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Chatbots: Let artificial intelligence speak for your business

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Chatbot is a member of the growing family of applications automating processes which we are accustomed to perform using a computer, a mobile phone, or by calling a customer hotline. A chatbot is specific in that it uses almost exclusively a conversational interface for the interaction with the user – for instance a chat included into a web page, or one of the widely used chat applications such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Slack, Skype, etc. To communicate with the user, it primarily uses the most natural human communication tool – written or spoken language.

For a modern company, a chatbot represents a new distribution channel, through which it is possible to provide support, advice and services to both existing and new clients, and to sell products. Or you can just strengthen the company image in an altogether personal form. The complexity, and therefore the labour intensity needed for the development of a chatbot is directly proportional to the complexity of tasks with which it is supposed to help the user. Some chatbots can only perform one simple task, for instance to say what the weather will be like tomorrow, or to tell a joke to the user. Other chatbots, however, carry out much more complex tasks. That is why it is necessary to build an extensive business logic behind them, connect them to third-party APIs or to integrate them with current internal systems.

Why this “chatbot-boom”?

The idea of chatbots dates back to the 1960s. But only now it seems that the world is ready for their adoption into practical life. This is mainly thanks to great progress in such domains as Natural Language Processing and other artificial intelligence branches. The development also benefited from the fact that big technological players prepared open platforms and interfaces thanks to which the development and adoption of chatbots have become much simpler and quicker. Moreover, the success of chatbots has been supported by the trend of text communication which has become a socially accepted form of communication, and in some cases many people prefer it to a personal contact or a phone call.

What is a chatbot fit for?

Though it is a strongly resonating buzzword, it is necessary to consider carefully what a chatbot will be used for. Generally speaking, it is fit for frequently repeating situations with solutions having clearly defined business rules which do not change too much. However, we must not forget the main limitation of a chatbot interface, namely the size of chat applications and their graphic possibilities. When defining the assignment for a chatbot, we strongly recommend using well-proven testing methods from the human-centred design domain.

How does a chatbot work?

To build a chatbot we need a specialized framework that handles e.g. sending and receiving of messages between the user and the bot, dialogue construction, and connection to communication channels. Further we usually need a component able to assess the user’s intention from their message, and possibly further additional information, such as place and time. There is a whole range of APIs for natural language understanding on the market which can be used to train your own model that will then be able to understand domain-specific inquiries of the user. The bot can be connected to further services which enable to enrich its answers e.g. by providing the results of map searches, to complete an online purchase, or to find a weather forecast. The whole bot will thus be created by a balanced interconnection of dialogue logic controlled by buttons or by understanding user’s messages, and further services. As a result, the bot will then for instance be able to understand from your sentence that you want to change the seat on your tonight’s flight; it will ask you for your air ticket number and change your seat.

How can we help you?

Defining what the chatbot could or should do in your organisation:
  • We will test whether a chatbot is a suitable channel for the solution of your problem or the implementation of your idea.
  • Should you have no specific idea but you want to include this technology in your portfolio of offered services, we will help you find and test it. We will find a solution thanks to which the chatbot will bring value to your clients or employees.

Design and implementation of the chatbot:
  • We will design the whole conversation tree, propose the tone and personality of the chatbot.
  • We will train the chatbot’s understanding of human language for a particular area.
  • We will develop your chatbot application and will arrange for its deployment in the required hosting.
  • We will integrate the chatbot with the existing systems, third-party APIs, etc.

Chatbot adoption:
  • We will prepare a strategy and will manage the adoption of the chatbot both into your company and into the external environment.
  • We will design processes for the ongoing maintenance of the chatbot.

Contact

Štěpán Húsek

Štěpán Húsek

Partner

Štěpán Húsek is a Partner in the Consulting function of Deloitte Czech Republic leading the Technology advisory services team. He has deep technical knowledge with a strong business background. In his... More