As I mentioned in a previous post, a key way to grow your bot is to give it personality. People don't want to feel like they are talking to a machine, they are looking for an authentic, relatable customer experience. Although chatbots have existed for a number of years, it is the integration of AI technology that is bringing about a transformational change, making it easier than ever for consumers to reach, engage, and transact through instant commands.
It doesn't matter how much functionality your bot has, it is important to remember that on the other end is a human. This means that a sterile, robotic chatbot can be frustrating, and a great chatbot can create stronger connections with your customers, helping to build brand loyalty. So, humanising your bot becomes ever more important, and here are some ideas to help you do it.
DESIGN YOUR BOT AROUND THE USER
A significant number of bots are designed around basic stock phrases, these limit the user experience and make the flow of the conversation feel unnatural. Bots are now capable of learning from every conversation they have to improve their language skills. If development cost is a concern then it is possible to combine a conversational interface with a button based user interface. But for today’s users the freedom of natural word selection is important and they need to trust that the chatbot will understand.
MAP OUT CONVERSATIONAL FLOWS
During the design phase it is important to map out the conversational flows, this applies to even simple Q&A interactions. When designing these flows think of conversations you have yourself, think about how you might interact with a human being, use localisation, social listening and colloquialisms to shape a chatbot’s language processing around your user. It is also important to feed your chatbot a variety of responses, this creates a more natural conversational flow and allows the chatbot to piece together unique phrases instead of repeating the same key phrases over and over. Bots talking like a broken record can quickly frustrate users.
MAINTAIN CONVERSATIONAL CONTEXT
This is a skill that comes quite naturally to humans but can be quite difficult for bots, and requires significant planning during bot development. However, more context creates more machine empathy which delivers better customer engagement. With permission, your chatbot can also use context to learn more about your user. However privacy is important to users, don’t push it too far and start freaking your customers out.
KEEP IT SHORT AND SWEET
We live in an age of immediacy, and part of the reason your users are interacting with your bot, rather than your phone support, is to find the answers to their questions as quickly as possible. Make it as easy as possible for your customers to find out information and solve their problem. Authentic and engaging chatbots are effective, but customers also want to resolve their issues and get on with the rest of their day. It is a good idea to design quick reply tools and use yes/no options, so that customers can move through the conversation quickly.
GIVE YOUR BOT A NAME
Naming your bot is also a good idea, it helps create a persona, and creating a personality for your bot is a great idea. You should think of your bot as a brand ambassador, and as such imbibe it with the values you want your brand to reflect. Imagine the personality you would love all of your customer service people to have, and build it into your bot. This will make your brand stand out making it memorable for your customers. Their experience should be positive and a quirky, punchy or straight-talking chatbot are just a few of the personality traits you can give a chatbot to help improve an interaction.