Chatbots are contributing to businesses of all kinds from a customer service, marketing, and sales perspective. Aside from proving to be a valuable return on investment, they're allowing companies across the world to automate their processes, thus streamlining their operations for maximum efficiency.
Chatbots didn't start out as intelligent as they are today. The chatbot use to be a bulky, inefficient tool that drove customers mad rather than helping them. Fortunately, the artificial intelligence (AI) that powers them has allowed them to evolve without too much time or monetary investment from the brands implementing them into their business strategies.
That said, despite AI being light years ahead of what it used to be, there are still some simple rules you need to follow if you're wanting to create an effective chatbot for your brand. To help, here are the 10 best practices you should consider when making your chatbot.
1. Start now, not tomorrow.
Chatbots may not be new, but the advancements in the technology that powers them are and it's not going to slow down anytime soon. With that in mind, don't wait until next year to reap the benefits from these ever-improving tools. The fact of the matter is we are still at least a couple of years away from mainstream adoption, and if you can get involved now by experimenting and learning, you'll be at the forefront of it all.
2. Use a professional chatbot development tool.
You can't learn about AI, natural language processing, and machine learning overnight, just as you can't spend the next couple of years researching them in hopes of eventually creating an awesome chatbot.
Hiring a team can be expensive, so why not use a chatbot-building platform, like Chattypeople? With this program, you'll be able to create a chatbot that:
- Supports multiple CMS platforms and business categories
- Integrates with your Facebook Messenger, comments, and posts
- Take orders directly from your social media channels
- Pushes deals, promotions, and offers, on demand
- Integrates with all major payment systems
3. Align with your brand.
Your chatbot is an integral part of your brand. It's not a separate tool that you're adding to the mix; it's more of an important part of your overall sales, marketing, and customer care strategy. As a result, your chatbot needs to align with your brand.
When your audience starts a conversation with your chatbot, it needs to act like a natural part of your brand's experience. Some ways you can make sure your chatbot follows your brand's identity include:
- Using the same color palette as your website and other marketing materials
- Choosing the correct images, videos, and other media
- Following your brand's tone of voice
4. Focus on small, well-defined tasks.
When you first implement your chatbot, you can't expect it to be able to do everything perfectly. Start by focusing on small, yet well-defined tasks. Your chatbot's abilities will hugely depend on the conversations it has with consumers. The more conversations it experiences, the more intelligent it will become.
Consequently, start by creating a chatbot for a specific campaign, for example, a seasonal promotion, a new product or service launch, or for simple customer care activities. If you try and make it too broad, it will most likely not help your audience, maybe even annoying them to the point of losing them as potential leads.
5. Implement your chatbot where your company requires efficiency.
Aside from starting your chatbot off with small and concise tasks, use it to reduce the number of human resources currently assigned to repetitive work tasks. If there's an area of your company that does not require human intelligence to get the job done, why not give the job to a robot and assign those human resources to other, more important jobs that require their intelligence?
Related: Make Chats With Chatbots Work
6. Create the correct onboarding.
To create a chatbot that your audience finds beneficial, you need to start the conversation the right way. The first message your chatbot has with a consumer should lead into a conversation and stop the user from closing the conversation. To do so, your chatbot must:
- Introduce itself and its capabilities
- Show an immediate purpose
- Show a level of personality
- Be quick and concise
- Offer simple, sometimes multiple-choice calls-to-action
7. Monitor and update your chatbot.
Because chatbots and the AI that powers them are still in their infancy, you have to be prepared to monitor, update, and enhance your bot as time progresses. Unfortunately, you can't just create a chatbot and let it roam free. A chatbot learns more and more as time passes, and your company needs to be prepared to keep up with this progress.
To do so, you need to track the appropriate metrics in order to optimize your chatbot on a regular basis. Metrics you should keep an eye on include:
- The total number of users you've reached
- The average duration of each conversation
- The number of sessions you have with each user
- Click-through rates
- The amount of engagement you get from users
- Response time
- Conversation steps
- Retention rates
8. Prepare for disruption.
There are two reasons you need to keep everyone within your company in the loop when it comes to implementing a chatbot:
- They need reassurance that you are not replacing them with technology
- Your chatbot will likely have an impact on their daily work routine
When it comes to the first reason, it's all about telling them that instead of replacing them, you're giving them more time to focus on other tasks. On the other hand, reason number two could have a greater impact on your business. Your chatbot will likely affect every single department within your company.
Your marketing department will have to learn about a new tool. Your sales teams will most likely be faced with new information about buyer personas having to adapt their strategies. Your customer care team will have to focus their effort more on email and telephone assistance. And lastly, your web developers will need to figure out how to fix glitches with your chatbot whenever they arise.
9. Provide human assistance.
Despite your customer service team shifting most of its focus towards telephone and email care, it will still play a vital role when it comes to live chat. No matter how advanced they become, chatbots are still robots and are just as likely to make mistakes. When that happens, they need to have the adequate human backup to take over the conversation. It's also crucial that you don't try and trick your audience into thinking they're speaking with a human rather than a bot.
10. Utilize clear calls-to-action.
Chatbot conversation design is extremely complicated, most notably because consumers are free to say or ask anything they want, in any way they choose. This could include typos, text message dialect, slang, and much more. With all these changing every day, chatbots can't keep up.
Although you won't be able to avoid confusing dialects and other non-traditional forms of communication, you can hone in on your consumers' needs by offering hints. For example, avoid open-ended questions and offer multiple- choice answers. You should also make sure your bot confirms every answer a consumer inputs in order for the conversation to stay on the right tracks.
Chatbots are new to the tech world and getting them right the first time around is virtually impossible. That said, by implementing some of the best practices mentioned above, you'll offer your audience a meaningful experience while learning from their needs, thus enhancing your chatbot over time.