Simply throwing a ‘dumb’ bot at the customer may not be the answer

By our News Team | 2022

To provide chat self-service effectively, businesses must spend time designing an exceptional user experience.

As consumers increasingly prefer digital communication with businesses instead of calls, more and more SA companies are trying out WhatsApp messaging. But just throwing a chatbot at it is not the answer.

A poor user experience will not only frustrate customers, but can stop them from ever engaging with a business in the channel again, says Joe de Wet, Product Director at Clickatell, the international chat commerce specialist.

“Helping customers achieve what they need through self-service options is a dream come true for organisations looking to drive efficiencies, but to provide chat self-service effectively, businesses must spend time designing an exceptional user experience,” he states.

De Wet lists a few best-practice tips that he believes will help companies get off to the right start.

Customer Self-Service

Photo by Anton from Pexels

Know where your customers are

Firstly, a company needs to know where their users are. This means understanding which messaging or chat app they prefer to use – for example, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Apple Business Chat, or other chat apps. Not all customers are on the same chat channels. 

What do you want to achieve?

Businesses need to identify what they want clients to do via a chat channel. Do they only want clients to authenticate in the chat channel, or do they want to provide chat commerce offerings? Understanding what customers want is key, and businesses need to determine what they hope to achieve through the channel.  

Understand the technical constraints

Businesses must understand their technical constraints and back-end integration capabilities before they begin the process of integrating a chat ecosystem. 

Optimise the user experience

Businesses need to ensure they have thought through an aligned, proven, conversation user experience. One of the first principles of creating a great chat experience is to break down the user journey into bitesize steps with the aim of gently guiding users. 

Ensure there will be an outcome

Always ensure a customer outcome. If customers get stuck, they must have the option to be passed on to a human agent who can meet them in the chat channel.

Beware of the ‘dumb’ bot

Don’t settle for a ‘dumb’ bot. There are excellent technologies out there like Natural Language Understanding (NLU) and AI that can be used to build a digital assistant rather than a bot. 

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    Dr Kin Kariisa

    Group CEO - Next Media

    Dr. Kin Kariisa is an extraordinary force at the helm of Next Media Services, a conglomerate encompassing NBS TV, Nile Post, Sanyuka TV, Next Radio, Salam TV, Next Communication, Next Productions, and an array of other influential enterprises. His dynamic role as Chief Executive Officer exemplifies his unwavering commitment to shaping media, business, and community landscapes.
    With an esteemed academic journey, Dr. Kariisa’s accolades include an Honorary PhD in exemplary community service from the United Graduate College inTexas, an MBA from United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya, a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Huazong University in China, and a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics from Makerere University.
    Dr. Kariisa pursued PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands. As a dynamic educator, he has shared his expertise as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at both Makerere University and Radboud University.

    Dr Kin did his PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radbond University in Nigmegen, Netherlands. He previously served as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and Radbond University in Netherlands.

    Dr Kin did his postgraduate courses in Strategic Business Management, Strategic Leadership Communication and Strategies for Leading Successful Change Initiatives at Harvard University, Boston USA.

    • Other current and previous roles played by Dr Kin Kariisa:
    • Lecturer of e-Government and Information Security to graduate students at Makerere University, Kampala and Radbond University in the Netherlands
    • Director of Eco Bank Uganda Limited, one of the largest banks in Africa
    • Chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters, an umbrella industry association for all Television, Radio and online broadcasters in Uganda.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Nile Hotel International, that owns the leading hotel in Uganda, Kampala Serena Hotel.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Soliton Telmec Uganda, the leading telecom company in Optic fibre business managing over 80% of optic fibre in Uganda.