Hola Bot! Best Practices to follow while designing a chatbot

After decades of buttons on screens, chat bots are offering us a different way of interacting with computers. Powered with Artificial Intelligence (AI), bots are revolutionizing how companies interact with existing and potential customers. 

Some may call chatbots just a trend, but this technology have already positively transformed several sectors, making them a powerful tool in the business world, promising massive revenue. Recent report by Gartner states chat bots will power 85 percent of all customer service interactions by the year 2020. Undoubtedly, they are one of the most popular technology trends for 2018, and today we have compiled a set of best practices to follow while designing a chatbot. 

Human first. Technology second

We are kickstarting this blog with the most obvious point, understanding the end user- they are all that matters, technology can wait. It goes without saying, that all the bells and whistles don’t matter at all if the bot doesn’t serve the needs of the user. Hence, start with real users and real conversations. Pay close attention to the reasons a user might initiate a chat. Play the scenarios that can lead them to initiate a chat and the many ways the bot can respond naturally to specific questions. Build a conversation flow, which will allow to build a full conversation with any type of deviations that occurs and taken into consideration.

Welcome message

As the saying goes, first impression is always the last impression, the saying holds true for chatbots too. Although a welcome message is quite simple, but a user’s first interaction with a chat bot can make or break the success of their chat session and determine whether or not they will be a repeat user. It will be wise not to underestimate the potential of a well-crafted welcome message as it is an opportunity for the chatbot to nicely greet the user. It also helps in setting expectations for what’s to come, it’s usability, and provide essential tips and instructions for optimal use. 

Have a personality

Yes most users are aware that they are chatting with a bot, but that shouldn’t be any reason not to infuse some persona into your bot. Avatars help to create a more friendly feel for the conversation and depending on the context of a chat bot’s use, this concept can even be taken a step further by enhancing the persona by mixing in a little humour with a chatbot, which can yield a subtle boost to the UX without requiring one to roll up their sleeves. 

Be Bot-Obvious

Irrespective of all the technological advances, no bot will ever be 100% human. Rather than confusing and frustrating the users, we suggest being upfront with them. Tell them directly that they’re interacting with a bot. This builds a certain amount of trust at the very beginning and makes them more understanding if things don’t go right. The best way to inform the user is to introduce the bot in the welcome message or put the word ‘bot’ in your Chabot’s name. 

Mind your Language

The kind of language the bot uses while interacting with the user is also critical as it determines how the bot is perceived. Avoid using slangs, technical jargons, generation-specific terminology (known in some parts as “Millennial-speak”), poor grammar and typos which can negatively impact the user experience. We recommend that the chat bot “speak” in a neutral, grammatically correct format using standard punctuation which will be understood by all. 

Hold on…there are few additional rules! 

  • Talk to your target users, instead of your colleagues while designing your chat bot. They might have adequate product knowledge, and chances are you might miss out on most basic elements needed for a conversation that provides value for your users.
  • Avoid importing the FAQ’s as the only means of information. Get creative, get thinking – think of all the strange questions that a user can potentially ask. 
  • If you are designing a chatbot for dashboards, try to personalize them to user specific. 
  • Do not miss out on user testing before setting your bot free.

 To create an enjoyable, immersive and interactive experience for your users talk to our specialized user experience design team to get more insights on our unique process. 

5 Dec, 18 By Naveen Kolhapur

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