10 Best Practices for Building Conversational Chatbots

January 25, 2019

Anand Kannan

10 Best Practices for Building Conversational Chatbots

Chatbots are all the rage today, thanks to the unparalleled customer engagement they deliver. Businesses utilizing this digital innovation are growing at breakneck speed.

The most fascinating aspect of a chatbot is the engagement created with users through smart and lively conversations. But remember, not all businesses have a right strategy for creating bot conversations and poorly trained bots can lead to dissatisfied customers.

This necessitates the significance of building bots that deliver positive experiences to users.

If are you looking for the best practices for building conversational chatbots then you’re at the right place.

Here are some interesting tips for creating a compelling bot conversation that will help your business engage better with customers.

Before kick starting the discussion, here’s a sneak peek on chatbots’ growth and its importance.

The rise of chatbots

From the above infograph the growth of chatbots across industries is massive and expected to skyrocket in the years to follow.

What is a chatbot

A Vchatbot is a computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users, especially over the Internet. Throughout the ages, they’ve been called virtual assistants, conversational agents, and virtual humans.

Broken down into its individual components, a modern chatbot has 4 parts: a natural language processor (NLP) , dialog manager, the content itself and custom integrations or external data.

Chatbots for customer engagement

  • According to a study, 8 of 10 businesses have adopted to or plan for chatbot implementation by 2020.
  • Another study reveals that 15% of customers prefer interacting with chatbots.

The statistics and infograph above reveals that including chatbots to the customer engagement strategy will supercharge business growth and ROI.

The significance of having a defined bot copy etiquette and strategy

Before we can talk about conversation strategy, it is a must to understand why building a bot with a definite content plan is critical for improving customer engagement and retention.

Here’s an example of a bad and good user–bot interaction.

Good bot vs bad bot (conversation)

Chatbot conversation 1: Bad

Bot: Hi

User: I want to fly to London from Charlotte tomorrow

Bot: I’m sorry I don’t understand. Can you rephrase the question?

In the bad interaction example above, the user is stranded (bot not trained for that question), and this might force him/her to discontinue the chat.

Chatbot conversation 2: Good

Bot: Hi, welcome to British Airways.

User: I want to fly to London from Charlotte tomorrow

Chatbot: Sounds, great. I can help. Can provide more information on your name, email address, passport details?

User: Sure, here you’ve.

On the other hand, the second illustration shows the bot engaging with the user through prompt responses.

It’s not about interacting with users but keeping them informed at each step of interaction and directing them to perform subsequent actions as disengaged users bounce out of conversation in no time. Building conversation bots with a well-thought out strategy is a must for earning user’s trust.

From the above discussion, it goes without saying that adopting to a strategy while creating a chatbot is crucial. The sections below will help you create virtual assistants that deliver positive experiences to users.

Chatbot copy etiquette for creating interactive and intelligent chatbots

The demand for creating intelligent conversations is on the rise and Artificial Intelligence powered chatbots have become imperative choices for achieving that.

Here’re some of the best practices for creating interactive and intelligent bots that smartly respond to customers’ questions.

Creating a simple yet effective copy

Even before creating a copy, it is critical to understand who the target audience is and what they want!

A user might ask a question in different ways. Creating an effective dialog for a complex question can be a nightmare to bot conversation writers. However, it is imperative to get users glued to the conversation.

Users never prefer reading long and complex paragraphs from your bot. All they need is a simple answer that they can skim through and understand. Create a copy with simple yet action-oriented words to eliminate the complexity and get the users hooked to the bot.

chatbot conversation

Here are some interesting tips for bot copy development.

  • Use crisp and concise sentences with a lot of white space.
  • Use single syllable words so that any user can visualize easily.
  • Reduce character count so the user can understand the sentence without any discomfort.
  • Cut the jargons and acronyms.
  • Show one message at a time.

Connecting, empathizing, and engaging with visitors

Speak your customer’s language.

The bot should understand and respond to users based on their mood to keep them engaged. Empathizing with customers will improve their trust on your brand and make repeat customers.

Starting & closing a conversation strong

Start the conversation strong. Greet the user with “Hi, Hello” etc. Ask about their welfare: “How was the day? How are you doing? or Good morning!” etc.

Similarly, finish the conversation strong with nice greetings like “Have a nice day.”; “Good bye visit us again” etc. to create an amazing experience to your users.

Recognizing repeat users

Just think of someone calling you by name or greeting you with a hi or hello: which format do you prefer? Obviously the first one, right!

Everyone loves a personalized approach and being called by their name will make your users happy and excited.

Train your bot in such a way that it recognizes repeat users and calls them by their names to connect emotionally for establishing a long lasting relationship.

Asking for more information

To provide a fitting answer to a question, it is always better to ask for more information from your user. Chatbots have a lot of information stored and through the user contact details, lots of new information can be shared. This adds more value to customers and improves their trust with your brand.

Ease of access

Direct users with clear CTAs to access data. Give them no room for guessing with the specific next step of action you want them to do.

This way you can help your users achieve what they want, and your business will retain the customers.

Build a humble bot

Everyone makes mistakes and so can bots. Your bot can’t be trained instantly for all questions and there might be instances where your bot may not understand or answer a question.

In such conditions, it is better to admit defeat. Answers like “I’m sorry I can’t understand your question. Could you please rephrase?” will help.

Responding to resolved vs unresolved queries

There can be 2 scenarios.

  1. The bot can be trained to help a first time customer complete a successful purchase.
  2. In case if the product/service they look for is out of stock or unavailable, you can train the bot to recommended (up- or cross-sell) with latest products/advanced technology based on their preferences. By this way, your bot will be able to engage both types of customers.

Using Emojis

Emojis are a wonderful addition to make a conversation lively, yet have to be handled carefully. Using emojis often can spoil the entire conversation. Specifically, B2B businesses have to avoid emojis in chats to maintain a professional touch.

Answering unexpected queries

Even the best trained bots will struggle to answer some tricky questions from users. However, training the bot with a witty copy for such circumstances can still save the day for your business. Keep the copy humble and professional but try to divert the user to the core topic during irrelevant queries from users.

Having a bot conversation strategy and etiquette is essential for building digital assistants that captivate users, engage and convert to potential customers.

Looking for expert advice to get started with your first-ever conversational chatbot? Wait no further!

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