In this article, we provide 14 chatbot best practices to help executives from varieties of industries derive a better ROI from their chatbot implementation.
1. Identify your target audience and understand their needs
Improving customer experience is the first reason why most companies are deploying a chatbot. You should understand who your customers are. This will enable you to create relevant conversation flows including FAQs and special offers.
2. Restrain your ambition and set realistic goals
The scope of your chatbot is crucial. Even Facebook M’s general-purpose answering machine got shut down. So if even Facebook does not want to handle chatbot queries in any context, then maybe you do not too.
Widening the scope of chatbot is positively related with the:
- AI hardware you use/have.
- Training data set you use/have.
- Quality of training data you use (labeling, cleaning and structuring quality etc.).
Therefore whether you build an inhouse chatbot or work with a vendor to build one for you, you need to first get an as-is picture of your infrastructure. Such a perspective helps your company to identify the most optimal deployment areas of the chatbot.
Our articles on chatbot applications and industry/business function-specific chatbot use cases can help you identify a specific focus area for your bot.
3. Select the right platform for your needs
There are numerous Natural Language Platform vendors that provide APIs with varying degrees of strengths and weaknesses. We have prepared a sortable list of the top chatbot-building platforms in this article. .
4. Ensure your chatbot is easy to reach
Customers of today expect quick responses to their requests and, if the chatbot is inaccessible, they might switch vendors. Therefore, AIMultiple recommends companies that the chatbot you deploy should be easily reachable on your website or mobile application.
Deploying chatbots on both platforms is a smart move, especially if your traffic is split between online and mobile.
Another method for your firm to leverage chatbots is to use pop-up windows. By doing this, you may make sure that your virtual customer service representative is easily reachable.
5. Make sure your chatbot has a character
A live person would triumph over a chatbot in terms of customer satisfaction. A study shows that almost 55% of the time, people prefer to interact with another human rather than a chatbot. However, a PwC survey reveals that over 30% of clients are unable to tell the difference between a chatbot and a real person.
You can further enhance the friendliness and realness of your chatbot by giving it a name, profile picture, etc. This can increase consumer engagement for your business.
Torn between writing the word “yes” and pressing the “yes” button, choosing the latter makes more sense. Using buttons in your chatbot helps with usability.
Users should be able to navigate easily while interacting with the bot. Using buttons and quick replies is the easiest way to enable navigation and flow. This improves your bot’s overall user experience along with reducing fallback rates.
These are the best practices for deploying buttons in your chatbot:
- Don’t provide too many options: Specifically, if you are interested in sales chatbots, multiple product offers get 266% fewer leads than single offers.
- Use fewer words in quick replies: Keeping it simple prevents users from reading and writing too much during the conversation so that they don’t lose interest.
- Create context-based relevant buttons: Users should not face a scenario where they see a button without any idea of what it leads to.
7. Provide users an easy exit
One of the chatbot failure cases is the one where the chatbot doesn’t accept “no” as an answer. For instance, the WSJ bot failed because it wasn’t understanding the unsubscribe command.
To solve this problem, you can add a visible exit button that says something like “Unsubscribe,” or “End the call,” and perform a usability test to see whether the button works or not. Usability testing is critical for bot improvement.
8. Use creative fallback responses
When your chatbot fails, it’s better to respond tactfully rather than messages that look like a 404 error. You should focus on and spend time deciding how the bot will interact with the user when it cannot respond to the user query.
86% of users expect that chatbots should always have an option to transfer to a live agent. It is always best to give what users want.
Though businesses are deploying chatbots rapidly, chatbots are still considerably new to users, and trusting a bot (specifically if the user had a bad experience with a bot before) may deteriorate a customer’s experience. Therefore, at least for now, you should expect your chatbot to augment your customer service rather than completely replace them.
10. Enable users re-engage with chatbot when needed
After the conversation ends and the chatbot has provided the information to the user that he/she was looking for, you provide the option to restart the bot to re-engage with the chatbot if needed.
11. Ask users about their experience
Collecting feedback from users is one of the conversion rate optimization best practices. If your aim is to maximize the user experience for better customer conversion, asking users to rate their experience and provide additional feedback will help you understand problems and how to improve the bot.
12. Use Chatbot Analytics to assess chatbot success.
Close attention to user behavior can help identify unintended behavior of the chatbot and improve its functionality. Therefore, we recommend to use chatbot analytics such as:
- Total users
- Engaged users
- New users
- Number of missed messages
- Retention rate
- Bounce rate and more.
To learn more about chatbot analytics you can read our The Ultimate Guide Into 22 Metrics for Chatbot Analytics article.
13. Test your chatbot
The best way of detecting bugs and non functionalities is rigorous testing. Therefore, we recommend businesses to conduct:
- A/B tests,
- Understanding the intent tests,
- Limit tests,
- Domain specific test and more.
To learn more about chatbot testing you can read our Chatbot Testing: A/B, Auto, & Manual Testing article.
14. Work with experts
You can work with digital transformation consultants to enhance the probability of successful deployment. By assessing your business specific conditions they can figure out your real pain points for your digital transformation journey . And thanks to their observations on your company, experience and theoretical background they can provide specific best practices for you like changing your corporate culture for instance.
You can also read our digital transformation best practices article to find generic recommendations for your transformation process.
For more on chatbots
If you want to learn more about chatbots, read:
- The Ultimate Guide to The Top 14 Benefits of Chatbots
- Top 60 Chatbot Companies: In-Depth Guide
- Top 10 Free Chatbot Limitations & When to Switch to a Paid One
Finally, if you still have questions on chatbots, feel free to contact us:
Cem has been the principal analyst at AIMultiple since 2017. AIMultiple informs hundreds of thousands of businesses (as per similarWeb) including 60% of Fortune 500 every month.
Cem's work has been cited by leading global publications including Business Insider, Forbes, Washington Post, global firms like Deloitte, HPE, NGOs like World Economic Forum and supranational organizations like European Commission. You can see more reputable companies and media that referenced AIMultiple.
Throughout his career, Cem served as a tech consultant, tech buyer and tech entrepreneur. He advised businesses on their enterprise software, automation, cloud, AI / ML and other technology related decisions at McKinsey & Company and Altman Solon for more than a decade. He also published a McKinsey report on digitalization.
He led technology strategy and procurement of a telco while reporting to the CEO. He has also led commercial growth of deep tech company Hypatos that reached a 7 digit annual recurring revenue and a 9 digit valuation from 0 within 2 years. Cem's work in Hypatos was covered by leading technology publications like TechCrunch and Business Insider.
Cem regularly speaks at international technology conferences. He graduated from Bogazici University as a computer engineer and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.
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