The Chatbot Release — Make it a successful one

After a long chatbot development phase the awaited release of your chatbot is finally coming. In the following you can learn more about six relevant aspects.

1. The right Marketing Strategy

Whenever you are revealing a product it is essential to think about a marketing or communication strategy. This obviously depends on your chatbot case. If we are talking about an internal chatbot that is answering questions in the intranet you want to include emails, blogposts in the intranet or even offline flyers to market your chatbot to your colleagues. With such a chatbot there is a lot of potential to include features that could encourage frequent use or go viral. For example, if questions about the daily menu of the canteen or the employee directory can be answered. Facebook Messenger offers even QR Codes that can be printed out to be directed to the chatbot after scanning it. It also really depends on the messaging platform itself. If you want to establish new communication channels like a WhatsApp number or a new chat window on the website rather than integrating a chatbot in existing running messaging interfaces it also makes a huge difference.

2. A “loud” Release

For example a “loud” release of the chatbot makes more sense when a new communication channel is being launched. Let’s say a WhatsApp chatbot. You need to figure out a way on how to market that number to your customers. That means spreading the news via social media channels, newsletters, online ads but also adding it to the “ways to contact” landing page. If your chatbots brings special functionalities to the chat like push notifications in Facebook Messenger it is also recommended to market that since it really brings value to your customers. Overall: Plan a “loud” publication if the communication with the chatbot should be promoted.

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3. A “silent” Release

If you have live chat functionalities on your website and you are thinking about integrating a chatbot in there. A “loud” release would not be necessary in this case. Your customers are very likely to write with the chatbot like they did with live agents before. Nevertheless, you still want to announce officially in the start message that your users are writing with a chatbot now. Always be transparent about that. However, also clearly communicate that the user can be directed to a real employee as well if he wants to. Overall: Plan a “silent” publication if the communication should be automated.

4. Expectation Management

Since chatbots are a fairly new technology, expectation towards it’s functionalities especially in regards to a natural conversation can vary widely among people. So it’s really important that communication before hand is going to sensitize future users. If users clearly understand what the chatbots abilities are we can really leverage false expectations and ensure a positive user experience. This is especially true for colleagues but also for managers at work. Scientists have also found that people with a technical affinity in particular are better able to judge the abilities of chatbots and are more likely to forgive mistakes. People with less technical affinity usually approach the use of the chatbot with very high demands and show a higher frustration rate. As a product owner it is important to sensitize such target groups especially before the upcoming release.

5. The Release Date

The release day of the chatbot should be well thought out, because there are many factors involved that could influence the Go Live positively as well as negatively. On the one hand, seasonal and temporal events have to be considered. Are there any school vacations at that time? Holidays? Or other important events related to the products or services of your company, which may lead to increased or reduced traffic in customer service. This includes, for example, the launch of new products, special offers, or the relaunch of a new website or app. Before the Go Live, all customer service agents should of course be aware of the use of the chatbot and have completed a training if a human handover should occur.

6. The Go Live Day

The actual go live day of the chatbot should have one sufficient above all: Support. Because the testing that should have taken place before could cover many potential sources of error, but you will never be able to publish a 100% perfectly working system. For example, a chatbot release on Facebook Messenger did not take into account that all users who have already interacted with the Facebook page and write a second time will not notice that a chatbot is now responding. Normally a new user sees a “Get started” button and gets a welcome message where the chatbot introduces himself. Now you have to find technical solutions quickly, so that also existing users get to know about the chatbot. It is best to plan sufficient capacities in advance in order to implement technical solutions for such unforeseeable cases as quickly as possible.

Interested in more insights? Talk to our chatbot consultants, we’ll be happy to hear from you!

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The Chatbot Release — Make it a successful one was originally published in Chatbots Life on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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