Launching Your First Chatbot – The Essential Checklist

Checklist before launching your chatbot

If you decided to add a chatbot to your website and don’t know where to start, this article is for you.

We conduct many of our daily activities online. Nowadays, most customers  prefer to make purchases online, and this is increasing their need to communicate frequently with companies. 42% of customers prefer chat over email and forums to solve their queries. Therefore, adding a bot that can talk to your customers online is critical to achieving your business goals. 

Unlike human staff, chatbots can have an unlimited number of conversations at the same time, increasing your reach. At SCSS Consulting we are helping customers tap on this market opportunity. 

Including a great bot that keeps and converts visitors can be a challenge.  But hopefully, with our SCSS Chatbot Checklist, your chatbot will be a hit from the start. In this post, we’ll bring you what to consider before launching, and simple steps so your bot will stand out from the beginning. 

Checklist to Get Your Chatbot Right at the First Time

SCSS chatbot checklist

1. Keep the Eye on the Goal

The first step to make a successful chatbot is to define the purpose of the chatbot and work on it around this goal. Focus on your user intent and build the conversation around the user and goal. 

Ask yourself what is the purpose of the chatbot. Is it to promote content, book demos, or give customer support? Chatbots cannot do it all at the beginning, so you should pick the more critical problem you want your chatbot to solve and start with it. The more defined your bot, the more likely to address the customer’s queries. Once the bot is trained and performing successfully, you can add other features and flows. 

2. Give Your Chatbot a Personality

Your chatbot needs to have a personality that aligns with your company’s voice and tone. Is your voice casual? Authoritative?. Create a story for your chatbot, give it a name. Decide the tone of the conversation, and stick with that style and tone. Don’t forget the small talk, a friendly greeting can be an ice-breaker. The personality of the chatbot should be consistent through the interaction with the user.

3. Define the Conversational Flow 

The dialogue chart is one of the critical points of developing a chatbot. Create different conversations for different queries. There are a couple of important points to ensure it will be successful:

Create a conversation diagram

A diagram can help you have a clear picture of the posible dialog of your chatbot and the customer. Some elements you may include in your chatbot:

  • The greeting: Don’t leave the user hanging with an open-ended welcome greeting: Hello! How can I help you?, What can I do for you today?These types of openings invite customers to write elaborate answers. Those may risk the bot’s interpretation and damage the interaction. Instead, write a custom opening.  After the friendly greeting, include an opening that guides  users, for example: “Talk to me about (your product)”. This will define what the bot can do. Then add a phrase stating the purpose of the bot.
  • Question: seek information, for example, “What service do you need today?”
  • Informing: gives relevant information, as an answer or comment. 
  • Suggestion:presents the customer with actions or options. 
  • Conclusion: concludes the conversation. 
  • You should also have elements to address errors, and apologize to the user when the bot doesn’t understand something. 

Once you decide on the elements, draw the diagram. This is an example of a simple appointment setting diagram. 

Conversational flow diagram for chatbots

This will help you to see how the conversation may flow. When you have the structure in place you can write different conversation scenarios. Fine tuning the conversation may take some time but it’s ok. Just write a basic script with possible outcomes.

4. Add Widgets 

According to a study, adding an image to a piece of content makes the reader remember 65% of the info, in contrast to 10% for content without images. We are visual creatures, so attract the user and make your chat memorable by adding visual content. 

Content widgets help you add visuals to the dialogues. This can include, images, Galleries, Videos, GIFs or email notifications. Choose widgets that push the conversation towards the goal. Widgets can also help you personalize the conversation and make it more interesting. 

dynamic widgets on chatbot

5. Use Keyword Triggers

You can add triggers to your bot dialogues to encourage conversation with your bot. Triggers are words that a visitor types in the chat that can open different dialogues from the bot. For example, if a visitor types “pricing”, the chatbot could respond with the prices for your products or services.

6. Give a Path

Chatbots rely on the user input to move the conversation. Therefore, create paths or the user to get the answers they need. You can include option menus or add buttons to guide the user through a predetermined path. The user can then select the option of their choice and continue their journey.

Be sure to make space for errors. If a bot doesn’t understand something, add a polite message and options for the user to continue the conversation or derive to human being.  

