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September 1, 2021

Gartner’s™ 2021 Tips for Crafting a Chatbot Strategy that Fits Your Entire Business

In their article “Craft a Chatbot Initiative Based on Your Business Requirements and Solution Complexity,” industry analysts Gartner™ present a few ways enterprise leaders can craft a unified chatbot strategy that meets multiple business requirements without adding more complexity to service workflows. 

The special report, which is available in full here and summarized below, offers actionable insights that will help contact center leaders make smarter strategic decisions.

Tip 1: Create a consolidated strategy

The first step to deploying a versatile chatbot strategy that fits every part of your business is unifying processes and systems into a single consolidated strategy that can flex for the whole organization. Per our view, Gartner™’s research shows that most enterprises have multiple chatbot deployments across different departments with varying degrees of complexity and cost associated with implementation. 

As a result, when deploying chatbots enterprises often end up with a dizzying array of vendors and a patchwork of platforms.  This leads to: 

  • Increased IT overhead
  • Vendor management complications
  • Increased vendor risk
  • Disjointed customer experiences
  • A lack of interdepartmental visibility
  • No common set of standards or best practices

Where should executive leaders start?  

To avoid these headaches, leaders looking to consolidate chatbot and virtual assistant deployments across their organization should start by aligning managers around business requirements and use cases. Where is there overlap between departmental needs? What common use cases exist? From there, leaders will know the boxes that need to be checked before implementation and will be better equipped to evaluate a single provider.   

Tip 2: Classify requirements

Once you’ve established an understanding of the use cases and business requirements you expect a chatbot or virtual assistant solution to solve, the next step is assessing the complexity of those problems against the implementation and deployment effort of a given solution. Think of this as your “investment triangle.”

Where should executive leaders start?  

Per our understanding, Gartner™ recommends classifying vendor solutions as low complexity, focused and transactional, and contextual

Low complexity solutions are best matched with use cases that are narrow and require simple, targeted interaction. 

Focused solutions are the next tier up and are best matched with organizations that need backend integrations and support multiple dialogues. Using natural language understanding, focused solutions can create more conversational experiences. 

Contextual solutions handle a wider range of service complexity because they recognize conversational context and infer intent. For example, the chatbot can ask if a customer wants a specific type of food. Then the customer can enter a food type or ask for suggestions. In both cases, the data in the first input, i.e. the type of restaurant that is recommended by the bot, is saved as a context queue the bot retains for future interactions of a similar type. 

Tip 3: Match approach to multiple needs across the business

Prevent a fragmented and haphazard chatbot deployment and avoid tech sprawl by securing a vendor whose solution and implementation process satisfies as many use cases with minimal developer requirements. 

Where should executive leaders start?

If you’ve determined that all use cases can be met by a low complexity solution then there’s no need to weigh more options. However, if you anticipate that support expectations or backend workflows may grow more complicated in the future, you might want to account for that expanding scope now and choose a chatbot and virtual assistant provider that’s flexible enough to accommodate changing business demands. 

Tip 4: Go with an all-inclusive platform that applies to multiple use cases

Preparing for broader chatbot and VA requirements is easiest when you’re partnered with a single provider whose platform is integrated and combines features and capabilities that can meet the full range of service prerequisites.

Single-platform solutions offer several major benefits. Integrated platforms increase agent productivity and satisfaction. They minimize the spending and time waste inherent in redundant technology, eliminate repetitive departmental planning, eliminate quality defects and avoid investment in low-value features that aren’t actually needed.  

Where should executive leaders start?

After you’ve chosen your single platform, instead of launching multiple bot and virtual assistant initiatives with urgent timelines, start with the two or three departments whose needs are the highest priority. From there, you can iterate and incorporate best practice learnings into future rollouts. 

Access the complimentary Gartner research in full here.  

Attribution & Disclaimers

Gartner, Craft a Chatbot Initiative Based on Your Business Requirements and Solution Complexity, Bern Elliot, Van Baker, Magnus Revang, 21 January 2021

GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally, and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.

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