If you’ve ever used Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, IBM’s Watson, or Facebook Messenger to make purchases, schedule reminders, write emails, check the weather, or do research, you’ve used a chatbot.
Although chatbots can’t answer all questions and concerns (they lack emotional intelligence), they can deal with a majority of conversations from customer service and booking appointments to shopping recommendations and making purchases. Your team can save time by letting chatbots control a majority of the chatter and just stepping in when necessary.
When people are chatting with your chatbot, it should feel like they’re having a conversation with someone from your brand – because they are. Is your brand formal and serious or informal and conversational? Your chatbot’s voice should mirror how one of your human team members would chat with a client or customer so it doesn’t feel, well, robotic. Here’s how to create an on-brand conversational style for your ‘bot.
Step 1: Start with introductions
Begin the conversation by saying hello. Assume that the user doesn’t know how to use your chatbot and ensure the first message explains how it functions. If you have a customer service bot, for example, the message could say, “I can help you process your return or exchange, check your order status, or get an item repaired. Please text or speak your message or click a button.” You can change the language to be more or less formal. A more casual modification could be “Hi there! I’d be happy to help you process your return or exchange, check in on your order, or get something fixed. Let’s get started. Text, talk, or tap a button to let me know how I can help.”
Step 2: Set up questions and answers
Because your ‘bot doesn’t have emotional intelligence, you have to create the framework for questions people can ask and responses the chatbot can answer. You can create this similar to how you would create a frequently asked questions guide or messaging matrix. Simply anticipate the most common questions and come up with the responses the chatbot will provide for each.
Step 3: Use leading questions (it’s not a court case)
The conversation will be more efficient and effective if you provide the questions and response options. Let’s say you own a clothing company and want to use the chatbot as a virtual sales associate. After the introduction, you can ask a series of questions and provide a series of answers that narrow down how to help the person make a purchase. Think of it as a Choose Your Own Adventure, where each answer leads to the next appropriate question. For example, if “What are you shopping for?” is the first question, the answers could be men’s clothes or women’s clothes. You can make the answers into buttons that people can click instead of speaking or typing a response. The next question might be “What do you want to buy?” and the answers could be shirts, jackets, pants, skirts, dresses, shoes, or accessories.
Step 4: Make the conversation feel real
When you’re coming up with the questions and responses, don’t forget to make the conversations feel human-like and personable by including humor or colloquial terms. Let’s say someone is using a chatbot to book a blowout, manicure and pedicure, and makeup session. The chatbot could help people pre-select styles or packages from a lookbook, find and book an available appointment, sync the time to their calendars, and get text reminders before the appointment. Throughout the conversation, the voice and tone could be fun and on-brand. Instead of saying, “Your booking is confirmed,” it could say, “We can’t wait to get you red carpet-ready! XO!”
Use Fiverr to BYOB (Build Your Own Bot). Have you chatted with a chatbot? Sound off in the comments to tell us about your experience!