7. Save User Responses to Segment Audiences

Every time a visitor uses your chatbot, they leave valuable information that you can use to create audiences. When you ask users to share their locations or email addresses or even preferences, you save the user responses to create customer profiles. Later, you can segment the customer profiles into audiences. This helps you to refine your marketing and also your chatbot. 

8. Test the Chatbot Early

Once you have a chatbot that fills your requirements, it’s time to test the bot. You should refrain from delaying the testing by adding every single functionality you can think of. Instead, test the bot once you achieve minimal functionality. 

You can  ask for beta testers to test your bot, or if you are a big enterprise, launch it internally. This will give you a great opportunity to train your bot and make your staff familiar to it.  

9. Pick the Right Channel for Your Bot

Visitors come to your site via different points of entry. The number can vary according to the different platforms you launched your chatbot on. It can be via Instagram chat, Facebook Messenger.  Some ways a visitor can interact with your bot includes:

  • Sending a message to a Facebook page
  • When they comment to a post that has a chatbot responding to commenters
  • Clicking a CTA button in a Messenger ad, an email, social media or website.
  • Chatting with your bot on your website.
Pick the Right Channel for Your Bot

When you start with your chatbot, pick only one channel to begin with. This will give you more control and insights about the chatbot performance. You can add other channels later. 

10. Include a CTA at the End of the Funnel

You should include CTA buttons in your chatbot dialogue. This will hopefully give your visitors a little push towards completing their goal. Some examples of CTAs you can use during the conversation include:

  • You can invite the readers to sign up for an email list, or take them to your webpage
  • Use the CTA buttons to direct customers to useful sections of your website. 
  • You can add surveys both in conversation and post conversation. In Conversation Surveys. You can use a pre chat survey to help with registration or ask questions about demographics, location and such. Telemedicine chatbots are an example of this. Use Post Conversation Surveys to ask questions about the chat performance or satisfaction with the service they received.

11. Define the Strategy and Tech for Continuous Improvement

Chances are that the chatbot won’t be able to recognize everything the visitor is saying from the start. Therefore, it is important to have an improvement process in place. This will allow you to identify where the chatbot is struggling and train it. You can combine manual and Artificial Intelligence training. That way, you can have an ongoing refinement process. 

Benefits of Adding a Chatbot to your Website

1. The no. 1 reason for incomplete sales is the late response of the sales chats.  Your website helpdesk can have no waiting time. Customers don’t want to wait for answers when they are looking for help. A chatbot gives you instant responses. 

2. A chatbot improves the level of your customer service.Chatbots that are equipped with Natural Language Processing (NLP), can decode the users’ natural language. They can interpret semantics, syntax, and speech, to detect the user’s intent.  

3. Chatbots improve user engagement. Crafting the right user experience can be a challenge sometimes for UX designers. Chatbots offer users a direct interaction with the website, increasing their engagement.

4. Can help target a wider audience. Since you can launch the bot on several messaging platforms, this helps you reach other audiences than the one that visits your website. You can tap on the popularity of Facebook, Slack and WhatsApp for the benefit of your site.

5. Helps with Abandoned Carts. A chatbot can send automated reminders and follow-up notifications to track abandoned shopping carts. In addition, there are some cases where the customers abandon the carts because of unresolved queries. To prevent this, you can integrate the API of a payment system with the chatbot. This can give buyers a way to get answers to issues that can prevent them to complete the checkout process.

6. Can help with push notifications. Sometimes, notifications cannot gain the attention of the customers, because of the message being poorly crafted or irrelevant. An integration solution can help by giving push notifications at critical times.

7. Provide high availability. Almost half of customers expect a business to be available 24/7/365 days. Messaging apps like Facebook, WhatsApp, Kik and others, help your company to offer responses to customers around the clock. Customers can reach your company whenever they want.

Best Practices to Create a Chatbot  

Start by considering if a chatbot is the right solution for your customers. Bots are built to address customer problems. Some examples of chatbot purpose include:

  • Automate a process that is taken care of by human staff. 
  • Address unattended user needs. 
  • Allow users to interact via the channel they want. 

