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Last year was a debut year for ChatBot. From a small platform, we managed to grow up into a comprehensive chatbot solution.
2018 was an exciting year for technology! Media and users were focused on privacy, more than ever before, we have seen gadgets taken from science fiction movies and witnessed the emerging power of AI coming to all parts of our lives: medical research, car driving, homes, and businesses. Not a surprise that MIT’s summary of breakthrough technologies of 2018 highlights mostly tech that uses advanced artificial intelligence.
Chatbots are a big part of that whole hype around AI. They automate huge chunks of customer support, assist teams in their daily tasks, and speak with individuals through their home devices. Last year Google heated up the topic showing their Duplex AI-powered assistant that smoothly managed to book a table, and schedule appointments speaking with humans. The presentation blew everyone's mind! Chatbots are getting - smarter, more accessible, and useful.
2018 was also the year of significant changes for our ChatBot platform. Twelve months ago we were still a beta called BotEngine. Today our platform is a comprehensive bot solution proudly named ChatBot. But there were a lot of great moments in between! So let’s take a journey back in time and remember what happened last year.
Baby steps as a beta version
A year ago our platform, BotEngine at that time, was still in the beta version. The platform was already equipped with all necessary features such as rich messages, the intelligent matching system, an entities system that allowed us to validate and save user input, and a robust open API.
It also had one-click integrations with the most popular messaging apps such as Messenger and the popular business communicator, Slack. Additionally, it integrated with LiveChat which allowed adding chatbots agents to these live chat services to speed up customer service teams. From the beginning, ChatBot was equipped with an intuitive draggable interface to make the platform easy to use to non-tech-savvy users.
That was a solid foundation to ship off our platform. In February, we decided to leave the experimental beta and start a new exciting journey. All hands-on board, get ready for the ChatBot revolution!
Last improvements & deep waters
Building applications is a bit like cooking. You might serve the best appetizer, the fanciest main dish, and the sweetest dessert but what makes your skills reliable is to invite guests to taste it.
One will compliment all the courses and thank you for your efforts, the other one will complain about coriander and pick out olives while the last one will end up having only sides as it turns out they are allergic to the main dish.
Our team was keen to hear your opinions (and we still are), and eager to implement them into the platform and we knew that the big test was coming.
Chatbots deployed on the clients’ websites were the real test for the platform. Some of them were bright and chatty, others fussy and some of them way too robotic and obstructive. We weren’t the only ones wondering how to fix this. Our clients sent us lots of feature requests and ideas. One of them was to add a typing indicator so the bot doesn’t flood the chatter with messages but waits a given time, like a human that is actually typing would do. This small improvement made our chatbots feel more natural, and clients got extra seconds to read all messages.
We kept adding requested features such as story and interaction cloning, templates, and our first action designed exclusively for LiveChat-- the chat transfer to human agents. That was the time of small improvements and research on how to make chatbots feel better.
Adding more intelligent machinery
After all, the improvements that we've made allowed the end-users to enjoy the chatbot experience.
Filters made the bot agents ready to answer according to the actual context, the customizable Chat Widget looked great, and user data were correctly collected.
Now we needed to focus on our clients — those who go inside ChatBot and set up bots, analyze archives and check its performance. We wanted to give you the tools to make this process fast but still manageable so any unwanted inquiry triggers the chatbot.
That’s how we created Training — a powerful tool powered by AI that automatically selects unmatched inquiries and lists them out for human evaluation. Users can add a phrase directly to the chatbot scenario, ignore it or delete it so it won’t be shown again. The Training gave our clients an insight into what happens to their chatbot without digging archives. Their chatty assistants could learn on a daily basis and minimize cases when they cannot pair common queries with the right answers.
Approaching the platform
Even though the concept of chatbots isn’t new on the market, there isn’t one best way to build one for yourself. The variety of available building platforms makes the process confusing and requires some readings.
To solve this problem, we looked into our own habits when we start using a new platform or purchasing a new tech gadget. If you buy a pair of new headphones, do you start by reading the manual? If yes, well, good to meet you, you’re the only one. But the rest of us just tap and click all buttons until we get how to use it.
Learning by doing is the fastest and most driven-oriented way to interact with new apps and products.
For this reason, we’ve built the Academy that bonds together the speed of using ready solutions and the hassle of learning how to actually use the platform. Our users can now learn how to create an appointment, sales, lead generation, and many more bots following interactive lessons and at the end of each, they have ready to use chatbots on their accounts. The Academy focuses on practical examples and solutions so you can skip knowing the features you simply don’t need.
ChatBot and the final words
To underline our efforts towards becoming the best comprehensive bot solution we renamed BotEngine to ChatBot. We keep our focus on developing cutting-edge communication technology and we are already preparing for you great new solutions, ideal for 2019!