How to Build a Chatbot from Scratch?

By Danni White - Last Updated on September 18, 2019
How to Build a Chatbot from Scratch

Chatbots are very useful to improve e-commerce by providing responsive customer service and assistance 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. Chatbots respond to either voice or text messages using artificial intelligence that provides an answer from a prepared database of responses to common questions. Think of chatbots as an FAQ on steroids.

When designed well, chatbot responses seem like a person is answering the question. Chatbots may be used with or without human supervision. When human supervision is used, a person steps in to provide the answer when the chatbot system is not able to automatically satisfy an inquiry.

Even when human operators are involved, the throughput of completing customer service inquiries is increased significantly by using a chatbot system. Any business that interfaces with the public benefits from having a chatbot system. Early successful deployment of chatbots improved banking and transformed the automotive industry.

How to Build a Chatbot System

To understand how to build a chatbot system, four things are useful, which are:

  1. A chatbot design framework for communications.
  2. An extensive database of answers to common questions.
  3. A chatbot development platform.
  4. A chatbot publishing platform to expand the chatbot exposure through social media.

Chatbot Design Framework

It is very important to have a chatbot design framework for communications. This provides a structural foundation for the chatbot system design. Learning how to build a chatbot properly includes using a framework for the scope of the chatbot capabilities, the chatbot “personality” style, the critical information needed in the chatbot database to get started with deployment, and the communication flow.

Chatbot Database

Before deployment of the chatbot system, collect all the critical information. This becomes the foundation for the chatbot database. It includes all the details about the organization and the catalog of information about the products and/or services. The chatbot database should be able to answer as many of the “who, what, where, and why” questions as possible.

Artificial intelligence (AI) helps build up the database by using machine learning while collecting and organizing an ever-expanding database of answers. A chatbot system may start with human participation supported by AI. As a chatbot system evolves, the AI answers more of the questions without the need for human intervention.

Chatbot Development Platform

Chatbot Scratch was developed at MIT. It is one of the early programming structures used for making chatbot systems. It is possible to create a chatbot using Scratch and other chatbot development platforms. However, it is no longer necessary to limit chatbot use to websites with a website-focused programming system.

Many chat platforms have evolved for deployment through social media. For example, a popular integrated chatbot system works with Facebook Messenger.

Chatbot Publishing Platform

A chatbot publishing platform is a public interface that uses social media such as Facebook, Slack, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Twilio, and others. This usually creates a wider audience for the chatbot system. Many chatbot development platforms now exist that are integrated with popular social media systems.

Choosing a Chatbot Publishing Platform

Here are some of the choices used for the most popular chatbot publishing platforms:

1. Chatfuel

The Chatfuel system works with Facebook Messenger. It takes only basic programming skills to use it. It is free to use until the chatbot activities exceed 100,000 chatbot responses per month. Exceeding that level of activity requires joining the Facebook Messenger paid premium chatbot service.

2. Botsify

Botsify also works with Facebook Messenger. It has a drag and drops programming design that is easy to use. It is effective for those who wish to have human integration with the chatbot system. This system provides a fluid way for the human takeover of chatbot conversations. The first chatbot is free to create. After that, there is a charge for additional bots.

3. Flow XO

Flow XO is a paid system that works with Facebook, Slack, SMS text messaging, and provides over 100 other integrations. This system has API templates for programmers to use, which allow developers to build a chatbot that is accessible through many platforms.

4. Beep Boop

Beep Boop works with Slack. Slack users can discover Slack bots that are placed by developers for hosting in Github. This makes it easy for Slack users to launch chatbots without needing to do any software development.

5. Bottr

Bottr is a simple personal chatbot that gets its information from a person’s Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook profiles. It can answer simple questions based on that data. It can be integrated into a website. Users can also add data from Medium, WordPress, and Wikipedia to their Bottr account.

6. Motion.Ai is a visual software design tool used to build a chatbot and then deploy it on Facebook Messenger, Slack, Smooch, and websites. It was recently acquired by Hubspot.

7. ChattyPeople

ChattyPeople was acquired in 2018 by MobileMonkey. It offers chatbots that are ready to use. Users simply add information about their company, products, and/or services into the database. This system works well with Shopify. There are templates for e-commerce and customer service. The system has an API integration with Stripe and PayPal.

8. QnA Maker

QnA Maker is a Microsoft product that works by simply linking to a website’s FAQ web page. It automatically pulls the data from the FAQ web page to be able to answer chatbot questions.

9. was acquired by SAP and now is called SAP Conversational AI. It has a visual programming flow design system called Bot Builder used to build a chatbot, train them, and deploy them.

10. BotKit

BotKit works with Facebook Messenger, Slack, Twilio, websites, and other systems. Its innovative design focuses on creating chatbot responses that mimic how human beings speak.

Every organization needs to deploy chatbots. They have become the standard for customer service. With all the software tools that help create them, it is easy to get started with a chatbot system at a level of complexity that feels comfortable. Add a chatbot to your website and use them to increase your social media presence.

Danni White | Danni White is the CEO of DW Creative Consulting Agency, a digital marketing firm specializing in elevating the visibility of small-to-midsize businesses and nonprofits. She is the author of 17 books and hosts the #Hashtags and Habits Podcast, which merges digital marketing, entrepreneurship, and personal growth.

Danni White | Danni White is the CEO of DW Creative Consulting Agency, a digital marketing firm specializing in elevating the visibility of small-to-midsize busi...

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