Let’s start this blog post with an instant caveat – there is no such thing as the perfect chatbot. There is also no universal best practice as you will want to change your approach depending on the purpose of the bot, the target audience it will be communicating with and the overall approach of your brand. That being said there are a number of ways you can improve your chatbot creation to increase the chances of it performing well.
INTRODUCTION TO BOTS
There are lots of different opinions about bots. Those that think they are the evolution that industries have been crying out for and those that view them as the beginning of the end of the world. At Wizu we clearly are the former and making the argument as to why is a whole other blog post. Let’s just say that chatbots allow companies to communicate and assist their customers en masse in a cheap and effective way. There are a huge range of situations where they can be of great help to customers and companies and they are only going to continue to get more popular.
It is clear throughout this early adoption period to chatbots that there have been some great examples and some not so great examples. So, what are some of the key elements that can make your chatbot a success.
DON’T PRETEND TO BE SOMETHING YOU ARE NOT
You can go all the way back to 1950 to track the foundations that led to the chatbot revolution. When Alan Turing theorized that a truly intelligent machine would be indistinguishable from a human during a text-only conversation. Over the almost 70 years since, a number of chatbots have been created with this purpose, to try and convince people they are human.
However, when you are talking about chatbots being utilised in a customer service scenario this is a dangerous area. Customers want companies to be honest and transparent with them. In most cases a customer doesn’t mind whether it is a bot or a human assisting them, as long as they are getting the required outcome. But getting a bot agent to pretend to be human is asking for trouble. Firstly, you are then inviting your customer to start testing the agent. How many times have you spoken to an agent and asked the question ‘are you human?’. Be open from the start and let the customer know this is a bot. That doesn’t mean it can’t communicate in a human like way but a line needs to be drawn and you should not be trying to fool your customers.
HAVE A PURPOSE
Try not to create a Chatbot that wants to do everything at once. Define your goals and expectations so that your Chatbot has a clear purpose. What data would you like to collect from your audience – make sure you are asking the right questions. If your chatbot has been created to make a process easier for your customers then clearly you need to make sure it is serving that purpose.
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
What you decide to name your bot can have a surprisingly big impact on how it can perform. In certain scenarios, you might want to assign your bot a gender or the name may be linked to your brand but if you are creating a more universal bot then there are some constraints you should consider.
Ideally you want your bot to be an asexual being and androgynous in all aspects. This helps the bot avoid favouring a certain demographic. You might also want to delve deeper into the cogitation criteria as certain names have symbolic value and sign value that you might want to avoid. There are also certain word-endings that have a positive impact, such as ending your name with a vowel.
Ultimately, your bots name should be easy to say but be memorable and be unique.
IF LOOKS COULD KILL (COMPLETION RATES)
Just as the name should remain androgynous, the visual of your bot should also try and represent this. You may have specific requirements that favour a certain gender but if not try and remain neutral if possible. Your bot design should reflect the personality of the bot and should also represent the overall branding of your company. If your brand already has a colour pallete then try and keep this consistent.
The design of the overall interface is also important and should be kept simple with easy to use features. This will help make your Chatbot effortless to use.
People like having conversations. They don’t want to just sit and reel off answers and get nothing back. Your bot needs to respond in a human like way. If the customer is not happy about something then your bot should acknowledge that, perhaps even offer sympathy.
The personality you assign to your bot is integral to the overall experience. It must have a likeable personality in order to act more like a human interviewer. The more likeable the bot the more trust it gains which means it can create a deeper and more vivid picture of the customer experience. The personality should be in line with your overall brand personality and should keep in mind the personality of your target audience.
KEEP IT CONVERSATIONAL
Your bot should have a conversational approach making the interaction with your customers more open. Your bot is there to facilitate the conversation so should not take over but allow the respondent to get their points across. Conversational interfaces are popular because we are wired to think of conversations as interactions with people and not with companies or systems. Consumers are just as willing to speak to a chatbot as they are to send an email or pick up the phone. Bots should also use a natural language that reflects the brands overall tone of voice.
Today’s digital customers know that companies have data about them and if used correctly don’t mind if it used to offer them a better, more personalized experience. If you asking a customer for feedback on an experience then try and offer some context, include some personalized information that helps the respondent know what you are referring too. It also helps the respondent feel their feedback is important by making it specifically about them.
When it comes to creating a chatbot there are clearly a number of areas that need to be considered. If you follow the recommendations above, you can avoid the kind of bad experiences that could put customers off from ever using your chatbot again. It can also ensure you offer your customers a better overall experience and ensure you are gaining better insight.
About Martin Powton
Wizu is a chatbot for conversational surveys offering a unique and innovative way to measure and improve customer experience. Wizu allows companies to invite their customers to a conversation with a chatbot that will be personalised to them. The bot uses the latest in Artificial Intelligence and text analytics technology to understand customer emotion offering a deeper insight than traditional surveys and offering a more engaging and interactive survey experience.