In the AI Startup of the Week, the editorial staff of ai.nl is featuring promising AI startups, their innovations, solutions and challenges. In this tenth episode, we are taking a look at Watermelon, a Dutch AI startup offering an easy to use conversational AI platform that enables users to build their own chatbot or AI assistant without the need to code.
Chatbot and conversational AI platforms have become central to deliver a seamless customer service experience. With the great resignation and lack of staff during the pandemic, a number of companies relied on chatbots as their first line of communication. However, to really deliver a great experience with chatbot, businesses need a partner that can offer a truly useful development platform.
Dutch startup Watermelon does just that with a software solution that can be used to create chatbots or improve customer relationships. From Fortune 500 companies to medium sized businesses, Watermelon has helped create over 2,500 chatbots that have sent and received over 1 million messages. Here is how Watermelon is making it easy to build chatbots for a number of industries around the world.
A quick and easy way to build a chatbot
One of the problems facing companies right now is the lack of tech or coding knowledge to build or design their own chatbot. Watermelon eliminates that issue right at the start with its no coding platform. The startup has a tool, also called chatbot builder, that lets customers build their own chatbot simply by dragging and dropping the conversation elements.
Once the conversational elements are added to the chatbot builder, companies can then test conversations in real-time. “Building the chatbot was so quick – within a week Chatbot Loggi was live. The platform is very easy to use. It’s intuitively designed and also makes it fun to build the chatbot,” says Rody Hermkens, Head of Marketing, Logistiekconcurrent.
Watermelon also knows that building the chatbot is only half the work and the real push comes from publishing it on a number of channels. With Watermelon’s Connect channels option, you can publish your chatbot on platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, and live chat. It is important to reach the customers where they are and not force them to find you on a different platform.
By offering integration with popular messaging platforms, Watermelon makes it extremely easy for businesses to reach their customers. The platform goes a step further by offering integration with existing tools used by a business for customer service, sales, marketing, and recruitment.
During the pandemic, a number of healthcare and hospitality companies adopted chatbots to utilise their desk staff for more important work. These chatbots proved effective at most tasks but might get stuck at answering difficult questions. In such a situation, Watermelon offers the handover option that allows the chatbot to automatically forward the chat to the appropriate team or employee.
Watermelon solves some of the fundamental roadblocks in deploying a chatbot. It eliminates the need to code and offers a design interface that acts as a drag and drop platform for various elements required in building a functional chatbot. It also offers integration with messaging platforms and existing customer service tools and options to measure success with insights.
Automate your customer service
The fifth edition of the “Small and Medium Business Trends” report from Salesforce revealed that SMBs embraced digitisation to stay competitive during the pandemic. They made customer engagement a priority and invested in digital tools to bring innovative offerings to the market. One of the areas where they made major technology investments is customer service.
The customer service software use grew from 50 per cent in August, 2020, to 53 per cent in August, 2021, according to the report. With customer service being so crucial, there is now an opportunity for businesses to automate the task. Automation has already taken over for a number of customer service activities like booking a flight or reserving a table at your favourite restaurant.
With chatbots, automating customer service is easier than ever before. It also helps that chatbots don’t put customers on wait, which is telling when you look at a research that states the average wait time for live chat is currently 2 minutes and 40 seconds. For a business, however, it is imperative to embrace automation without sacrificing on their reputation.
A rule-based chatbot using an algorithm based on a few pre-programmed steps is not the most suitable for customer service. Instead, an AI chatbot built with artificial intelligence capable of learning from user inputs and actions, will result in a chatbot that has actual conversation and not just merely answers with a pre-programmed output.
In a blog post, Watermelon says its AI chatbot is designed to understand what the user is saying and chatbot is cognizant of spelling errors and connotation. It says that an AI chatbot leads to more conversation wherein the chatbot answers more customer questions and leads to increased customer satisfaction.
One of the misconceptions around automation is that it displaces human labour. However, the fact is that humans are elevated to more important work at hand while automation covers some of their repetitive and mundane tasks. An AI chatbot from a company like Watermelon can lead to less work pressure on customer service teams and allows them to answer complex questions or focus their energy on other important tasks.
Another big advantage of a chatbot is the fact that it never sleeps, meaning the customer service need not be time bound. A chatbot can continue answering queries 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, and elevate the ones it cannot answer to a human executive. A chatbot is also consistent with its response and in such situations, a chatbot has been found to be capable of taking over 85 per cent of all incoming questions.
How to automate your customer service in four simple steps
- Set goals: Watermelon advises its customers to set a goal for automation before they get started. This process involves asking questions like what are your expectations from an automated customer service or what pain points you are planning to solve? Once these questions are answered, you need to select the right software for your team and see what form of automation is offered out of the box.
- Aligning teams and channels: Before automating customer service, businesses need to align their teams and channels. They need to understand their current state of business and current flow of communication. An overview of contact points can be crucial in implementing an automation software for customer service. This phase could also be used to assure your employees on how automation will complement their work and not replace them.
- Start automation: Once the goal is set and the teams are aligned, it is time for a business to choose the right software and start building your chatbot. For businesses looking to build a chatbot with no coding or ample amount of integration with existing, a platform like Watermelon can come handy. The key thing to know is that automation should always be goal-oriented or else, the success will be limited.
- Optimise your chatbot: The fundamental thing to know about an AI is that it is a computer program that needs to be trained and supervised to perform its best. Similarly, an AI chatbot will also need some kind of training initially to fully take over all the repetitive and mundane tasks. Right off the bat, a chatbot is ready to learn and once that learning phase is over, it will be able to steer the customer service ship.