Creating a Bot from Scratch vs Using a Bot Platform

The Bot Value Chain by Jean-Marc Ly

With the rise of bots, software designed to automate tasks (making a reservation, purchasing a product, distributing content, providing customer service or sending coupons), there is a degree of development knowledge needed to create intelligent, robust and scalable bots. By nature, bots are applications that live on top of existing communication channels that take advantage of their interface UI and adds NLU (Natural Language Understanding) to facilitate communication between the software and an individual.

Bot development differs from app development is many ways. Apps require proper planning, a specific designer for UX flow and platform specific building blocks. Bots on the other hand offer a more streamlined and linear execution. However, building a bot isn’t as simple as it looks. Let’s take a look at how bot development is done today and a new emerging development method.

Building a Bot from Scratch Today

Bots rely on several preparation steps to ensure a good working bot. You need to prepare the conversational script as part of your bot spec, the bot architecture and your development environment.

Spec & Conversational Script

The conversational script acts as use case of actual user conversation. Because most bots interact with users via a chat interface, the bot must guide the user toward the answer or task. The content of the script creates a context that relies on user behavior and add-on NLU (Natural Language Understanding).

System Environment & Configuration

Next you need to create the architecture and engineering design of the bot. You need to create both the back-end and front-end ranging from setting up the servers to the front-end conversational interface, user action and any computation needed. A developer will typically need to spin up their own servers, build, deploy and manually wire up the corresponding SDKs, incorporate NLU (Natural Language Understanding), fiddle with platform specific API, manage hosting and preparation of deployment package including processing of dependencies, test and deploy. These steps usually takes developers a bit to set up since there are many connecting interfaces, services, plugins and configurations. Will you manually host it yourself, use Amazon AWS (which requires configurations) or another service? Will you create a management interface to monitor your resource spent and key-value storage of your conversation history?

Bot Development

With your system configuration all set, you can now start building your bot. Use your conversational script to create a working bot while testing it to make sure it responds well and to check for any errors. This step is very straightforward as your spec guidelines gives you the skeleton of the bot.


Once you are satisfied with your bot, it is time to deploy it to your hosted environment. You need a stable hosting environment where the bot will reside that allows you enough flexibility to expand your hosting and monitor your bot/resource usage.

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The Future Voice of Companies are Bots

We think you should message a business just the way you would message a friend — Mark Zuckerberg.

Bots, simple computer programs used to perform tasks & engage with individuals, are at the forefront of customer engagement. As Mark Zuckerberg echoes, business will need to reinvent themselves to stay competitive, drive growth amidst a more global demand and increase business efficiencies to beat out the competition. With Facebook’s recent introduction of Discovery Tab in Facebook Messenger and the openness of the internet has given consumers more power and choices, a greater voice and the ability to interact directly with brands and corporations. Consumers are reaching directly to companies for brand advocacy, support and also negative feedback. How can enterprises cope with the growing usage of social media and many different channels to interact with their customers all over the world?

The New Frontier Of Customer Engagement

What is a bot?

For those of you new to this, let me explain what a bot is and where do they live. Skip over this section if you have read my previous blog post.

A bot is software designed to automate tasks such as making a reservation, adding a calendar appointment, purchasing a product, distributing content, providing customer service or sending coupons. Bots are designed to create a “conversation” that simulates chatting with a human. Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing systems are used to make a bot facilitate a more “natural” conversation between the machine and a human.

Where do bots live in?

Bots live primarily in messaging apps, on websites and mobile app, and IoT devices (Alexa, Google Home) which often is built around a conversational interface. As Facebook and other messaging platforms are launching their own bot store and discover bot platforms, consumer brands should take advantage of these channels to create business opportunities, branding outreach and consumer engagement vehicles.

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Why Bots Should Be Part of Your Customer Success Arsenal

In today’s subscription economy, customers have more choices than ever before. With new competing services rising daily, it is crucial to watch your churn rate. Managing your customer relationships becomes even more important. Ensuring your customers are benefiting the most value from your product is a must.

Conversational Marketing should be in your arsenal

Conversational Marketing is one method companies use to build relationships and learn more about their customers. With big data and influx of information from pixels, cookies, conversion rates, social data, there is an argument that Conversation Marketing may not be as powerful and useful. However, customer information gained through conversation marketing may lead to deeper behavioral insights and sales triggers than accumulating statistics from other channels.

Ian Lurie defines Conversation Marketing as a strategy for meeting age-old marketing challenges on the internet. It’s a methodology that makes use of the changes brought about by new, faster, more interactive media, without discarding the basic, sound principles of good communications.

How does Conversation Marketing tie in with Customer Success and Bots? Bots are tools used by Customer Success as part of a company’s conversation marketing strategies. The goal of Conversation Marketing and Customer Success is to maximize the value of your offerings. Making your clients more productive, efficient and satisfied with your solution. You maximize the value of your customers. The rewards are return buy, referrals, brand awareness or product feedback. For example, if a client is paying you $20 a month for your product, that’s great. You want them to pay $20 a month for as long as possible. But wouldn’t it be even better if they paid you $20, then $25, then $30, then $35 a month? This is what customer success can do, increasing your profits along the way. It is a meaningful channel of growth if done well. This is where bots come in. Bots can help your customer success team to perform more efficiently and build a better relationships with your clients.

What is a bot?

A bot is an automated software agent working for you to perform a simple task. Whether it is a chatbot (software agent that interacts with you through messages), UI bot (ie. allowing you to perform tasks with buttons), Voice bot (ie. using voice command for a task) or any visual bot (ie. getting chart of the market performance for the day). They all perform a certain specific task and any new task that are automated through an AI will become a bot.

On WeChat, you can use Tencent’s other services or third party services all from within the app. Whether its a loan or wealth management, booking a public bike or ordering a taxi, you do it all within the app. A bot comes into play to either help you order or perform a task or follow up with you after a service has been ordered. WeChat sends automated messages to let you know that your movie start time, when you receive money from your peers or when you need to top up your wallet. It is all automated by these agents we call “bots

WeChat offers their own and third party services. You can even get promotions and discount via bots and subscribe to brands you enjoy. These bots will alert you for the newest deal, product or news.
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