Chatbots are great investments that put your valuable time to work. With Artificial Intelligence at the forefront of every anticipated technological development, Chatbots are all the rage for every commercial space looking to make active use of their web presence even as they sleep. Lead generation? Improved customer experience? Increased conversion rates? Employee happiness? Reduced expenses? Chatbots really enable businesses to have it all. So, what's the catch here?
The importance of conversation design and an absolute need to maintain smooth conversation flow is undeniable. Conversation design includes everything from architecting the conversational experience to writing the text to be placed on the buttons. A smooth conversational design will help the user find the experience of speaking to a person and free the actual people behind the stage to put out other fires that may need their attention. While conversational design can definitely benefit in the later stages from Natural Language Processing (NLP), conversation designers need to form a firm foundation to ensure a smooth flow.
So, the question arises. What can conversation designers do to ensure great customer service, close-to-real conversations, enhanced user experience, and help businesses meet their goals? Dear F.R.I.E.N.D.S. here's some advice from experience because unlike Chandler, we're great at it.
Before we jump into designing the conversation and draft the path, the conversational designer should have clarity on the start and endpoints. Background work on questions like what the business process usually looks like, which core function is to be automated to make life easier for both the business and the chatbot user is of utmost significance.
Once the origin and destination points are established, the chatbot design can come to the forefront. The ideal question to ask in this scenario would be what are the main pain points that the bot would resolve for the user. This might give an insight into the ideal dialogue path. Once the base of this conversation, the nodes where the conversation can be split into different directions can be identified and dialogue trees or flow charts can be created to elaborate on the different scenarios. That forms the skeletal structure of different chatbot conversations. This structure will then be developed into a full-fledged chatbot dialogue.
One of the greatest gaps that chatbots reduce is the need for customer executives to answer every single redundant question. For this gap to be traversed, the chatbot script needs to transform not only into a productive conversation but also into a natural conversation experience as though the user were speaking to a real person. Understand your users, the kind of language they speak, the specificities. It is easier to converse when your words already fit in.
Now we know that our chatbot should be able to provide that human experience to the users. One of the first steps you can take while drafting dialogues to stay on that path is to create a personality for the bot. Defining a personality is beneficial in streamlining the writing process in the following ways:
The question on how your bot should ideally talk to your users would find its answer in what your users are the most receptive to. Do you users love jokes, hate quips, speak professionally, appreciate a friendly tone, like sarcasm, watch a particular series, belong to a cult, go horseriding, don't care for gender norms, or even are the complete embodiment of Phoebe Buffay? Know them, and create your bot's personality to appeal to them.
When the conversational tone is something your targeted users can recognize and appreciate, the conversation can sail forward smoothly and, you come one step closer to solving your user's problems. The bot writing should be customized at the first level to sound human, and at a deeper level to sound like a human your users would like to talk to.
Well now, your bot has a great personality and knows the best things to say at the best time possible. Congratulations! But if you dump everything nice you have to say into long paragraphs, your user that most definitely belongs to the world that's used to the 2-second attention span won't care for it.
Communication is not just about the message but also about how you convey it. And how much you keep your user's best interest in mind can make a world of difference. Notice how the speech bubbles behave on different messaging apps like Facebook messenger, WhatsApp, and platforms like slack.
With every new message, the previous message moves upward. So how will you break the conversation into different parts to ensure maximum readability? Timing your replies is also one of the factors that play into this equation. Quick replies will not only hinder readability in this regard but also immediately dissociate the user from the feel of having a natural conversation. Paying attention to these digital nuances can pay back more than you think.
A big part of user retention depends on the user experience and how satisfactory it is. The user should be able to trust the chatbot to be useful and the chatbot writing should be such that it doesn't alienate the users with complicated vocabulary. A simple chatbot can create a great relationship with the users, build trust over repeated efficient sessions, and have high engagement rates. Some ways to simplify the language can be:
A bad user interface that doesn't allow the user to have a smooth conversation or a chat window that distracts the user away from the conversation can fail even a brilliant chatbot script. Particularly in a time when mobile usage is high, one should pay attention to responsive design for the chat window and how this design can enhance the dialogue on different devices. With required visual cues for basic options like send, additional features like emoji reactions, and advanced features like voice-to-text, the writing can greatly benefit.
This attention to detail can increase the impact created by the Chatbot in subtle, but significant
READ: The different benefits and opportunities that Chatbots can create
Whether a chatbot can retain its users or not, greatly depends on how the chatbot is set to handle unanswered questions. Given the limited bot capabilities, the chatbot is bound to hit the wall at some point when it has no answer to one of the user questions. In such a situation, AI capabilities can be of some help if the bot understands the user's intent and further prompts suggestions that the user could find benefit from.
If even that is out of the question, then let the user know. Incomprehensibly speaking to them by saying things like "Item not found", "Error3421", is only going to taint any possible subsequent experience. Make sure to add this situation to the chatbot script and communicate the problem to the user straightaway.
The main purpose of a chatbot is to solve its user's problems. And when it fails to solve one, a human must be available on the line to take it up. It is important that in the situation where the chatbot can't provide a solution, the problem is escalated. Doing so will enable the user to trust your service and consider relying on the chatbot again.
The process of writing for a chatbot is always iterative. There is always scope for improvement. For starters, however, make sure that you seek an outsider's perspective. Testers can help you work out any kinks that you might have not resolved. Conducting multiple tests before and after going live is mandatory for the chatbot's health. Monitor the chatbot's behavior in different conversation scenarios, how it responds to different utterances, and keep improving the script based on these results.
Once the bot goes live, make sure to monitor the analytics section for different metrics and user feedback. A detailed analysis of various conversations, metrics, and user feedback will take the chatbot development process further. In addition to that, always keep an eye out for repetitive questions that find the need to be escalated consistently. You can improve the chatbot's knowledge base by automating the response to these questions.
Analyzing conversations with low feedback score, understanding where your major traffic is coming from, looking at the conversations that needed escalation, are all different pieces of information that can be used to make your chatbot impeccable.
Behind every great consequence created by chatbots is a very efficiently drafted conversation. A well-planned conversation can generate just as many great results as a bad, frustrating conversation can cost you your users. At the end of the day, chatbots have their limitations. While chatbots are planned and designed from a technological standpoint, their conversation design must hold a human-centric point of view.
A well-crafted chatbot conversation is capable of enhancing a well-built Chatbot with the potential to learn well. Right Angle Solutions has known the ins and outs of building a great chatbot, particularly keeping in mind, all the nuances of the game. And in this game, we know how to play for you and win, no matter what your industry and requirements are.
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