Contrary to popular belief, new forms of communication are welcomed enthusiastically by the users. They frequently engage in conversation with chatbots which are capable of responding to the questions in a rapid fashion. That is why virtual assistants generate so much interest in the business world. Having the customer satisfaction in mind, a considerable number of companies offers innovative solutions which—in theory—should be met with a positive reception. However, everyone designing customer-friendly chatbots should follow a few simple rules.
Customers who interact with a chatbot are of crucial importance to the brand. Who are they? What are their interests? What do they do professionally? Without this information, the designing process cannot even begin. Thus, starting with a thorough analysis of the target group’s expectations is highly recommended.
First and foremost, the virtual assistant must be able to predict how it's messages are interpreted by the users receiving them. Everyone wants to be treated seriously and, at the same time, feel that they and their opinions matter. Consequently, the provided content should not—under any circumstances—influence their well-being, much less self-esteem. It is also worth bearing in mind the multitude of views, differences of opinion, or the uneven level of knowledge, competency, and skills of the audience of specific content.
The First Impression Effect
The view that we are perceived on the basis of the very first few seconds of a conversation is widely adopted among psychologists. The same goes for chatbots which should gain the sympathy of the user. For this reason, optimistic chatbots should be designed in such a way as to bring pleasant thoughts to the users’ mind.
A chatbot can be a charismatic woman or a man with a sophisticated sense of humor, a colorful creature which makes everyone who converses with it to break into a smile, or even an eye-catching graphic element. It is best to give it a distinctive name which is easy to remember and neatly fits into the style of the brand. The chatbot’s character and its manner of communication are equally important. Apart from engaging in conversations with users, the virtual assistant should also share its thoughts and make opinions on the discussed subject—demonstrating unshakable optimism and ensuring great interlocutor satisfaction while doing so. The exchange should resemble a considerate, highly engaging conversation, from which the sought information can be obtained. Answers provided by the bot must be precise and understandable without evoking any negative emotions. Needlessly long messages or waffling are out of the question.
Unfortunately, sometimes a conversation with a chatbot goes in the wrong direction, making the users confused. In order to avoid such situations, it is necessary to develop auxiliary solutions, enabling swift reactions when required. After all, prevention is better than a cure.
Already at this stage, it is best to consider these types of traps which can lurk in the proverbial corner. The most frequently indicated traps are:
- a sudden end of the conversation,
- a discrepancy in the provided information,
- the inability to go back to the previous message,
- no connection to the main menu,
- delivering the same, vague messages.
What can be done to prevent users from falling down these traps? It’s really simple. Before providing the user with the tool, you should perform not just one but several tests, ensuring with a great degree of certainty that everything works as planned.
The Power Lies in Words
Apart from being an attentive listener, an effective chatbot must be able to make direct and unconstrained contact with the interlocutor. That is why its natural, open, and informal nature is particularly important. The factor increasing the chance of the project’s success is also the linguistic fluency which can help—in the long-run—with building a lasting relation with a client.
A chatbot should:
- use words that are well known to the interlocutor,
- use keywords associated with the brand,
- build straightforward, simple sentences with short words,
- apply a minimal number of characters in a single message.
A chatbot should not:
- send multiple messages at once to a single interlocutor,
- use specialized terminology,
- use slang and regionalisms,
- create a hostile atmosphere.
As it was already established, the users are the focal point when designing a chatbot and writing the conversation flow. It’s the precision of the messages and the simplicity in use that determine the success of the virtual assistant. However, using tested content published by the competition as an inspiration might not bring the expected results, and even may discourage users from using the chatbot. It means that the messages must be consistent, natural and, most importantly, must facilitate the increase in the interest in the brand.
With each passing year, the virtual consultants attract new users whose demands are getting more and more challenging. Most significantly, they hope that their problems will be solved as quickly as possible. Interestingly, the conversation itself and the style in which it is kept bear increasingly more meaning. Users expect absolute engagement and understanding. At the same time, they want to feel comfortable. For this reason, designing the persona of a chatbot is getting more attention since, ultimately, the virtual assistant ought to be natural, charismatic, and trust-worthy.
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