Anyone with an online business should be thinking about building a messenger bot. The success of your bot depends on a conversation flow that is an effortless progression of responses. People expect bots to have conversational abilities similar to humans.
Let’s look at what a messenger chatbot is, why conversation flows matter and how you can create the best conversation flow for yours.
What Is a Messenger Bot?
A messenger bot, also known as a chatbot, is a service powered by rules or artificial intelligence. You interact with this service via a chat interface. The service can range from fun to functional and can live in any major chat product such as Slack or Facebook Messenger.
Chatbots have been around for more than 50 years. The first ever bot was created in 1966. Surprisingly, this is well before the launch of personal computers. The bot was named Eliza and it was developed at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory by Joseph Weizenbaum.
All bots are created with a purpose. Some might help you purchase something. Others might answer your customer support questions. Yet others might be your friends. A great example of this is Xiaoice. 20 million people in China talk to this messenger bot developed by Microsoft.
Why Are Messenger Bots So Popular?
People are using messenger apps more than they are using social media networks. Online businesses need to be where people spend more of their time. Since that is now messenger apps, it comes as no surprise that more and more businesses are building chatbots. Bots offers businesses a huge opportunity to interact with and win over customers.
The average CTR on messenger chatbots ranges between 15% and 60%. They offer 24-hour support and can take care of questions your support team is sick of answering. This makes them the perfect addition to your digital marketing strategy.
How Do Bots Work
Two kinds of messenger bots exist. One is very limited. It only functions based on a set of rules. You have to be oddly specific as you interact with it. If you say the wrong thing, it won’t understand what you mean. This means that it's only as smart as it's programmed to be.
The other bot relies on artificial intelligence to interact with you. It not only understands commands, but also languages. Thanks to machine learning, you won’t have to be specific as you chat with it. It gets smarter as it learns from the past conversations its had with people.
More and more businesses are using AI chatbots to engage with their customers. The results are simply better.
Natural Language Understanding (NLU) Bots
Messenger bots have to be great at answering questions. However, if they don’t understand the question, that’s a big problem! NLU helps bots understand what a body of text means.
To better understand NLU, let’s look at the basic architecture of how AI chatbots work. A bot needs to understand both intent and entities from the user’s message. Intents can be seen as verbs (the action a user wants to execute). You might want to ‘buy’ something. The entity represents the noun (for example; the time, the brand, the product). You want to buy a ‘jacket’.
The intent and entity are processed by the NLU component. Once that chatbot understands what the user needs, it can fetch the most appropriate response from its database.
A rule-based messenger bot can only handle a portion of user traffic. Chatbots with NLU can provide an understanding of what your user is saying. NLU-driven, intelligent chatbots can differentiate between a response like ‘sorry’ and ‘thank you’ and improve your user experience.
This level of self service interaction is invaluable for businesses. You can give your users immediate responses, round the clock, with consistent execution. This helps take your customer experience to the next level. You can also reach a global audience with multilingual responses.
Messenger Bots as Marketing Funnel Automation Tools
Bots can be used at every part of your inbound marketing funnel. Whether the user is interacting with your business for the first time or converting into a customer, an AI chatbot can help streamline the experience.
AI chatbots can cater to multiple requests on your website. This helps you save time and money. Your one-time investment helps you save monthly costs and handles tasks effectively.
Just remember to keep the questions in your chatbot flow relevant to your user journey. Focus your questions on a user’s problem and goals and the possible solutions your business can offer them.
What Is a Chatbot Conversation Flow?
A chatbot conversation flow is a decision tree for your user. It starts with a root question. The different nodes in the decision tree are questions associated with each answer. Think of them as different points in a dialogue. At each stage, a user will have to select a node based on their preferences. This will help them follow the conversation you have created till they get to the answer they were looking for.
Why Is a Conversation Flow Important?
Users visiting your online business might not know how to ask questions or be comfortable interacting with a messenger bot. It’s better for your business for your bot to take the first step. A friendly greeting and buttons with some options is a good strategy to help your users.
It's also very important to create this conversation flow for your bot before proceeding with anything else such as copywriting or visual design. It gives a clear picture of your users actions and helps you design better bots.
Messenger Bot Conversation Flow Rules
It can be easy to get lost in a conversation. It is important to stick to some basic guidelines to keep your messenger chatbot conversation flow on track.
Keep It Short
Remember that it's a conversation and not a monologue. People love back and forth conversation, even if it's with a bot. So keep your dialogue node short and sweet. Your chatbot should only provide two to three sentences of content before letting your user give a response.
Keep It Shallow
A conversational flow dialogue that goes too deep can be frustrating for your user. Your goal should be to help users quickly find what they are looking for. Unless you are building a conversational AI chatbot that can be a friend to your users. Then it's okay for the flow of conversational dialogues to go too deep.
Don’t Ask Too Many Questions
Try getting the job done by asking only two to three questions. The maximum number of questions in a simple conversation flow should be eight. Otherwise, you might frustrate users and lose customers.
Keep It Natural
It is vital to use buyer persona appropriate language. Nowadays messenger bots even need to provide proper responses to emojis. A successful bot is one that was built with a focus on natural conversation flow. This also includes basic dialogues such as simple salutations, common courtesies and straightforward affirmations. Don’t underestimate the value of basic messages such as hi, thanks, OK and help.
Chatbot Development Frameworks
There are many commercially available messenger bot solutions that are becoming fundamental for businesses interested in building bots with optimum conversation flows. Microsoft Bot Framework, IBM Watson, Dialogflow and Wit.AI are a few popular platforms.
These platforms help you build, connect, publish and manage AI chatbots that can respond to natural language input on platforms like mobile devices, websites and major chat products.
You can start with pre-existing pre-built templates or create entire flows. Bots can also be built without too much technical know-how on these platforms. Depending on the framework you choose, you can create a chatbot conversation flow with or without writing code. This makes these platforms easy, low-cost solutions for all types of businesses to try out as part of their marketing funnels.
Messenger bots are useful for any type of online business. Due to their effectiveness, many businesses use NLU-driven, intelligent bots in their marketing funnels. A seamless conversation flow is important for the success of a chatbot. Chatbot development frameworks can help businesses build and manage messenger bots.
Resources for Guide to Messenger Bot Conversation Flow
- → The Chat Agency - Concierge Marketing Solutions
- → How Chatbots Work as Digital Marketing Funnel Automation Tools
- → The History and Evolution of Chatbots
- → The Ultimate Guide for Chatbot Conversation Flow
- → What if Your Mailing List Had a 60% Click-Through Rate?