What makes a great chatbot? Laser focus on customers

Chatbot success hinges on the right NLP algorithms and regular upkeep, experts say. Here’s how to ensure your chatbot initiative pays off.

What makes a great chatbot? Laser focus on customers

From restaurants to transportation, chatbots that mimic human speech while facilitating tasks on behalf of humans are seemingly everywhere.

Twenty-five percent of customer service and support operations will integrate some form of virtual customer assistant or chatbot technology this year, up from less than 2 percent in 2017, according to Gartner. Processing customer requests on websites, mobile apps, consumer messaging apps and social networks are among the top uses, the research firm says.

Chatbot success hinges on a deep understanding of your customers, says HyperGiant CEO Ben Lamm, who built chatbots for the likes of TGI Fridays, Whole Foods, and Shake Shack as the CEO of Conversable, a maker of chatbot software. The technology must be designed and deployed with clear customer experience mandates, goals and key performance indicators that show value for the user, he says.

"Whether that’s more convenient purchases, streamlined conversational support, or elevating your experience of a live event, the chatbot needs to take the customer experience to a new level of engagement," says Lamm, who sold Conversable to LivePerson in 2018.

Here product owners who’ve built chatbots share the secrets of their success, including precautions companies should take when building them.

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