How Bots Will Work
Anil M Prabhu
Chat bots are computer programs designed specifically to communicate with users as if it were human. Chat bot is still in its early days and yet a lot of people have stated the chat bots to be replaced web pages.
From an outsider’s perspective, chat bots look extremely simple as it is nothing more than a bunch of decision-based flow charts with predictable outcomes but we beg to differ. We have spent a lot of time in understanding and building our playbook for How Bots Will Work? and this blog is a sneak peak into what we figure as the points of extreme caution in building the chat bots.
- Bots are meant to make life simpler
The bots should be able to lead you to a valuable result with minimal inputs from the user. The bot should be aware, and even anticipate the needs of the user by leveraging previously stored information. Integrations and contextual relevancy are the keys for an experience that saves time, effort and stress with minimum friction, if not for this how are bots better from websites or apps that came before it.
- Start simple and focused
The number of paths the conversation can take increases the potential for dead ends. Every bit of information you show competes with the relevant information thus decreasing the relative visibility of the information. It is better to build a focused chat bot with a clear value proposition rather than filling the container with more than what it can hold and be creating a mess. Chatting with a dumb chat bot is no different than an IVR, Nobody likes it!
- Bots need to be self-explanatory
The bot needs to be designed smartly to incorporate a learning curve for the new users, not only should the bot inform the user of its capabilities but also present with opportunities to explore other features of the bot. You cannot expect a new user to figure everything out on its own.
- Personality makes an impression
The first impression does matter and giving your bot a personality will help you make an impression on your users. There is clear distinction between the content and the delivery, i.e. the what and how. Every business needs to define its relationship with its user and this will define the personality of the bot, for instance, a law firm will have a very professional relationship with its user while a fashion store needs to have more a friendly approach, these personality traits need to be reflected in the bots. If you muss out on this key element, you will have successfully accomplished in creating an unattractive and un-interactive alternate to an application.
- Interaction should be short and simple
Chat bots represent a transition from GUI to no UI, long messages sent to fast are difficult to comprehend and moreover you don’t want your users to have to scroll back up to read the entire messages. Also, the user tends to skim the messages rather than reading it all in case of long messages increasing the chance of missing important communication. Contextual and previously stored information should help shorten the complicated flows and allow repetitive tasks to be done as simply as one click.
- Create a hybrid experience
GUI replaced the text based terminals for a reason, some tasks are simply faster with touch or click. Though most of the users are accustomed to using text for communicating, be it not be efficient for all use cases. Structured information is a very interesting way, however over reliance on structured messages may quickly lose the conversational element and alienate the user into an artificial world. Structured messages can efficiently be used as a guiding tool. For example rather than asking the user to type his response in a ‘yes’ or ‘no’, you can use a structured message with two buttons.
- Suggest the next step
A smart bot should suggest the next steps to the user, this will not only help you steer the conversation in the desired direction but also help users discover additional functionalities. To top it off you plan your flows properly you can avoid bombarding the user with a wall of information and help them move forward. For example, when your bot responds with a confirmation of a travel ticket, that bot can suggest booking of hotel rooms along with it.
- Always reply back
Basic human courtesy is whenever somebody communicates with you, you always respond it might be a simple gesture of acknowledgment or answer to its question, likewise, make it a point that your bot responds to the user input every time or you will never be able to provide a human like an experience to the user. The last conversations by the user not only demand an acknowledgment from the bot, but also present a unique opportunity to upsell or bridge the gap between you and your user by showing you care.
Post Your Comment
Nice article. it was helpful for my report over Google bots.