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5 key steps to implement a chatbot into your business

Chatbots and virtual assistants are popping up in every aspect of a business. Thanks to platforms like EBM, getting started is becoming a lot easier

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Despite this, however, there are a lot of considerations and steps to take as you implement a chatbot into your organisation.

What does it take to implement a chatbot?

There are 5 key considerations to make when you’re about to implement your chatbot:

  1. Integrating NLP tools and other software
  2. Hosting considerations
  3. Data privacy & security
  4. Deployment management and processes
  5. Legal 

Implementing a chatbot assumes you have some key steps complete, such as:

  1. Having a chatbot strategy in place
  2. Going through the chatbot design process
  3. NLP tools and other software have been selected
  4. Building the chatbot
  5. A chatbot team in place

When you have these steps are complete, the rest of the chatbot implementation should fall into place. 

Let’s run through the remaining stages:

Integrating NLP tools and other software

The NLP tool you decide to use will be the backbone of your chatbot. You’ll also need to have a clear list of platforms and software you’ll want to integrate into your chatbot. To name but a few possibilities:

  • Messaging channels: Web widget, email & Whatsapp
  • Customer service software: Genisys & Zendesk
  • Customer Relationship Management: Hubspot & Salesforce
  • Accounting: Xero & Sage
  • Payment platforms: Paypal & Stripe 
  • NLP tools: Dialogflow & RASA

Depending on the integration, you will need to allocate the appropriate front or back end developer resource to make it happen. Typically, this is done by a chatbot agency with expertise and experience to do this efficiently and effectively

Custom Logic 

If your chatbot needs to carry out certain functions such as collecting and validating customer details or sending a client enquiry to the appropriate team when it’s tag is flagged, then you will need to create some custom logic. This will typically be discovered during the conversation design process.

Alternatively, your business a lot of processes automated with the likes of robotic process automation (RPA) tools such as Blue Prism

Hosting

Everyone has their preference for hosting provider. The two most popular are Amazon Web Services and Google cloud

Personally, we push to deploy on to Google cloud because of the simplicity and the fact they developed Kubernetes.

There is the other question of many organisations preferring to host in on-premise environments. 

Ultimately there is no right answer and your decision of where and how to host is entirely circumstantial. 

Data security

As with any software involved in the process of handling personal information, there is always the threat of an open back door which allows hackers to extract sensitive data. 

As a general rule, since data security is such a complex and serious issue, we recommend keeping things as simple as possible and where possible not store confidential information unless you have the budget and expertise to execute correctly, or you face heavy fines by the ICO.

Data masking

Data masking allows the chatbot creator to define patterns of text that should be replaced when they appear in the user message. 

For example, a pattern could be made to replace text that looks like a credit card number with stars.

Depending on whether your user is logged in or talking with your chatbot publicly, you’ll need a tweak your message broker to filter out the information accordingly such as: 

  • Personally Identifiable Information (PII) if the user gives their name or location
  • Payment details
  • Company confidential information

And so forth. 

Deployment management and processes

What current deployment management processes do you have in place for your software development and how do chatbots fit into that? 

The likelihood is whatever NLP platform you’ve picked, it won’t have the necessary functionality to adhere to most organisations deployment procedures. 

In particular, the likes of Dialogflow and IBM Watson have limited functionality in terms of:

  • A process to deploy to a live environment 
  • Version control and the ability to revert to a previous build
  • User control and access 
  • There are a few tools out there tackling this problem, EBM being one of them!

Legal

Legal is a critically important part alongside your data management.

The key question to consider when it comes to legal is whether you have any regulatory requirements to abide by.

For example, in the financial brokerage sector, if a chatbot gives any sort of advice around mortgages, it needs to be checked with the Financial Conduct Authority.
Does your country have a mandatory requirement for the chatbot to say its not human? (like they do in America)

Related questions

What does it take to build a chatbot?

The complicated process can be boiled down to these key steps:

  1. Business case development
  2. Going through a design process
  3. Deciding what team you need
  4. Selecting the right tools
  5. Building the chatbot 
  6. Integrations with your other systems
  7. Deployment management
  8. Data security & privacy
  9. Launching your chatbot
  10. Legal requirements

This article is well worth reading if you’re still working on some of the stages we’ve mentioned above. 

What does it cost to build a chatbot?

As you can imagine, the factors that can affect the cost of a chatbot are numerous. 

The short answer is: the typical range to use someone like us, is:

  • $10,000 for a fairly simple Messenger chatbot, 
  • $40,000 for an MVP and
  • $50,000+ for a customer service chatbot on multiple channels. 

We have an extensive guide that covers every variable that influences the cost of your build here. 

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