• Vendor Selection: The Less Glamorous Side of Your Chatbot Development Journey

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    Chatbots are fast-emerging as a vital component in customer interactions across all channels, with a promise to redefine the customer experience offered by businesses.Chatbots are capable of not only answering the customer requests but also engaging them in conversations. All this can done in the language of the customer’s choice.

    Businesses across the globe are readily investing in Chatbots. If you are a company that invests heavily in customer experience, it’s time you wake up to Chatbots.

    However, what companies must take note of is that building a bot is a huge commitment. Before you begin to build a Chatbot for your business it is crucial to frame the right strategy through thoughtful planning. In doing so, you thoroughly scrutinize the Chatbot partners you are considering developing a bot for you.

    The Chatbot development partner you select has to be well-versed with all the right platforms and channels where you want to launch the bot. In addition, your development partner must have complete clarity on which technology to use while building a bot for solving a specific customer problem.

    Qualities That Can Help You Identify The Right Chatbot Vendor For You

    Additionally, a service provider that is focused on delivering quality software instead of adding more clients would be the best bet for your company. This will help you find the solutions that will best suit your business needs.

    The credibility lies in the ability of the company in presenting to you a Proof-Of-Concept (POC) before you hire it. If you are a new company, getting feedback from their clients can also be insightful for you.

    1. Good Understanding Of Bots In Context  Of Customer Journey

    The real purpose of introducing Bots is to create a touchpoint in the customer’s digital journey by reducing friction or the consumer’s aversion to new products or services and enhancing the customer experience. If we taper our expectations in terms of what Bots can do and focus on the right problem statements, then Bots will fit right in. Understanding the limitations of bots is an important step in unleashing its true potential.

    It is the responsibility of your Chatbot development partner to help you know what not to expect so that you focus your energy on things that will actually yield meaningful outcomes.

    2. Technology Skills For Chatbot Development

    Most of the underlying technology powering Bots is in its infancy and needs time to reach commercial maturity. The technical talent required to harness this technology is scarce as well. Your Chatbot vendor needs to have an expert understanding of the technical features and aspects of Chatbots that are required for putting it to the right use.

    The developers must have an extensive knowledge of rule-based scripting, Natural Language Processing (NLP), bot analytics, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and different frameworks for developing the bot.

     3. Expertise In Bots UX Design

    Having your users frustrated by the Chatbot experience due to the bot does not understand what they are asking or makes them uncomfortable by saying strange things is never something you want. Meaningful dialogue is what makes or breaks the user experience when it comes to Chatbots. And, for delivering an ultimate experience, you need to ensure that you include all the UX essentials in your Chatbot.

    From designing the conversations to creating a backstory that reflects your Chatbot’s personality, your Chatbot development partner must know the “must-have’s” that help you deliver an ultimate user experience through your Chatbot.

     4. Ability To Deliver POCs Within A Short Interval Of Time

    The developers should have the capacity to come up with proof-of-concepts (POC) for you before you hire them. For any proficient vendor, delivering a POC should not take long. This should establish their credentials of having industry-specific knowledge and experience.

    You could ask the developer to make available employees who have implemented projects in your business domain. If not all, you could at least have them assign a project manager who has executed projects similar to yours.

    5. A Team Size Sufficient To Handle Your Project

    The developers should be able to commit a team large enough to handle your project throughout the period of time for which they are required to work on it. Members of the team you have hired having other commitments in between could lead to unnecessary delays or interruptions. This could also happen if you hire too small of a team.

    6. Adherence To Best Practices In Privacy And Security

    The developers you hire should know the value of your trade secrets, source codes, data, and other information that you provide them in the course of a software development project. An effective Chatbot development company will always be mindful of the security and integration needs pertaining to an enterprise chatbot. A messaging chatbot has access to sensitive data pertaining to various departments within an organization. Also, it records crucial customer data during conversations. The chatbot message itself must be fully encrypted and the ability to interact with the chatbot must be regulated with a robust, role-based security framework.

    Also, it records crucial customer data during conversations. The chatbot message itself must be fully encrypted and the ability to interact with the chatbot must be regulated with a robust, role-based security framework.

    7. Ability To Scale Teams As Required

    Finding a team of developers that has done similar projects is only one aspect that you have to cover. Another major one is the stability of your outsourcing partner’s existing HR infrastructure and how fast they can scale up their teams if needed. Harnessing developers through a contract for what appears to be a sufficiently long period of time may not be all that you have to do. The conditions in the developer’s local market for IT labor have a bearing on it.

    Conclusion

    The takeaway here is that not every service provider will take the time to make valid suggestions for your company. The company that is looking to build a long-term relationship with you is the one that will go that extra mile for you.

    Understanding the limitations of chatbots is an important step in unleashing the true potential. Applying Machine Learning, Analytics and NLP (Natural Language Processing) to the conversation would go a long way in providing a rich experience to the interaction. It’s not easy, though. However, as this pivot happens, the relevance of Bots increases manifold and they continue to become an integral component in a company’s digital touch points stack.

    Also, if you are considering Chatbots as part of your Digital Strategy to improve customer or employee engagement, this is an area where we should be able to help. Schedule a call with our Chatbot experts to get clarity on the Chatbot strategy and implementation. Write to us at info@netsolutions.com.

    Rohit Dogra

    About the Author

    Rohit Dogra leads Marketing at Net Solutions. He is an evangelist for Inbound Marketing and has a rich experience (close to a decade) in various roles which includes Marketing, Presales, Sales and Business Development. He is passionate about sharing his knowledge and experiences while consulting his clients on developing web and mobile based solutions for their business. He also loves to spend a lot of time with fellow colleagues, share his experiences with them as well as learn from their experiences in life. When he is not working, he loves to spend time with his son, cycle around the city and going for long walks. You can reach him via Twitter, his twitter handle is @rohitdogra

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