City, University of London got their chatbot up and running in a matter of weeks and this meant that they were able to have it ready in time for Clearing. Dominic explains…
“The implementation is really good. It’s intense, but it’s very quick from out-the-box to getting the bot up and running. Johnny, who is Head of Customer Success at Gecko, is fantastic. Everybody loves Johnny, and so that really helped our implementation.”
1) Decide who you want to be involved in the implementation process. We went with the view that to try and get buy-in of university staff we had to get as many of them involved as possible. And so we had between 20 and 30 people that were part of the implementation week. Our learning was that that probably wasn’t necessary.
2) Pump your bot full of the most frequently asked questions and answers. For this, I think you really only need a handful of people to do this. You need people who know what kinds of questions are asked and what answers should be given, and then people with a logical mind, supported by or facilitated by Johnny.
3) Train your bot by asking it additional questions. We made a decision to spam – or train – the bot even further in order to prepare for Clearing. We paid 20 or so student ambassadors to spend three hours just asking the chatbot questions. Once we’d done that we got it up and running for it to organically get better.
4) Decide whether the bot answers questions or you just drop a link. When you go through the implementation process you have to decide whether you use the chatbot to direct users to the website and say, ‘You can find the answer to that question here or whether you use the chatbot to answer those questions within the conversation. On the whole, we did the latter because I think that’s what people expect when they’re talking to a chatbot. They don’t expect to just be fired off to a web link, they expect to get an answer. But you do have that choice.
5) Think about where your chatbot will sit on your university website. From a Clearing point of view, if your bot sits on your Clearing homepage, it’s fairly straightforward because the questions you’re most likely to get will be about Clearing. When you put it on the university’s home page, it could be asked about literally anything. And so that would take a much longer period to become fully effective.