The current business world is extremely contentious. Now, meeting your clients’ expectations is not enough. You need to exceed them to stand out in the crowd.
If your customers are surfing the web at 4 A.M. in the morning with a fiery issue regarding your company, they await you to respond to it.
Usual working hours don’t matter a lot in the online world. What matters a lot is the way you handle the queries of your clients regarding your business.
If you can’t provide the customer with the solutions they are looking for, someone else will!
However, before hiring staff to work in the graveyard shift, there is a simple and effective solution – Chatbots.
Designing a chatbot is like whipping coffee; it always requires the exact ingredients to prepare it, but slight variations to the method can change the entire outcome.
However, a recent study has revealed that 60% of participants state that bots are disappointing when it comes to solving their concerns, and that they prefer human support over bot to solve their queries. The concerns are genuine but, possibly, this judgment can be corrected.
We will show you a few things you need to consider while designing a chatbot for your organization, which can satisfy the needs of your business and clients.
1Identify your bot’s goal
It’s very crucial to determine the ultimate goals of your chatbot before starting its designing process. And if you are not sure about your bot’s purpose, then you need to rethink if you actually need one.
Here are a few reasons to choose chatbots for your business:
- They save your time and effort, as well as human resources for qualitative jobs
- Automate your client support process for related inquiries
- Enhance your brand value with minimum effort
- Affordable development cost
- Better user interaction
- Easy to use
First, set the goals of your chatbot. Is it for generating leads for your logo design company? Possibly for scheduling appointments? Responding to commonly asked questions? There is no limit!
The more specific the goal, the clearer it will be to both design your bot and analyze its progress. Users are preferring your bot for only one purpose – to get a solution for their problems. Set your goals around the queries of your users, so it becomes easy for you to handle their needs.
2Choose between a rule-based and NLP platform
After establishing the goals of your chatbot, it’s time to decide how to design your bot. Most of the chatbot platforms mark their bots with AI tags, regardless if they actually apply clever self-learning algorithms or just cling to normal IF-THEN metrics.
So, you will have two options while choosing a designing platform for your chatbots – “NLP” and “rule-based”. These define how adaptable and smart your chatbot works within a discussion.
A rule-based bot responds according to specified decision trees. Similar to a flowchart, discussions are planned out to predict what a client might request and how the bot should answer.
For example, if a customer input includes words like ‘shop’ or ‘buy’, then send them a message with a list of products.
NLP bots or Natural Language Processing bots are capable of assuming the context even when problems are more complicated. Moreover, their capability to learn from their mistakes help them to develop greater efficiency.
Presently, rule-based bots are a cheaper, quicker, and more efficient option. Furthermore, transparency regarding their function range encourages users to engage efficiently.
3Understand your customers and their input
While designing a bot, it’s really important to keep your customers in mind. What type of technical skills do they hold? Do they have time to use self-help? What kind of conversation do they prefer?
Do they want to keep it sober or casual? User choices are one face of a coin. The other face is the real user input and facts. What type of information do you need to provide in chatbot conversation?
Will users need to type the query or just select from the available options? If they need to type the query, then which language do they use?
It’s completely up to you how you want your user to interact with bot. According to a survey conducted, people want to see a company’s logo as a bot icon. Now coming back to basics, your logo should be attractive so it can connect with users. AI-powered tools such as Designhill can generate a user-friendly logo within fraction of minutes.
4Identify the limitations and drawbacks of your platform
After deciding the preferred platform for your bot, you need to figure out the drawbacks and limitations of your platform.
Most of the rule-based platforms are based on multiple choice, without the opportunity to write unique answers.
You can guide the conversation in a particular direction through this platform, but you can’t compose proper answers to problems that may be asked during the conversation.
Moreover, a few platforms require input questions and their responses in a coded form, which needs knowledge and interest in coding to enjoy using them.
So, it’s better to select a thoroughly-tested platform as it has come along with comprehensive documentation on facilities and tools.
Furthermore, you can join various online communities and forums to know more about your platform. These platforms will help you in troubleshooting your issues effectively and quickly.
5Set the tone and personality
Your bot represents your organization and it’s usually the first one that interacts with your clients. Consequently, it’s essential to set the tone of communication that matches your brand value.
You can treat your bot as your digital employee and even enhance your brand image by providing it a friendly persona.
A recent study has revealed that users favor bots with human traits. A personalized and friendly answer by the bot can make your users’ chatting experience more positive.
Siri by Apple is one of the best examples of a humorous chatbot. It’s a sweet and friendly character initiated by the organization.
However, don’t impose humor unnecessarily to audiences that don’t want those features. A simplistic, helpful, and friendly bot is the best option for several brands.
6Maintain a simple conversation flow
Bots can be used to perform repetitive tasks where a simple and specified flow has been established. If you are trying to design a self-learn or self-aware chatbot, then you are destined to fail as such advanced technology has not yet arrived.
So, it’s important to include very specific topics that relate to the goals you have established for your chatbot. The more complex and branched out the discussion is, the greater the risk that it will become grouchy.
If a bot usually asks indefinite questions like “what do you want to search?”, such type of conversation can turn into a guessing game.
The customer will get confused in deciding what a bot can do, and the bot will also get confused in presuming what the user expected.
However, using prompts on your website can help showcase the abilities of your bot. You can set a clickable menu or present recommended solutions, so there will be no confusion or doubt.
Furthermore, the clickable menus or elements will save time, as well as the efforts of the users.
8Allow an easy shift from chatbot to human assistance
A bot can’t handle every possible question, particularly when it comes to criticisms or unusual cases. That’s when a human assistant comes into the picture.
A frustrated user prefers human assistance to resolve the issue. So, while designing your bot, make it simple so it can switch from chatbot to human assistant.
The most sensible alternative is to combine the chatbot platform with your live chat platform to make conversation handovers quick, easy, and simple.
9Perform quality checks at the early stage
No matter how hard you try, there are a lot of things that are impossible to predict during the planning or designing phase.
If you start testing in the early phase, you will notice the places where the chatbot is lacking, even before the launch of the bot.
Furthermore, you will need a Live testing feature to perform this test. You can test every conversation or story created in the chatbot internally before its launch.
You need to ensure that it works as expected before users can use it for queries.
10Maintain a balance among reactive and proactive
Chatbots can work as smart promoters for your brand. They can encourage users to begin a conversation regarding promotions and deals.
For example, after a user stayed on a webpage for more than 30 seconds, a bot can proactively prompt a message for a user stating – “Hey, just want you to know that today we are offering free shipping to the users on every order. Want a promo code?”
Or, you can share special deals with them. For example, a bot can prompt “Hey, we have designer sarees on sale? Click here to see.”
However, if you are planning to apply a proactive approach, it’s ideal to place the pop up in an unobtrusive place. According to research, the bottom right corner is the best place for it.
Furthermore, a human brain browses a page from top left to bottom right. So, it’s a good chance to showcase your products and services after your user has approved your chatbot’s assistant.
Looks Salesy and Clingy, Right?
That’s why it’s important to maintain a balance between replying to a user’s requirements and providing a complete service experience.
For example, if a bot is helping a user to find a new study table, but then the bot starts promoting fancy furniture, then obviously a user gets frustrated. The products are relevant, but not helpful for users. As mentioned, there needs to be a balance to avoid this.
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11Author: Alice Jackson
Alice Jackson is a blogger and Digital Marketing Consultant at a crowdsourcing company, Designhill. She is a social media enthusiast, online market analyst, amateur designer and an avid author. She has written on several topics including social media marketing, content marketing, designing trends, startup strategies, and e-commerce. When not writing, she loves spending her time reading romantic novels.