Whether we’re talking about Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant, it is no secret that chatbots are all the rage these days, with more advanced and complex versions peeking over the horizon every other week.

A chatbot can greatly help attract traffic and business to your company, alleviate the costs of having to operate a call centre support line, and help get in touch with your target audience at any point during the day, regardless of human availability.

Training your chatbot is a very important responsibility to any happy bot parent, however. If your chatbot does not learn any new tricks every once in a while, then it will stagnate and be supplanted by other new and shiny chatbots that will arrive on the market.

How do you even get started with chatbot training, though? Not to worry - we’ve prepared a quick primer for you to help set your thoughts in order!

How to Train Your Online Chatbot With AI

First of all, we’ll start with the assumption that your chatbot has artificial intelligence, which means that it is acquainted with technologies like Natural Language Processing. We will also assume that your chatbot makes use of machine learning as well.

These technologies will allow your chatbot to attempt engaging and responding to a conversation even when prompted with queries it is not familiar with. Not only that, but they will also give it the foundation to eventually learning new approaches by itself.

Perfect Your Knowledge Base

The brain of the chatbot is its knowledge base, which is essentially a repository for information it uses when interacting with a person. This is more often than not a database filled with frequently asked questions about your business (as well as the answers, of course!) that the chatbot can draw from when having a conversation.

Inside the knowledge base, you should also have synonyms and compound words so that it can more easily understand the context of a given chat. A chatbot cannot speak naturally and must thus be properly guided if it is to pinpoint the intent of the user.

Focus on Important Areas

It’s important to mention that before you start training your chatbot, you should clearly delineate the areas you would most like to focus on. For example, if you’d like to have your chatbot respond to a specific user query that does not come up often at all, then why not divert the effort you would put into developing its response action into something more worthwhile?

The areas that receive the most attention are the ones that the chatbot should focus on. Do not over-design your chatbot in areas it is unlikely to be prompted in, as you will waste valuable time researching what is not needed.

Diversify Your Utterances

An “utterance” is a sentence that a user might say to your bot. Every bot functions on utterances, which it receives, processes, and then answers to. It is essentially any sentence that prompts the bot into action.

Making sure that your triggering sentences are varied is highly important, as everyone expresses themselves differently. While one user might say “I want to buy,” another user might say “I’d like to get that for my wife,” which is bound to confuse the chatbot, who is going to identify the former, but be lost when interpreting the latter.

Adding as many utterances as possible to your knowledge base is going to greatly improve the functionality of your chatbot and will also give off the impression it is far more intelligent than it might actually be. It’s a win-win!

Keep Checking and Testing Your Bot

First, we’d like to draw attention to how beneficial it would be to diversify your bot’s training team since one pair of eyes can notice what several others might miss. Having a diverse team of people adding to the bot’s knowledge base makes sure to cover all angles, which will reduce the disappointment of finding out your chatbot is not as fool-proof as you would have hoped.

The other aspect of testing your bot is, well, to test it! We would encourage you to not only ask those who are working on the chatbot to test it but your users as well, since they are the audience that the bot is meant for. If any part of your bot is going to break, then your users will be the first to find out anyway, so why not use it to your benefit?

Always Better, Always Stronger

The most impressive quality of a chatbot is its ability to constantly improve. Although it is certainly done with the help of humans, a well-trained chatbot will be able to learn by itself without external stimuli, giving it the uncanny talent of absorbing information much as a human would.

Train your chatbot, and your business will flourish because of it.