How to Design a Chatbot?

Parth Shrivastava May 17, 2020

Chatbots, AI and machine learning are the technologies of the decade. With the advent of better computational powers and sophisticated algorithms, we have seen a surge in their usage. They have come out from the research labs and are now a part of our everyday life.

When the technologies go from labs to business and consumers, that's where the essentiality of design kicks in. A poorly designed chatbot will do more harm than good for your business. Often, it's not the technology but the design that plays a more prominent role in the success of a chatbot.

In this post, we'll learn how to design a chatbot that doesn't just serve the purpose but also improves overall customer experience.

Things to keep in mind while designing a chatbot

Though there are many aspects to keep in mind while designing a chatbot, here's a list of essential ones.

Have the end goal in mind

Before you start with anything, you need to have a clear end goal(s) in mind. Do you want to provide answers to their questions? Technical or generic? Do you want to qualify the visitors coming to your websites and pass on to the sales team? Improve customer onboarding and experience? All of those?

A clear goal in mind will help you create a persona, write a suitable script, and decide which level of tech sophistication you'd like to have.

Your industry

The industry which you cater to affects the design language of your product. It's the same for your chatbot. When you design your chatbot, you need to make sure it speaks the language your users are comfortable with. It should follow the industry's best practices of presentation.

For example, the appearance and style change significantly for B2B vs. B2C. Consider the sheer volume of incoming user queries in B2C. You'd like your chatbot to be equipped with lots of prequalification, buttons, contextual understanding, etc. which help in faster resolution. You can go deeper by segmenting further into verticals such as e-commerce, SaaS, or banking.

Your product and customers

While the industry is much broader, your product and customers narrow it down further to help you design the chatbot better. Is your product for baby boomers or millennials? Do they like occasional puns or are serious about the business? Is your product reflect a trendy tone (say colorful or funky) or is it dead serious (say medical diagnosis)?

Your customer's perception of your brand and your portrayal play a crucial role in designing the chatbot.

Define the personality

A defined and suitable personality is very critical to the design of chatbot. Your chatbot's character should mirror that of your customer. This makes your customer comfortable during the conversation and increases engagement.

For example, we, at Kommunicate, designed our Liz chatbot's character that is an accurate representation of our ideal customers to mimic human interactions.

Write scripts that match the personality of your chatbot

Proper chatbot scripts or dialogues are as necessary as the tech behind it. Don't be shy to experiment here. Make sure that your script reflects the attributes of chatbot's personality. Are they witty or formal? Chatty or to-the-point? Funny or serious? Casual or official?

Additionally, don't shy away from using emojis. Emojis are trendy, loved by millennials, and expressive. Emojis are an integral part of messaging apps; you'd like to mimic that experience through your chatbots as well. Basically, speak the language they speak.

Note that, please keep the tone consistent throughout the script. Even if you need to address issues of different types, make sure that the tone is consistent, friendly, and accommodative.

Small talk is vital

You'd be surprised to know how many people ask casual questions to your chatbot. "How are you?" "Are you a chatbot?" "Tell me a joke." "How are you?" and innumerable more.

Make sure your chatbots are capable of handling small talks. If the conversation breaks on these trivial things or the chatbot is unable to answer - that becomes a turn off for your users. Which effectively compounds your drop off rates.

Rich messaging equals better customer experience

Nowadays, plain text is not enough. You need interactive elements such as buttons, cards, lists, and forms.

What it does is:

  • Provides a quick and efficient way for the customer to navigate through conversation
  • Visual appealing and actionable
  • Removes the possibility of errors and intent mismatch due to misspellings

Escalation and smooth handoff

The AI is not smart enough yet. The chatbots are as intelligent as you can make them. They are bound to fail at some point or the other. Hence, the chatbot to human handoff becomes an often undermined but immensely critical aspect. Look at the image below:

You'd like your chatbot to be smart enough and articulate a smooth transition to humans for escalated issues. This not only provides a seamless customer experience but also ensures that the customer is notified that someone will answer their query soon.

Humanize your chatbots

As we discussed previously, chatbots should mimic humans (your customers) in interaction. Hence, it is crucial to put a few elements that humanize your chatbots.

Bots replies are instantaneous since it fires an answer as soon as the intent is matched. Having a typing indicator and slight delays in messages which make the interaction more human-like.

You would also like the chatbot to be able to have a contextual understanding. Suppose if a customer is talking about an issue. The conversation gets waivered, but she replies with a follow up of our original problem. In this case, your chatbot should remember the context and provide relevant answers and not behave like a headless chicken.

Wrapping Up

These were some of the most important aspects to keep in mind while designing a chatbot. Since we have made significant progress on the technology behind the chatbots, it's high time we pay attention to the design of it as well.

Written by Parth Shrivastava

Parth has an in-depth understanding of all things B2B marketing. Currently leading product and inbound marketing at Kommunicate, Parth has a knack for developing and executing sustainable marketing strategies. Whenever he is not marketing a product, you can find him writing poetry and essays, reading books, or playing football.

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