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How to build your customer happiness chatbot — according to people who do this every day

Artificial intelligence (AI) has made its mainstream commercial debut in the form of chatbots. Organizations of all sizes are building simple messenger bots to be more accessible to their customers, particularly in support scenarios. Rather than directing people to a generic email address or helpdesk, chatbots use logic to help people answer questions, faster. It’s like conversing with a human being — except you’re talking with a robot.

Chatbots are especially valuable for smaller, resource-strapped organizations. It’s well-known that companies of all sizes build stronger, more empathetic relationships when they make themselves available to customers. Organizations can conserve valuable employee time by automating conversations that tend to be redundant. Companies save money, improve customer success outcomes, shepherd people through sales cycles, and provide support.

Chatbots may seem sophisticated to build to the casual observer, but they aren’t as complicated as they seem.

“A chatbot is an agent that is programmed to appear intelligent and can only do so in rigidly predefined scenarios,” says Srinivas Seshadri, director of marketing at product engineering firm Ideas2it, a company that builds chatbots for retailers.

Simple yet impactful chatbots are possible to build without prior coding knowledge. Follow this framework to build yours with fewer resources, in a matter of hours.

# Study your chatbot’s specific use case and build your plan accordingly

Flow.ai is one tool that allows people to build chatbots without programming expertise. Consisting of a team of designers, technologists, and academics, the Netherlands-based company describes itself as analogous to software like Adobe Photoshop from a user experience perspective. What the software builds are apps that fulfill specific purposes.

“A successful chatbot either solves a problem or adds gain,” says Murat Ozmerd, co-founder at Flow.ai. “It handles that part of the interaction where natural language is the best choice of communication, and it does that well.”

Flow.ai adapts to conversations in real-time, using a technique called natural language processing (NLP).

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