How to Build a Chatbot? (Chapter 4)

The 2018 Complete Guide to Chatbots

Chapter 4


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How to Build a Chatbot?

For a basic bot, there are three types of agents needed:  A support agent, a FAQ agent, and one or more conversational agents.

Support agent:  This agent handles all the basic questions such as “Where are you located?” or “What is your billing phone number?” A more complex support agent would answer questions like “What software do I use for product X?” or “How do I add XYZ feature to my ABC product?”  Support agents often have sub-intents for each product or service.

FAQ agent:  The FAQ agent answers all the general questions from a user. The questions may be from prospects or customers. The FAQ agent is not as detailed as a complex support agent, but it quickly answers the question or points the user to a page or a document that has the answer.

Conversations:  At least one conversation is needed just to introduce the chatbot to the user and ask how it can help. For leads and sales, a decision tree of questions is asked to either point the user to the right product or service, or to make the user understand the value of the product or service, gather contact information or make a purchase. In many cases, you will have different conversations on different sections of the site.

Here are two examples of where a conversation can be used.

  • If you have two products that serve five different industries, you have to ask which industry they are in, and provide the benefits and features for that industry.
  • If you are trouble shooting a support question, you must have some basic facts such as what product they have now, if they are using a Mac or PC, what browser they use, etc.

Here are the first three steps in creating the chatbot conversation.

  1. Draw a thought bubble diagram of all the types of conversations that would happen on the site.
  2. Create a spreadsheet that has a list of questions and answers along with button options and their actions. This will replicate the scenario of a customer talking to a salesperson. Start with the most common questions. Over time you will see questions that you did not think of, and you can add those questions to the spreadsheet.
  3. Think about how each question can be asked by the user. Break out each question into 15 to 20 different ways it could be asked. You can use wildcards to make this easier.
  4. Enter the questions and answers into the chatbot platform and test each question.

Here is an example of a bubble diagram. A chatbot’s architecture includes sub-conversations similar to a real human conversation. A bubble diagram allows you to organize different topics and figure out how they are related.

how to build a chatbot bubble diagram
Here is an example of the question and answer spreadsheet:

Question Answer Button Action
What is your phone number Our number is 123-1223-1223
Do you sell cars? Yes do you want 2 wheel drive or 4 wheel drive? 2 wheel Go to URL…
4 wheel Show text….

The next step in a chatbot conversation is to create a default introduction question. The default introduction question is like a website homepage where users see the same information each time they visit. The default question affects the conversion rate and the effectiveness of the chatbot. Without a good intro question, users will not engage with the chatbot.

Let’s say you own a flower shop. What is a typical conversation that a flower shop has with its customers? Here is an example:

Option one:

Hi, I am a chatbot. What type of flowers are you looking for?

  • Roses
  • Lilies
  • Asters
  • Carnations
  • Tulips

The user clicks on the type of flower they want and the chatbot directs them to a page where they can order it. The chatbot can also ask a qualifying question such as color before it redirects the user to the website.

Option two:

Hi, I am a chatbot. What type of event do you need flowers for?

The chatbot listens for specific words such as a wedding, funeral, graduation, performance, etc. When the chatbot hears that flowers are needed for a wedding, it responds with:

Great! I love weddings! How many flower arrangements are needed for the wedding? The chatbot will ask more questions such as:

Does the bride want wrist corsages or lapel corsages?
Is the bride carrying a bridal bouquet?
What types of flowers does the bride like?
What are the wedding theme colors?

Then the chatbot can offer suggestions based on these answers, such as what type of flowers look good in a bridal bouquet based on the wedding theme colors.

Option two represents a consultation type of sales experience where you want to understand the customer’s wants and needs, and provide information and suggestions that are relevant to the conversation.

Once you come up with the default question, then you create intents that are specific to that question.

To learn more, you can read this blog post on How to Build Chatbot. There are also more details in the PDF version of this ebook.


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Greg Ahern

Greg Ahern Founder and President of Ometrics® is a fanatic about conversion rate optimization, chatbots and lead generation. Greg has been a successful Internet entrepreneur since 1994. He speaks at conferences and webinars and has built a number of internet businesses, including web marketing, web development and internet lead generation, which have been successfully acquired. Greg is the Denver Chapter Leader for the Digital Analytics Association. You can follow Greg on Twitter @gregahern and join his CRO Hacks Groups on Facebook and Slack.
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