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The Business Leader’s Guide to Launching AI Chatbot Programmes (Part 2)

The Business Leader’s Guide to Launching AI Chatbot Programmes (Part 2)

This is part 2 of the Business Leader’s Guide to Launching AI Chatbot Programmes. In this series, I am demystifying the perceived complexities from launching AI Chatbots by providing an intuitive step by step guide that business leaders can follow. In part 2, we continue from step 4.

4) Define the Intents

Once the primary role of the chatbot is known, the next step is to define the list of possible intents the Chatbot should process. Intents can be seen as the jobs to be done by the user when interacting with the Chatbot. The most important question to ask at this stage is ‘What is our customer trying to achieve whenever they use our products/services?’

For example, possible intents for a Supermarket AI chatbot could be :

• Buy groceries
• Check price of milk
• View opening times

The list of intents defined at this stage should be as comprehensive as possible (aim for 70-90% confidence level) and as such, managers must gather data from all customer facing teams on needs and wants of customers. Other sources of data like Website traffic, emails, FAQs can also be reviewed

Finally it is important to note that the list of intents should be in line with the primary role of the chatbot. For example, a psychologist AI Chatbot has no business selling airtime credit to end users.

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5) Define Entities

Entities can be defined as the pieces of information required from the user to achieve an Intent. For example, the entities required for an Open Bank Account intent could include:
• First name
• Last name
• Date of birth
• Email Address
• Bvn
• Phone number

For each intent defined in step 4, the required entities need to be clearly defined.

6) Select Channels

This is the perfect stage to decide what platforms the AI Chatbot will run on. If the steps in this guide has been followed up to this step, the team would already have enough data (like customer preferences, customer intents) to make the right decision on the best channels to deploy on.

The possible list of available channels are as below :

• Email
• Facebook Messenger
• WhatsApp
• Telegram
• Email
• Phone
• Website

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7) Select Conversational Styles

The conversational style of the Chatbot is the mode of interaction between the end user and the Chatbot.

There are three conversational Styles to choose from


This conversational style lends itself more to the use of fixed menus and options. The chatbot presents the user with a defined set of menu options from which the user can choose from. Consider using this conversational style if the Chatbot will have a clear and defined set of Intents or if there is a need to use local languages to interact with users.


This conversational style is based on human natural language for the interaction between the Chatbot and the user. For example, users may be able to interact with an Airline Customer Service Chatbot using statements such as ‘When is the next flight to Abuja?’ and the Chatbot can similarly reply with statements like ‘The next flight to Abuja is on Arik Air at 2:30 p.m. Would you like me to book a seat on this flight for you?’.

Consider using this conversational style if the Chatbot will have a very large number of Intents that makes it difficult to display in a menu format or if the primary role of the AI Chatbot does not lend itself to using menu options (examples are Counselling Chatbots).


Using a combination of structured and unstructured conversational styles. Consider using this conversational style if the Chatbot will have a mix of users with varying technical savviness.

8) Decide on ChatBot character

Chatbots should absolutely have characters. Chatbots can be funny, polite, professional, aggressive etc. The Chatbot character helps define the tone and nature of the conversation with users.
The Chatbot can also be given a name like the likes of Temi and Ada.
In defining the Chatbot character, the brand and the values of the organisation should be considered.

To be continued…

Tolu Adelowo is the Chief Executive Officer of Cousant Limited – a Technology consulting company that works with clients to solve the increasing complexities in managing technology products, projects, people and operations in Africa. Tolu is also an accomplished author that has written two e-books which are the ‘The Case for decentralized workplaces in developing economies’ and ‘The Rise of the Emerligent Economies – How African economies can win the AI war’.