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Tips for improving chatbot design and functionality

When building a chatbot, the overriding aim is to develop a system that closely replicates and simulates human conversation, while driving engagement and customer satisfaction. However, developing such as system that meets each of these expectations can prove challenging for many companies, especially during the early stages of the development process.

For this task, together with the backend technicalities that enable a chatbot to successfully function, organizations also need to consider those factors that will engage the user, such as tone, word choice, graphics, inflection of the voice, plus presentation style. In addition, these factors are not necessarily universal for they must resonate with their key customer base.

According to Raj Patil, CEO of Orion, aligning a chatbot with the brand personality and promise is one of the important facets of maintaining continuity, influencing the customer experience, and facilitating or accelerating the overall customer experience.

Patil has presented Digital Journal with seven factors he recommends clients consider when planning a new chatbot. The first is to “define a clear objective: Start with a clear understanding of what the bot should do mechanically and emotionally and what you want those interacting with the bot to think, feel and accomplish.”

Second, Patil writes, it is important to “contextualize the role in CX strategy: Imagine what level of curiosity, angst, or confusion users might face as they interact with the bot and plot the most likely use cases accordingly.”

The third area is the need to “focus on brand alignment: A chatbot is an extension of your brand, so should reflect brand values and brand personality.”

The fourth point relates to visual impact. With this, Patil writes: “Choose graphics purposefully: Find the right images to create immediate recognition and interaction, but also make users aware they’re not talking or texting with a human being.”

Fifth, it is useful to “scope the FAQs: Since most brands can anticipate or measure the 20 most asked questions, that’s a good place to start, keeping in mind that there are probably 3-4 ways to ask these same questions.”

Sixth, is based around planning the experience. Here Patil states: “imagine and role play the conversation with the idea of finding the hiccups or sticking points, plan on creating short, snappy, snackable responses that inform and educate users, and make it easy to bail out for any and all reasons.”

The seventh and final aspect concerns choosing the right voice. For this, Patil suggests: “Male, female, neutral, mechanical or cartoon-y voices trigger stored perceptions and emotions. Choose carefully in line with the attitudes and expectations of your client base.”

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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