Building artificially intelligent chatbots can usher amazing new automation, insights, and ultimately revenues for your business ventures. So… times wasting, let’s get to building! Right? Wrong.
As with any other project, particularly those technical in nature, finding the balance between the deploy and learn approach and one that is more tempered in nature is a best practice. Take a moment to sharpen your pencil and start with the big-picture view of your chatbot end-state in mind.
We are usually on autopilot when we speak with other people. It’s as natural as it gets. It’s well, human to converse. But chatbots require a bit more from us, at least at the beginning, to get the AI to comprehend and produce valuable interactions.
That’s why the first step to creating a great bot is anticipating what conversations we want our users to have with the bot and then building out a structure to enable that conversation. The first question that we need to ask ourselves is ‘What different topics of conversation will the bot be able to talk about?” Once we’ve figured that out, we’ll then ask, “How is the user going to navigate those topics?”
In this article, we’re going to go over conversation flow design, or how to structure bot conversations.
Drawing a Map
Before we can start connecting the dots, decide what those dots are, to begin with. Begin asking “why?” to as many things about your customer’s behavior. Start asking why a customer calls or messages your company in the first place. Do they want to find locations for your business? Do you want to know the hours? Perhaps they want to schedule an appointment or place an order?
Once we have these ‘conversation topics’, begin mapping them together through a conversation flow. This high-level structure is the layout, the foundation upon which everything else is built.
At this stage, we’re not concerned about the copy, or the actual words that the bot’s going to say. Instead, we just need to think about how our topics connect to each other.
For example, once our bot provides a list of relevant locations to the user, they can select their preferred location to find out more information about it and to schedule an appointment. This all comes down to intuition—it’s the same thing that a human being would do for another.
Essentially, this is a storyboard. The bot guides the user through the story by asking questions. “What zipcode are you looking for locations in?” “Would you like to schedule an appointment?” In this way, one topic leads to another.
Making navigation simple for our users is our top priority. We want to give the user full control over the conversation’s topic. Our bot’s help to make this easy.
We start with discoverability, which is how the bot introduces itself. Its uses should become immediately apparent to the user, and it should provide a navigation menu. The bot will introduce itself, tell the user that it’s a bot, and then give a menu of options from which the user can choose.
We also install wayfinding into the bot’s UI by integrating a menu command. The user should be able to access the main menu at any point in the conversation, as well as go back to a previous moment.
For instance, once the user selects one location out of several options, we’ll give them the option to either move the conversation forward by learning more about that conversation or go back to look again at the options.
The final step of this process is eliciting our stakeholders and users for feedback. We want to ensure that our conversation is as intuitive as we think it is, and we want to address any structural concerns before we go any further. This is a critical feedback loop to address preventable customer-experience mishaps which could have a costly impact on your business metrics and brand.
Once we’ve got our map and navigation structures in place, we can begin to write out the copy. We’ll carefully choose our words so that the bot’s personality matches our brands. This is where the bot comes to life!
If you’re ready to learn more about how Botveu can transform your organization’s customer outreach, we’re here to help. Schedule a free initial discovery call today. Otherwise, check out our other blog articles.