We interviewed Kajsa, lead conversational designer at the Swedish firm Talking to Me about a voice-first chat-bot project they did for major Swedish delivery company.
A translated demo of the project is available here
- Tell us a bit about yourself and your background
I have a degree in media and communication studies and have previously worked as a manager within international customer service, before I co-founded Talking to me in 2018.
- Did you build bots before and if so, what tools did you use?
Yes, we mainly built our bots in Dialogflow, but have also worked with chatbot providers like Boost.ai and Telia Ace.
Since we generally want to be platform agnostic, I have tried many different tools.
- Who was the client?
The client was Budcompaniett, a large, innovative, Stockholm based delivery firm.
- What was the use-case? And channel/platform?
Budcompaniett wanted a delivery booking service, enabling customers with high volumes to book deliveries hands-free, for example while packing.
The initial channel was Google Assistant, but the scope later expanded to include Facebook Messenger and a web widget, because why not?
- On a high-level, how did you approach the project?
Taking inspiration from design thinking and Google’s conversation design guidelines, Talking to me have developed a design process, which amongst other things include mapping of the use case and writing sample dialogues to create a couple of voice only happy paths:
Based on these happy paths, we built the first version of the bot in Narratory which was then extended and iterated to cover all possible user input, with visual elements added for the chat based channels.
Below: a snapshot from the bot builder - this particular turn querying the user for an address and then doing an address lookup using an API.
- Did you encounter any particular challenges in the project and how did you overcome them?
One of the main challenges was definitely how to collect the sender and recipient addresses from the user. We wanted them to be able to say either a company name or an address and for the bot to find the rest of the address automatically.
What we ended up doing was to collect a free-text input from the user, run it through a webhook which queried Google Maps API and do the form-filling automatically. This saved us several follow up questions. If we didn’t get an address hit from Google we would gather the address manually, step by step.
- How was the end result?
We were happy with the finished product, it went well beyond what we were hoping for. The client was also impressed by the fact that it could be so easily be adopted and deployed to other channels with just a few minor adjustments.
Below: the demo bot in English using a web client.
- What were your requirements when looking at a platform?
First of all, we needed integration with Google Assistant, including specific functionalities like account linking and transactions.
We also wanted a platform that was easy to work with for a non programmer without the need of too much infrastructure to be set up.
As this was kind of an innovation project, price was also an important consideration.
- Why did you decide to go with Narratory here?
Given our criterias, it seemed like a great choice and we were eager to try it out.
- How well did Narratory meet the needs you had?
The platform met all of our needs, and the Narratory team really went out of their way to fulfill every feature request that came up during the course of the project.
- What did you like most about using Narratory?
I had a lot of fun building it! It’s very rewarding to create something that can be tested straight away without help from developers.
I specifically like that it handles contexts for you, a Dialogflow/conversational AI concept that can easily get very complicated.
- Was there something you didn't like?
What we missed was having full visibility of logs in order to check the value of variables, etc. I am happy to see that, since then, Narratory has added support for this.
- What tips would you give to others working on similar use-cases?
You can save time by sketching the whole flow out before starting to build. There are usually several different ways to achieve the same thing, and you want to ensure you do it in the simplest way possible.