How to create a Chatbot

So, most of us have, at this point in our lives, have probably used a chatbot, maybe without even knowing it's a bot. Have you ever wondered, how does a chatbot work? What powers it? How do I interact with it? Let's dive in. 

Let's say you're the owner of a flower shop, and you're the only employee. Maybe you don't have time to respond to common customer inquiries such as, 

  • What time do you open? 
  • Do you have yellow roses in stock? 
  • How do I contact you? 

So, you've got customers, and they need to get in touch with you, but you're busy. You can't answer the phone. But you have got a Chatbot called Flora, who will answer all common questions regarding your flower shop online. Assuming now, a visitor wants to know what time your shop opens. As the visitor ask, hey, what time do y'all open? And then Flora is going to be able to respond with the appropriate answer. She's going to say, we open Monday at 9 a.m. 

All this will happen without me having to interact with the chatbot or the customer so that I'm free to do what I love to do, which is designing floral arrangements. 

Now let's think of a more complex example. So, let's say  I am using a bank, and as a customer, I would like to check and see what my balance is. May be I just got paid. I don't know how much money is in the bank, but I need to go buy some socks. So, rather than having to call the bank and wait on hold and wait for a teller to pull up your information and check your account status, you could actually interact with Birdie, the banking bot. 

So, in this case, I'm going to ask Birdie, Birdie. What is my balance? How much money do I have currently? Birdie is going to come back and tell me. I can help you with that, but what is your account number, your date of birth, your PIN number, some identifying information? So, I'm going to be able to provide this information back to Birdie, my account number, a PIN number, et cetera. 

From there, all without any tellers or any employees having to interact with Birdie, she's going to be able to go and ask the bank. She's going to pass along all this information, my account number, my date of birth, and my PIN number. And she's going to say, hey bank, how much money does this person have in their account? 

The bank is going to authorize me and say, okay, this is all the appropriate information that we need. The bank is going to respond with, I'm sorry you only have five dollars. But then, Birdie is going to be able to take that response and pass it back to me, the customer. All this will happen without having to interact with any humans or going to the bank directly, and it's very simple. 

How Does Chatbot Works 

So how does this really work? Let's dive in. Going back to the flower shop example, let's say tomorrow is Mother's Day, and you forgot to order flowers like we normally do. Now, like we mentioned before, the flower shop owner is very busy. She's putting together all these arrangements. She doesn't really have time to answer all phone calls. So, luckily, there are a few different ways that you, the user, can interact with her chatbot to actually automate ordering some flowers for your mother. 

So, on the flower Shop website, there could be a little pop-up maybe at the bottom that has Flora. Some  website, we could actually just call in. So it can be either text-based or voice-based. 

So if I call the chatbot, she says, welcome to flower supply 101. What would you like to place your order for. I would say, I would like a dozen yellow roses and it's just conversational and she's going to take my order and be able to process it. 

And you can also use various instant messaging services, for different social media platforms you can so you have all these different ways that you can interact with the chatbot. 

Now let's think about how that actually works sort of on the backend. So I think by now we're all familiar with the cloud. It's the buzzword of the year. This is actually where our chatbot is going to live. So, you'll have a chatbot service provider, and this chatbot is going to integrate with various services to actually process whatever speech it is that the user is saying. It's going to use natural language processing as well as artificial intelligence to take what I'm saying and then actually translate it into something that a computer can understand.

I'm saying whether it's via phone or via instant messenger or to the web page via text or voice, whatever this medium is, it's going to send this information up to the cloud.

Now the cloud is going to take this and it's going to process it. It's going to say, I see that the user wants to purchase this specific item. 

Now, this is going to send this information to the cloud, to my chatbot service provider, and then that is actually going to go out there and check the database. So, I'll say 12 yellow roses is what we're looking for, and then we can see we've actually got 36. 

So, we have plenty of roses. This is good. So, now we're going to send a response back. We're going to say, yes, we have more than enough roses in stock, so we can go ahead and place this order. 

Maybe I'll get a notification kind of off to the side but all in all the whole thing is automated, so I don't have to stop what I'm doing to actually take care of this and it's going to save me a lot of time.

Benefits of Chatbot 

Let's talk about the benefits of Chatbot, you know, why would we want to use a chatbot? I mean, it is nice to have that human interaction whenever you're dealing with your customers, but I think probably the number one reason that someone may want to use a chatbot is to save time. And what I mean by that is not only you are saving time when it comes to interacting with your customers and getting someone to place an order, but again, you're leaving time off to the side for you to go and maybe you've got to do some bookkeeping. 

You've got to put these four floral arrangements together, whatever it is, it's going to save you hours and hours over the course of even just a month.

To simplicity, chatbots, believe it or not, are surprisingly simple to build. you don't have to know how to write any code in most cases. If you want to do more in-depth integrations, you might need to know some code.

But for the most part, it's just natural language based. you could say, hey chatbot, I want you to tell users that I'm open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m and it's going to be able to relay that information without having to know any Python or JavaScript or anything like that. 

Lastly, time to launch. So, what that means is that it does not take a lot of time to build a chatbot. Like I said earlier, you don't have to know any code. And since it's cloud-based, you don't have to build up any of the underlying infrastructure. From the time you start building the chatbot to the time it's completed could be as quick as one hour. And so these are some of the reasons that you may want to build a chatbot for your business. 

So, I hope this helped explain what a chatbot is, how it works, and why you may want to use it. Thank you for reading. If you have questions, please drop us a line below. If you want to see more posts like this in the future, please follow our blog and invite your friends and family. 

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