product and the discounts attached to the products.
- Chatbots establish communication with customers.
- They help collect feedback about customer experiences with the product and the proposed areas of improvements that customers suggest.
- Chatbots will usually help customers to track their products after making a purchase.
How to build a chatbot for your business
There exist two approaches that you can adopt when building a chatbot for your business. You can choose to build it from scratch, or you can choose a chatbot development platform. The two approaches are discussed here;
1. Building a chatbot bot from scratch
With this approach, the essential point that you should know is the webhook binding. A webhook refers to a kind of script that is tasked with providing request transitions from the messaging platform to the chatbot tool. The primary role of the webhook is to give notifications about all the chat activities, including button clicks and messages.
For the webhook to be effective and for it to operate on the popular messengers, you will need to have a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL certificate) from a trusted certificate provider. SSL certificate is a security tool that has proved to be effective in encrypting all the communications between servers and users’ websites. It is a vital tool when you need to create a chatbot for business. Because chatbots are all about facilitating communications, these communications need to be encrypted and kept safe from the hands of intruders. Secondly, for the webhook to be effective, you will need to generate a token that is vital for processing requests to the messenger Application Programming Interface.
On the same discussion on how to build a chatbot from scratch, we should take into account the essence of programming languages such as Node. Js, and PHP. Mostly, the decision of which programming language should be used will solely lie in the hands of the developer. It is upon the developer to decide which programming language to adopt.
At this point, the module for the chatbot is already created. The next thing to do after the chatbot has been created is to bind it with the webhook. You will then provide an event subscription for the tool. However, this is not a mandatory procedure as messengers provide automatic event subscriptions.
Message exchange principles
Whenever an event occurs, webhook will create a POST request in a JSON format. The request will carry all the required details such as the time when the message was received, the text of the message, identification details of the user, among others. The chatbot tool will then process the request and then choose the most appropriate response for the request. After choosing the response, the chatbot will then connect to the messenger Application Programming Interface. The response will then be sent via a POST request in a JSON format.
The chatbot will need to be approved by the messenger administration. Check out the following examples:
- Telegram will require no specific publishing procedure and will allow for immediate connection to a chatbot
- Skype will demand that the chatbot be registered and approved on the app website.
- Viber will require that a bot publication form be filled and submitted.
To make your chatbot even more useful, you can include some Intelligent artificial services such as using an IBM Watson conversation tool, using a Microsoft LUIS or a dialogue flow. The importance of doing this is that these features will make your chatbot more like human and improve the responses.
2. Building a chatbot using chatbot development platforms
With this approach, you do not need to be an expert in programming, nor do you need vast levels of experience in building chatbots. Specialized services such as Chatfuel, Botsify, Manychat and FlowXO, you can easily create a chatbot for your business. The only limitation that comes with such services is the messenger voice. However, these services remain easy to use as they offer constructor and aides that can help you in creating an interactive course. Some of the platforms will even allow you to implement a keyword-based action list.
Although it might look easy for you to create a chatbot using a development platform, you should know that it is not advisable as things might go wrong. The best option is to hire the services of experts or developers to do the work for you. Expert developers will help you come up with a perfect chatbot that will be effective for your business. They will create a chatbot that will be efficient and one that will work properly for your customers.
Chatbots are the future
Artificial Intelligence has taken a new wave. Businesses are adopting it more than it was anticipated. It plays a massive role in the success of the businesses and in streamlining business processes. One form of artificial intelligence that is widely being adopted is the use of chatbots. Chatbots are very vital in communications. This article has explained how you can create a chatbot for your business to help you streamline your communications.
Entrepreneur Leadership Network Writer