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Designing conversational platform

The blossoming demand for conversational platforms,which unit numerous chatbots and enterprise assistants,keep moving forward.

Table of contents:
Users
How app helps users?
Challenges
Solutions
Design

Introduction: issues to consider when building conversational paltform

“The market for conversational platforms is both crowded and fragmented, with a high pace of innovation. This combination makes it confusing and unpredictable for application leaders” —Gartner.

The blossoming demand for conversational platforms,which unit enumerous chatbots and enterprise assistants,keep moving forward. Application leaders need to consider the dynamics and multifunctionality in this rapidly changing environment for succeeding clients’ support.

Conversational platforms areused to build conversational user interfaces, chatbots and virtual assistants for a wide row of important use cases. They go far beyond messaging platforms, social media, SMS, and website chats.

Conversational platformsdefine intent,and their flexible APIs connect third parties by extending the platform with plenty of attractive customization and additions.

To make a long story short, conversational platform is a tireless engine of bots and AI systems.

But thelong story sounds more like human, right? A ridiculously short time ago, prompt chatbots and resourceful virtual assistants gaineda planetary interest. The excellent chatting or even talking with a charming human-like voice, at the same time providing a rich set of services — no doubts, conversational platforms did fuel astrongwave of sensational innovations.

Under the hoot of a conversational platform,you’llfind the four fields:

Virtual customer assistance (VCAs) - automatedcall-center-operated chat or even voice-based communication, which commonly includes escalation mechanisms for humans to continue.

Virtual enterprise assistance (VEAs) - conversational interfaces for employees to help withaccess toenterprise infrastructures.

Virtual personal assistance (VPAs) - generalist assistants for users on the road tofirst-, second-or third-party services and knowledge, commonly deployedon consumer devices

Chatbots - narrowly-scopedchat agentsservinga specific task such as scheduling, ordering,or booking. Chatbots are good for any audience.

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Maturity levels of bots and AI systems

The opportunities for implementing bots are as wide-rangingas the needs of businesses andcan be differentiatedby maturity.

With the increasing maturity, not only the complexity and added value of bots increases but also the legal challenges. Data protection must be considered and took into attention becausethe collection of customer data can meet particular obstacles. Companies that scale-up their businesses should remember about it.

Using cookies,for example, is usually unproblematic, even in Europe. On the contraryto that, personal assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa, are suspected by the public for collecting and analyzing too much user’sinformation. Data protectionists are criticizing suchsystems, turningmarketing into a challenge. Therefore, trust in the brand can be shadedand a negative customer review can spoil possible benefits ofen hancement and user engagement benefits.

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Basic communication

The first level is represented by chatbots without access to other information. Thus, several bots ensuresimple contact, pick up the client, but stuck intheir limits, soquickly passthe client to the next touchpoint.

Case communication

On the second level, context information about the clientsis already used. Interacting with a user, the bot remembers likes or reviewed products and can make some recommendations in particular situational communication, aimingcustomer retention and virtual empathy

Real communication

The third level is presented by a bot extracting historical context. Usually, it is the first level with real communication between the company and the customer. Bot’s “brain”, an internal database, along with previously purchased products stores also customer’s reviews and issues, which can be beneficially used in catching conversation.

Interactive communication

An extensive personalization is achieved with the fourth level. Connected to the company’s CRM system and on-the-go fulfilling it during customer interaction, virtual assistants such as Alexa can pretend humans longer.

Conversational platforms transformation

Due to technological development and customer behavioral trends, many companies discover market triggers and put them into beneficial use. Companies are currently facing challenges on the way toсonversational сommerce. This meansa lot because those companies that slowly implement conversational commerce could lose customers, otherones, on the contrary,may benefit from public attention after integrating bots on the earlystage.

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Benefits, costs and risks

Creating conversational platforms, companies should take into attention:

• Benefits: increasing efficiency, reducing customer support costs, 24/7 availability, short response times, fast problem-solving, individual customer approach, increased cross-selling.

• Costs: development, Implementation, maintenance costs, monitoring & measurement expenses.

• Risks: safety, data protection, ambiguous user experience due towrong auto-learning, false reactions, incomplete or wrong answers.

Resources to create and maintain platform

Calculating resources to creat eand maintain a botis an important issue to consider.

Remember about time.For large projects, the long-term bot support should be included,as well asthe time needed to promote the bot, testthe cases where the bot is useless, collect customer feedback, and work on updatingthe bot.

Consider the field of implementation, which may becustomer service, sales advice, marketing, support, etc.

Carefully think what automationto apply: autogenerated newsletter, hybrid system, fully automated chatbot, personalized customer service, etc.

And please remember:

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Messaging platforms used by customers

Platforms used by thecustomers are the next issue to observe.

Facebook Messenger is agreatchoice in many European countries plusthe USA because the number of users is remarkably highthere. If the major customers aremillennials (the generation born in 1980–1999), Snapchat may be a lovely option. WhatsApp, Viber,or Line also carries weight in many countries. For the target audienceis located mostlyin China, WeChat is the most desirableplatform.

Selecting conversational platform provider

Along with Gartner research, the larger market of chatbots and virtual assistant offerings may include more than 1000 vendors worldwide. The following variety is composed of the providers that received the most clientinterest in Gartner inquiries.

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Selecting the platform,analyze the wide variety, and pick vendors tactically focusing on your key performance indicators (KPIs) and capabilities you need to coverduring the next two years.

Ask provider aboutexit strategy, having “plan B” on switching vendors youavoid locking of trained data, chat historyand integrations.

Considerproviders features onanalytics, scalability and orchestration to ensure simplicity of improving.

The following websites compare alternative tools on building conversational platforms–topbots are waiting for you!

https://www.g2.com

https://www.trustradius.com

https://alternative.me

https://alternativeto.net

https://www.producthunt.com

https://www.slant.co

https://stackshare.io

https://www.capterra.com

https://www.softwareadvice.com

https://www.getapp.com

https://www.appvizer.com

https://opencollective.com

https://www.crunchbase.com

https://clutch.co (Zade is here! Are you?)

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Written by
Yuriy Zahreva, CTO
By creating the user-friendly system progressively designed with AI, object recognition, recommendations, Zade Agency digitally transformed the world of software for people.
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