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In episode two of this series we covered a number of questions we were hoping to answer in our R&D.
From a "bot development discovery and definition" perspective we came up with this main question:
Which UX and functional methodologies are we missing in order to provide a proper discovery and Functional Analysis (FA) phase for bot creation?
We'll try to answer this question in this article.
For whom are we building a bot?
In short, we'll need to know what methodologies and tools we can re-use from our existing stack or which ones we'll need to re-invent or adapt to provide answers to the following questions:
- For whom are we building a bot?
- Who is our bot?
- How do we define what our bot does?
- How do we test and evaluate our bot?
We'll go over our findings one by one. In this article we're covering the first one: How do you define for whom to build a bot?
This might seem like a silly question. A common answer to this question would be: "What do you mean with 'for whom'? For our customers of course!"
Sure. Keep in mind though, your employees are kind of a "customer" as well, so you might think about bots within the company too. But let's stick with the "external customers" concept here.
Depending on your type of company, your customer base can be very diverse. And like any other digital project you have undertaken, you might want to map out your customers, and get a feel of what their needs are, and how you can provide them with something of value.
On top of that, insights into your customers will help you define what type of bot you should be building and in what bot biotope(s) it should live.
We tried out if some of our methodologies we use today will hold up when it comes to bot development. Turns out, they do. But we'll need to broaden their scope a bit as you will see further in this article.
Let’s first try to get an idea of who our customers are. A common way to tackle this is creating an empathy map. You'll find lots of examples online, but if you like, you can follow along with this exercise and download our empathy mapping template here.
It's best to perform this exercise with a multidisciplinary team of people. They don't need to be real customers, but they do need to have knowledge of your company and it's services.
First off, you define for which customer segment you're creating the map. Can't figure this out? Go for "dot voting" or even better. Try Idea Rating here! Once you've defined a customer segment, try to provide some data and demographics (Name, age, profession,...).
Now you can start answering the six questions on the empathy map. Our version is a bit modified in correspondence with the original I found on boagworld (tip of the hat ). I've added a "context" section to describe the customer's context a bit, and I rephrased the six topics that need covering.
Let every participant answer the questions by themselves
TasksWhat tasks is this person trying to complete? What questions do they need answered?
FeelingsHow are these people feeling about the experience? What really matters to them?
InfluencesWhat influences these people? Things other people say, things they might see in an interface, advertisements...
ActionsWhat do these people do and say? What are their actions?
On top of these four items, we describe:
The overall goalWhat their ultimate goal? What are they trying to accomplish?
Pain pointsWhat are the pain points (frustrations, obstacles, risks) they are experiencing and trying to overcome?
The end result of this exercise is an empathy map that provides us with a nice concept of our customer. A concept we can return to throughout the development of any product.
Customer Journey Mapping
Now we can jump into another commonly used methodology: customer (or user) journey mapping. Here we're following a persona (based on previous exercise) throughout their relationship with our organization, our services, product and brand. We'll do this over time and across channels. Along the way we might map out their emotions and we'll be able to define certain moments of truth. The end result is a visual map representation of this journey.
Mind you. It's not about the actual map (useful as it may be) but it's the process of creating this map that is important. You'll get to know your customers better and above all, you'll be able to detect moments of truth and on which channels those opportunities lie. This is very important for your channel selection. This exercise might show you your initial "gut feeling" channel selection was totally of. Say you were aiming to have a bot implemented on your website, but it turns out most of your customers immediately go for the phone, except for a younger generation who doesn't even visit your site but starts messaging you...
There are plenty of additional methodologies to better understand your customers. Keyword research would for instance be a very suited one to discover more. It might provide additional insights that can help you in constructing your empathy map, or you can gleam knowledge that is useful for bot dialogue writing later on. But the point is, you better have a good understanding about all of this before making any decisions into what your bot needs to do, and how and where it should be doing it. Once you do, we can tackle the next step of this process: defining who your bot is. More on this in the next episode of this series.
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This article is part of the Bot Chronicles series, a series documenting the Bot R&D of The Reference. Read up on previous episodes here: