How to Build Your Own Chatbot from Scratch

If you are running an online business, one of the best ways to enhance your relationship with the customers would be to build your own chatbot. Chatbots are especially useful if you don’t have the time or the personnel to handle all the user request and questions. You can also choose one of two different ways of building them. You can opt for rule-based approach, which will require you to do some hard coding and developing, or create one using machine learning.

All of this was made possible thanks to Facebook, which has provided developers with an open API and documentation, so they can build a chatbot based on Facebook Messenger. Whichever approach you decide on, building a chatbot can be broken down into several basic steps. We have gotten in touch with Chris Cohen from Bestessays, and he decided to share his experience of building a chatbot for their writing service. Keep on reading.

 

1. Choose a Purpose for Your Chatbot

Although it would be ideal to have one chatbot that does it all, it’s better to have one which can solve a very specific problem for the user. In most cases, you will need to build one of two types of chatbots: informational bots and utility bots. For instance, informational bots can be used to send updates and breaking news to users. Utility bots are created to solve problems for users and answer questions, such as answering inquiries, booking tickets, shopping, or ordering items.

Sign up for the free tips on business and productivity today.
Receive email only when we have new content.

 

2. Choose a Messaging App for Your Chatbot

Every chatbot needs a messenger platform. Your choice of messenger depends a lot on who your target audience is. For instance, if your company is more business-oriented, then Slack would be the best option. But, if you are looking to target people on social media, Facebook Messenger or Kik is the way to go or even Viber. Sometimes, you may need to rely on more than one.

 

3. Pick a Platform for Building It

While Facebook provides you with all the tools, resources, and documentation to build your chatbot on Messenger, there are plenty of other platforms, as well, such as Botsify, Bot Kit, Motion AI, Chatfuel, Beep Boop, and so on.

 

4. Design a Personality for Your Bot

Again, this is something that should be in line with your choice of the target audience. For instance, if your chatbot is aimed at the financial sector, then its personality and the tone with which it addresses the users should be more formal. On other hands, if your company is selling makeup, its personality should be more fun and playful.

 

5. Build the Conversation Flow

This refers to the collection of questions that will be presented to the user based on their input. For example, if they give a specific answer, they will be directed to a different set of questions, meaning that every user will receive a custom service that is tailored to their problem and pain point. The bot doesn’t need to speak to an actual human being, but they should be able to interpret the natural language to an extent.

 

6. Create a Connection with the Messaging App

Plenty of platforms allow you to connect your bot to the messenger app. However, you need to pay attention to hidden costs some platforms have, and which are activated in case your chatbot is used by a large number of users. One of the best tools which can help you make this connection is Recast.ai Bot Connector. It works really well if you are looking to reach your users using Kik, Slack, or Facebook Messenger.

 

7. Do Some Beta Testing

Before you can release your chatbot to the general public, you need to make sure that it works as you would expect it to, which means it needs to be tested. You can either put together a group inside your company and have them test it, or you can hire someone externally. In both cases, the goal is to get an objective and honest feedback, even if it’s negative, so you can make all the necessary improvements.

 

8. Promote It

At this point, your chatbot has been completely finished and thoroughly tested, and it’s ready to be published. However, in order for it to fulfill its purpose, your chatbot needs to be promoted. You can do this through different means, such as adding it to directories, or creating a separate landing and using SEO to attract users. Finally, you can include an option inside your email for your users to get it touch with you via your chatbot.

 

Conclusion

If you are looking to expand your business and/or provide a more pleasant experience for your customers, chatbots are definitely the way to go. This article should help start off on the right foot. Good luck!


Joan Selby is a content marketer, former teacher, and fancy shoe lover. A writer by day and reader by night. Find her on Twitter and Facebook.

Some of the link on this post may have affiliate links attached. Read the FTC Disclaimer.