How to build a better chatbot

A chatbot is a support system for your customer service. Using artificial intelligence and natural language processing, your chatbot can simulate conversation with a user through messaging applications, websites, mobile apps and more, giving them accurate and relevant information. By powering your AI chatbot with Watson Assistant, you can avoid the difficulties associated with traditional chatbot building platforms and build a tool that will improve your customer support.

Additional resources

Watson developer community

Learn from peers and consult with experts in real-time on getting started with our chatbot builder.

Chatbot learning path

How-to documentation, from conversational AI chatbot basics to creating your own apps.

Watson Assistant docs

Templates and documentation on getting started, integrations, dialog flow and more.

Frequently asked questions

Get answers to common questions on chatbot development and links to learn more.

What are chatbots used for?

Chatbots are used to provide customer service support and connect users with the services or information they need by simulating a person-to-person conversation.

How does a bot builder work?

Chatbots and bot builders interpret and process a user's words or phrases and give an answer. They can provide responses based on a combination of predefined scripts and machine learning applications.

How long does it take to build a chatbot?

You can learn how to use the product and build your first topic in less than 30 minutes.

How do I integrate a chatbot with my website to improve the user experience?

Through the Integrations tab of your assistant, you can copy and paste a JavaScript snippet into your existing website’s HTML. This will create a fully customizable web widget on your desired page. You can also integrate Watson Assistant into Slack, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Amazon Alexa, social media channels, and CRM systems. And of course, our chatbot API integrates with other Watson APIs.

What programming languages do I need to know to build a chatbot?

You can get started building an engaging chatbot with Watson Assistant, no-code is needed. However chatbot development platforms can use programming languages such as Python or JavaScript.

What is a conversational flow?

The component where you build the conversation that the chatbot has with your users. Dialog gives the user a clear understanding of what the chatbot is there to do and allows the chatbot to define user intent and provide a pre-authored response.

What is utterance in chatbot?

Anything the user inputs into a chatbot which is then used to derive intent. If a user types “What are your office hours?”, the entire sentence is an utterance.

What technology is used in chatbot?

Chatbots use natural language processing (NLP). Natural language processing makes it possible for your bot to read text, hear and interpret speech, measure sentiment and determine which parts are important.

How much does it cost to create a chatbot?

You can start with our Lite plan at no cost or explore our Plus and Enterprise plans to enhance your chatbot’s capabilities.

What is the difference between a virtual agent and a chatbot?

The primary difference between a chatbot and a virtual agent is the chatbot’s inability to learn. A chatbot can provide clear pre-written answers, but a virtual agent like Watson Assistant, uses AI to interpret a question and determine what the user really needs to know.

How do chatbots learn?

Chatbots can learn by analyzing the data sets you provide, and through the dialog with your users. Chatbots can also learn by having a human editing the system. In most cases, both are required.

What are the types of chatbots?

Chatbots are often associated with customer support and customer experience. IBM customers have used chatbots in a range of use cases – including engaging with customers for customer self-service, automating backend processes, optimizing workflows and more.

Is there a chatbot plugin for Wordpress?

Yes, you can use this Wordpress plugin (link resides outside IBM). In a few minutes, you can train Watson to answer FAQs, provide useful information and help customers navigate your website.

Are chatbots accurate?

Watson Assistant uses machine learning and intent detection algorithms to understand how to answer end-user questions accurately. The artificial intelligence at the core of Watson Assistant is designed to correctly identify the countless permutations of intent in real-world interactions. In short, we designed Watson Assistant to be easy to train and to recognize accurately what the user wants.

How do you integrate a chatbot with SMS?

You can deploy Watson Assistant over any channel such as phone, SMS, Slack etc. To add a text messaging integration so your assistant can exchange messages with your customers. You can learn how here, and to watch a video that walks through the setup process, see Phone and SMS Integration in the IBM Watson Apps Community.