Chatbots are no longer a ‘perk’ or ‘add-on’ that companies and brands use to enhance their customer service. In a society where more of us demand efficient answers to our questions, web chat is now hot property.
The data is clear. Gartner suggests that more than four out of five companies are now offering live chat as standard. What’s more, chatbots are helping firms to save time and money in helping customers.
However, training chatbots and implementing them takes time and effort. It is easy enough to assume that a simple text repository will be enough for chatbots to pull from. However, modern chatbots understand the context and can even have conversations with customers.
Therefore, for context and understanding to be as clear as possible, data cleansing is mandatory. A chatbot pulling data from a confusing, clogged-up silo or lake will often deliver the wrong answers.
But what’s the best plan of attack to clean and refine your data to personalize chatbot experiences?
Why Does Data Cleaning Matter as Far as Chatbots Are Concerned?
Chatbots will only ever be able to pull data from the resources you define for them. For example, your chatbot may be expected to answer specific questions about a customer’s order. Therefore, they may look into data organized in columns defined as ‘order date’, ‘payment amount’ and ‘card type’.
If data organized in these columns is unclear, incomplete, or out of date, a chatbot will not know the difference. Therefore, your customers run the risk of receiving inappropriate or downright wrong answers!
It is easy to assume that a chatbot will be able to work out the context for themselves. However, while the technology is growing ever-more advanced, it still relies on a clean, precise data arrangement.
Therefore, before setting up any chatbot, you must ensure that your data is clean and easy to understand. That means your information not only needs to be easy for people to understand but for machines to process, too.
Thankfully, it is simple enough to make sure your data is ready for chatbots to pool from.
Clearly Define Your Parameters
It is vital to ensure that your data is all aligned to the same parameters. A key problem in collating data for business is that it may arrive from disparate sources. To clean and arrange your data for chatbots to pull from, you must make sure that it all fits a singular format.
Data cleaning multiple sources of data requires such unification. Chatbots, while impressive in their design, are unable to work to numerous lakes and silos.
To clean data effectively for chatbots in the first instance, it is a good idea to set out a clear template. What are some of the crucial parameters you measure for in your data? Customer names, card types, subscription statuses – you must make sure all are in the same format for bots to source from.
Keep Data Up To Date
Data is continually growing, changing and evolving. That means, of course, that you are always likely to come across some information that is no longer relevant. A customer that hasn’t been in contact with you for some time may not have up to date records.
As you may imagine, a chatbot that pulls data from outdated sources will hardly provide outstanding service. That’s why it is vital to regularly sweep data so that it is relevant to your records and your customers.
Of course, much of this data can be updated by customers themselves through online self-service. It’s good to have databases in place that will capture and arrange this information as and when it updates.
Be Wary of Duplicates
Duplication is a common cause of dirty data for businesses of all sizes. It’s duplicate information that is helping to add to the $3 trillion-plus bill that the US economy loses each year. Duplicate information can lead to double record creation. For the average chatbot looking to pool data, this can get very confusing.
As you continue to pool or stack up data in lakes, it is easy to lose sight of duplication. With a simplified database and data filtering system, double data aggregates on sight. The best data cleaning software can automate this process. That means there is no need to spend time and effort manually sifting through information yourself!
Duplicate data may not seem to be a significant problem at first. However, customers may risk receiving inaccurate answers or responses from chatbots this way. It’s imperative to ensure data is clean and concise!
Don’t Hold onto All Your Data
Controversially, you may not need all the data you bring onboard. There is such a phenomenon as data hoarding – and when chatbots are involved, things can get all the more confusing.
Stocking up data in silos can lead to chatbots retrieving inaccurate results or answers. It may even lead to a slowdown in responses. Chatbots need a simple, precise amount of data that they can pull from at a second’s notice.
Chatbot data needs to be relevant as well as fitting to various contexts. Therefore, while you train your chatbot to understand specific questions and concerns, you need to be patient with its needs! Too much data could lead to a lack of relevancy – and could infuriate your customers.
Therefore, it’s likely a good idea to consider shaving some of your data out of your silos. As mentioned, much of this may be duplicated or inaccurate information! It’s not always easy to know which data is likely to be the most useful for a chatbot. So, why not delegate some of this work to clean software?
Why Investing in Data Cleaning is the Way Forward?
Many business owners may assume that cleaning and rearranging data is a manual process. On a small scale, this can be the case – however, big data is truly colossal. It is constantly growing, so firms are always looking for ways to automate the process.
Data cleaning software can bring together multiple data sources to clean and re-organize to specific parameters. What’s more, it is not just a method of problem prevention. When delegating data cleaning to the right software, you can expect it to keep arranging new information to these standards.
When it comes to running chatbots, you are relying on your data working for you – autonomously. While you may not see your data piling up in unusable silos, your chatbots can! It’s easy to assume chatbots are ready to work as soon as you train them. However, you need a clean database so they can continue to work for you in the background.
Chatbots are superb investments. Whether aiding customers or saving you time, money and labor, they are ideal in the age of hyper-efficient service. Providing the data your chatbots work from is clean, clear and workable without your help, you can continue to delegate.
If you’re considering setting up chatbots for your website, make sure to clean up your database first. Otherwise, you may find that you create more headaches than you remedy! The best data cleaning software may help you achieve a whole new speed of processing, too.
Darren Wall has been producing business and tech pieces for B2B and B2C publications for twenty years; he’s among the top-rated in his field. He’s also a content consultant and a creative entrepreneur who loves giving start-up, planning, and process advice.