There are many approaches to build a chatbot. Below are a few best practices you’ll find helpful:

1. Integrate platform features

Whichever platform you choose for your bot, check you integrated the platform core features. For example, when working with Facebook Messenger, you can add message templates and quick replies. That can make it easier for the user to formulate their questions and create a better experience. 

2. Ensure a smooth onboard

The first seconds a customer starts using your chatbot are critical to decide if they will interact with your app or not. You should include a brief welcome message when a user clicks the chat button. It should address the person by name, and outline what the chatbot can do for the user.

3. Be concise

Sometimes users will use the chatbot as a type of search engine. Take advantage of this and make your chat respond to as few words as possible. Without context, it can be difficult for the chatbot to understand the intent of the user. You can include these situations when training your chatbot.

You can also train the chatbot to support one-tap responses. Give buttons so an user can answer “yes” or “no” with a single tap. This is also useful when you have conversation topics with popular answers, such as in customer support. You can also use it to suggest conversation topics to users. 

4. Don’t repeat yourself

Sometimes chatbot conversations enter a loop, going back to the same topic. This frustrates users and can hurt the intention of the chatbot. You can avoid user frustration by following these couple of tips:

  • Give multiple responses for each node in the conversation. Some platforms allow you to select a range of responses for a single node in the conversation flow. 
  • Set the chatbot to detect repeat visits to a single node. That way you can catch if the conversation is going in circles and hand off the chat to a person. 

5. Have a fail-over plan

When conversation is failing, address your user’s frustration. You can offer alternatives, such as talking to a real person or go to a section of the website where they may find the answers Some interactions are still too complex for a bot to handle. If you can detect these cases, you can promptly direct the conversation to a human staffer, addressing the user’s concerns. 

6. Handle open user intents. 

Even AI-powered chatbots can find it hard to interpret open user-intents. How can you prevent confusion and possibly failure? 

  • When you’re training the bot, give it as many examples as possible. 
  • Add AI Natural Language Processing capabilities to the bot so it can include semantic understanding. 

7. Beta-test the bot 

User-centered design requires having real users interact with the product. Chatbots need to train how to support natural user interactions.  When you let users beta-test the bot, you gain valuable information to improve the program. 

However, sometimes users doing a beta-test behave differently than users in a real interaction. Test-users can be interested in other types of questions than real users. You can detect this by asking for the real users to give feedback, so you can pinpoint mistakes and confusions. 

8. Automate continuous testing

You should implement continuous monitoring processes to allow for refining and updating the chatbot as needed. This can be automated. At SCSS Consulting, we monitor and improve your chatbot regularly. 

Questions to Ask Before Launching Your Chatbot

You went over the checklist, and your chatbot is ready to launch. Now is the time for a final checkup, to avoid potential pitfalls. Before going live, ask yourself these questions about key factors for success:

  1. Functionality
  • Is the bot stable? Test your bot behaviour under heavy traffic. If it can manage multiple conversations without crashing. 
  • Do the functions work? Test all the functions in different scenarios. 
  • Does the bot respond quickly? Nowadays, users don’t wait long for your chatbot to respond. If they don’t get an instant response, they move out of your page or to your competitor’s. 
  • Does your chatbot have a personality? Does the personality align with the voice and tone of your company?
  • Do the buttons direct to the correct page? Adding buttons to the conversation can improve the flow, but only if they aid in the customer journey. Check that they direct to the correct page to push the user further in the funnel. 
  1. Personalization. Are the messages personalized? Do you offer guidance and context to guide the user? 
  2. Discoverable. If people don’t know about your bot, they won’t use it. Be sure you are promoting it on your social channels, your blog, everywhere your potential customers can use this functionality. 
  3. Goal. Does the bot answer your business goals? Is it increasing conversions, improving customer service? Check the metrics and refine accordingly. 

What’s Next

Adding a chatbot to your website can be a great opportunity to reach your users. It provides advantages such as increasing your reach, improving customer service and more. 

With this post, you are equipped with a chatbot checklist and several tips to make the most of your chatbot strategy. A custom chatbot solution can maximize the bot functionality, adapting it to your business and strategy.

Contact SCSS Consulting today and get started. 

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