Of course, there are different levels of complexity when it comes to chatbots and a more sophisticated conversational AI chatbot requires more training and machine learning than a basic rules-based bot (for more details, see Chatbot Examples).
Here's a basic outline of how to create your own chatbot.
Firstly, what do you want your chatbot to do and what do you want to achieve with your chatbot? For example, you may be looking for a customer service assistant that will automate most of your customer engagement conversations.
There are many chatbot platforms available, like Google Dialogflow, Microsoft Bot Framework, IBM Watson and HubSpot’s chat builder tools. However, if you require a more specialised chatbot specific to your industry, you will need to work with a professional solution provider.
What type of conversations you need your chatbot to have will depend on the objectives you laid out in the first step. Will it be a straightforward Q&A chatbot, or will it have a more complex conversational flow? At this stage, think about the end goal of each customer conversation.
Next, build and train your chatbot based on your conversational flow design using the tools provided by the platform. Many platforms use a drag-and-drop interface which makes bot design easy.
Take care when writing the actual conversations that you add the personal, human touch that will resonate with your customers.
For AI chatbots, you need to teach them the language of your industry and how best to speak to your customers in a respectful and natural-sounding way. This is where technology such as natural language processing, named entity recognition, sentiment analysis, neural linguistics and machine learning come into play.
When setting up your chatbot, be sure to take security, data privacy, and scalability into account. Also, you may need to connect it to an APIs if third-party or other internal data are needed.
Before launching your chatbot for your customers to use, test it thoroughly to make sure it works as you intended it to. Best practice is to have multiple people test it to get a range of feedback and to catch any bugs.
Once you're satisfied that your chatbot is good to go, launch it and make sure to maintain it regularly to keep it functioning at peak performance.
To learn more about chatbots, see:
Get your copy of a handy Chatbot Testing Checklist.