The Starbucks Chatbot Experiment

What is a chatbot? How are they used?

“A chatbot is a computer program that simulates and processes human conversation (either written or spoken), allowing humans to interact with digital devices as if they were communicating with a real person” (What Is a Chatbot? n.d.).

Tell us about the chatbot you created.

The chatbot I decided to create was for the company Starbucks. I decided to use Starbucks as my platform because as a loyal customer who uses the application often,  I know what I want to see and ask. I tried to do a simple layout with direct questions that a customer might have. I know how frustrating it can be when it takes me a few clicks to get the chatbot to understand what I would like to do.

Tell us how you created the chatbot. (Not just that you used Voice-flow, but what was the design of the speech patterns/tree like? How did you refine? 

The way I created this chatbot was by thinking about the customer perspective first. Next, I took a pen and paper and actually did a rough sketch of how I wanted the basic sequence to go. I wrote down the questions I might have as a consumer, and used many different ways to ask the same question. Armed with this collective of information I went on the Voice-flow app to begin creating my chatbot. After viewing 3-6 tutorials, I began to build my chatbot. I took advantage of the testing mode and the option to increase the intelligence of my chatbot whenever I could to try to improve the reactiveness of my bot. At one point I thought I had finished and as I was proudly showing my spouse the test, I realized I hadn’t linked intents to the buttons properly and when a user was not clicking the pre-made buttons I had set, they could not search with keywords using their type tool. I think the hardest part of a project like this is knowing when to stop, and although I could tweak this thing forever, I knew I was done when my questions seemed to be swiftly answered.

What did you find most challenging about creating this chatbot?

I think the thing I found most challenging about creating this chatbot was knowing how far to develop intent and how many utterances to use to give the best chance for the user to get to the right outcome.

What are you most proud of?

I feel as though I am most proud of the flow I created and the way I learned to get things to connect smoothly by tweaking the settings.

Starbucks Chatbot Demo

Process Captures