In this post, I’ll explain a methodology we have developed at Fourcast for getting you on board in the wonderful -and sometimes painful- journey of building a chatbot or voice chatbot that fits your business strategy. “We need a chatbot because it’s cool” is simply not enough for your (voice)chatbot project to succeed. If you follow the 5 steps of our methodology, your chatbot project will align with your business objectives and therefore is set up to become a success.
If you ended up here, you either understand what value voice and chatbots can bring to your business and your customer experience. Or you liked the first part of this article which explains the benefits of (voice)chatbots for companies, you start to understand what it could mean for your business and you want to learn more.
So let’s get started with exploring how you can build a voicebot or chatbot that fits your business strategy!
Why would you build a bot in the first place?
Well for starters, bots can significantly improve your customer experience. And trust me, your consumers want the best customer experience when interacting with your brand.
Based on research of Ubisend, who conducted a chatbot survey in 2017 (yes that’s old but still relevant) and in 2019, 57% of UK consumers know what a chatbot is. On top of that, 27% of consumers worldwide are very interested in Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based tools: these people would buy a basic item through a chatbot.
It gets even more encouraging when you look at research done by Hubspot: 40% of consumers don’t care whether a chatbot or a real human helps them.
They just want to get things done – and buy from you.
I can throw in a lot more figures to convince you that what I’m trying to say makes some sense, but I’ll save my energy on showing you how to get it done instead. You can always check out my previous blog post about the benefits of bots for companies here.
5 steps to build a chatbot that fits your business strategy
Let’s dive in to the different steps that you can use as a checklist to align your voicebot or chatbot project with your business strategy and goals.
1. Define your competitive strategy
To define your competitive strategy, I recommend you to look at the Value Disciplines model described by Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema. They identify three value disciplines: operational excellence, customer intimacy and product leadership. You must choose one of these for your business, and act upon it consistently and vigorously.
The value discipline you choose is a key element, as it will set the course for how you will arrange the rest of the steps for building the perfect chatbot that fits your strategy. And no, you can’t choose them all.
SWOT on the customer experience level
Now that you have an idea in what field you want to operate, it’s time to make a CX SWOT analysis of your company, your processes or products. Not the SWOT you probably already have, but zoom in on your customer experience for this CX SWOT (Customer Experience is indeed what the CX stands for).
Try to understand how a better customer experience can enforce your Strengths, remove your Weaknesses, make use of your Opportunities and minimise your Threats.
Your chatbot role
Now that you’ve identified your CX SWOT, let’s figure out what will be the role of your chatbot. This will define the personality of your chatbot and will guide you to build the perfect customer experience as you move on to the next step.
You can get inspiration for the different roles a chatbot can have in the following diagram:
2. Find the processes that hurt
By the time you arrive at this step, it’s pretty clear when looking at your CX SWOT what opportunities you’re missing out on and where your weak spots are.
It’s the perfect time to reimagine your business processes as conversations. We do this with a small role play game:
The challenge of building a chatbot isn’t a technical one. It’s conversational. Your job is to understand the interactions your audience is already having with your brand. Then, you harness the chat interface in a way that yields maximum impact with minimum fluff.
3. Assemble the right team
Before you dive right in the creation process of your voice bot or chatbot, you need a dream team that will work together towards a successful implementation of your bot.
Ideally, you need all of the following profiles in this team. Don’t forget the conversation designer! This is a team member that is often overlooked when putting together a chatbot or voice bot creation team.
4. Define your service DNA
Does your chatbot have a narrow or a wide scope? Will it be reactive or proactive? Will it give information or do stuff? The answers to this type of questions form the service DNA of your bot.
To determine the service DNA of your bot, we’ve created the sliders below that will guide you to fine tune the role of your chatbot which you drafted in step 2.
It’s also a check to make sure that you’re laser focused and should align perfectly with the roles your bot will take plus the value discipline it adheres to.
5. Craft your conversation flow and get going
You’re done with the difficult part now. Just kidding, but this part is actually fun as you get to see your bot coming to life! Whatever you do, especially the IT people in your team: STOP thinking in a linear way.
When building the conversation, there are a few hundred ways to enter in a specific flow to get to an outcome. Instead: prototype, test & reiterate your flow! We recommend using post-its to get started with crafting your conversation flow while keeping overview and remaining flexible.
While designing your conversations, it’s also time to choose a persona that fits your bot and your brand. If you have followed the steps above, this part should be a piece of cake!
Once you are happy with your conversations, there’s one last step you need to think about: whatever you do, fail gracefully because:
Making sure your chatbot or voice bot project is fully aligned with your business strategy is a first crucial step that can make or break your project. That’s why I recommend using the 5 steps above as a brainstorm checklist before you start actually building your bot for your business. Good luck!
Want to get a head start with your voice bot or chatbot project?
Come to the Chatbothon on 11th of March & go back to the office with a bot for your business!
Want some personalised help? We help enterprises like yours to build hyper-personalised customer experiences with big data, machine learning and AI. Simply contact us to start talking about how a voicebot or chatbot can benefit your business!