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How to Build a Chatbot

Written by Nick Simard on 10.12.18

What Is A Chatbot?

A chatbot is a form of artificial intelligence (AI) that has automated conversations with users. Chatbots have predetermined responses and simulate human conversation. They are especially useful as a customer service tool or for information requests. 

The purpose of a chatbot is to help provide users with what they need and give them a positive experience with your business. One thing that's great about chatbots is not only do they integrate seamlessly with websites but they also have the ability to integrate with apps, and social media. 


Types Of Chatbots

Typically bots are categorized either as Informational bots or Utility bots. Informational bots are just what they sound like, they send users new information. An example of this could be if the user is subscribed to a blog they can be notified via the informational bot. Or if a new product comes out the bot will inform the user. 


A utility bot is more support focused. For example if a customer is having an issue with their billing, or they are unable to find what they are looking for. The utility bot is programmed to help them solve the problems they are having with your site or user experience. Utility bots are becoming more robust and are the most popular form of chatbots. 



Building A Chatbot

Setting up a chatbot can have its challenges. But before you set up your chatbot you need to have a clear goal. What do you want your chatbot to do specifically? What is the purpose of adding a chatbot to your website, app, or social pages? After you answer these questions, it will be easier to set up the chatbot. 


The main thing you want to keep in mind when setting up your chatbot is that the interaction should sound like it is coming from a person. Include personalization tokens throughout the conversation, and create pauses between each message so the user doesn't get bombarded with them all at once. Your chatbot should be spreading your brand message, so give it a personality. Some bots even have names such as Amazon's Alexa. 


The chatbot should start out with a greeting followed up by asking the user a question to determine what sort of problem they need assistance with. Program the bot to ask follow up questions and include response buttons. Response buttons not only make it easier to program the chatbot to give quality answers, they also provide an easy user experience. 


It is important that your chatbot provides your users with answers and solutions to their questions and problems directly in the chatbot. Users do not want to change platforms to get their answers and they shouldn't have to. Before letting your chatbot go live, test it. Ensure that the chatbot's timing and messaging is right before sending it out for customer use.


Chatbot Builder Platforms

HubSpot acquired Motion AI, one of the top chatbot building platforms in September 2017. HubSpot's chatbot builder is perfect for creating a bot on your website. The easy to use platform requires no coding skills and is free with HubSpot's CRM!


Drift is the perfect platform for qualifying leads. The chatbot can create leads in your CRM based on the answers to qualification questions. Drift integrates with HubSpot, Marketo, Salesforce, MailChimp, and more!


Botsify has chatbots for websites, and Facebook. This is a great option if you want chatbots in multiple locations. They have pre-made templates to help you get started with your chatbots. The platform is easy to use and integrates with Alexa, WordPress, Shopify, and Zapier. 


ChatbotsBuilder is a chatbot platform for Facebook Messenger. The platform is very easy to navigate and provides templates for efficiency and ease of use. The software provides integrations with MailChimp and Zapier. 


SnatchBot's platform is free! When you use SnatchBot you have an unlimited amount of chatbots. Like some of the other platforms they offer templates that you can edit for easy use. SnatchBot integrates with Slack and Twilio.


ItsAlive is another great platform for a Facebook Messenger chatbot. ItsAlive takes you step by step through the process. They have five main services Brand Experience, Augmented Services, Broadcasting, Customer Care, and Acquisition. ItsAlive integrates with 15 different platforms.


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Topics: Digital Marketing, Martech, Chatbots