AI bots have quickly come to represent the gold standard of cutting-edge customer service in recent years. Fuelled by powerful artificial intelligence (AI), these online robots are capable of doing the work of friendly customer support representatives, sales reps and even marketers. What’s more, they’re available 24/7 and allow businesses to slash their operating costs. 

How much control do business representatives have over a bot conversation?

Of course, custom bots do not have a mind of their own and require considerable programming before they’re unleashed on potential customers. You may wish to opt for an AI bot or a rule-based bot that has been programmed to answer specific questions in a way predetermined by marketing professionals. A rules-based bot may suffice if you run a small business that doesn’t involve complex interactions with customers. However, we recommend adopting an AI bot as they tend to be more sophisticated and will respond to a wide range of questions and problems. 

Regardless of whether you opt for an AI bot or a rules-based machine, you must spend time on your conversational design. The quality of a bot conversation can significantly alter a customer’s perception of your company, potentially encouraging them to invest in your goods and services. The more tailored, personable, and human-like your bot, the better your customer satisfaction rates are likely to be. 

So, how can you create AI bot conversations your clients will love? We’ve put together some handy tips to get you started:

1. Consider the goals of your customers

Before you start writing conversations for your AI bot, you must define the goals of your business and its users. Bots can be used to fulfil a range of different purposes, including:

  • Providing information about key goods and services
  • Boosting sales through product recommendations
  • Learning more about your customers to refine your marketing strategy
  • Increasing web traffic
  • Providing customer support services, referring clients to human representatives where necessary
  • Entertaining customers while they wait for a human member of your support team
  • Solving simple account issues (e.g. helping customers reset their account passwords)

You may choose to use your AI bot for any number of these reasons. Just remember that the more helpful you want your AI bot to be, the more time you will need to spend crafting conversations. 

2. Think about the tone of your brand’s voice

The tone of a bot can significantly impact a customer’s experience with your brand. Obviously, crafting a universally liked bot is almost impossible, as each customer will have their own needs and expectations. However, you should try to appeal to the vast majority of your key demographic. For example, if you’re creating a bot for a high-end banking firm, the tone should be polite, firm, and authoritative to demonstrate your brand’s professionalism and reliability. If, on the other hand, you run an e-commerce site for kid’s toys, your bot can afford to be a little more playful and familiar with parents.  

3. Create a proactive bot

Bots are only useful if web users are alerted to their presence. A proactive bot will begin a conversation, informing users of how to begin a conversation and ensure that their needs are met. Writing a friendly and engaging introductory message is a great place to start when programming a custom bot.

4. Consider common questions

Designing a conversation that flows well is very challenging. Fortunately, an AI bot will get better after it has gone live, gathering information about your customers’ needs, adapting to the idiosyncrasies of everyday language, and learning to respond effectively to common problems. However, in the initial stages of its rollout, you will need to design your bot to interact with customers in a way that flows and solves problems. Responses to initial customer enquiries could include:

  • Multiple-choice questions
  • ‘Who?’, ‘what?’, ‘when?’, ‘where?’, and ‘why?’ questions
  • Questions that can be responded to with ‘yes’ or ‘no’
  • Referrals to helpful FAQ pages

Try to avoid rhetorical questions or ambiguous responses. Customers may not know how to answer and could end up frustrated.

5. Try to lead the conversation

Remember that customers can type anything they like into your AI bot and, if they feel that their questions aren’t being answered adequately, may start to get annoyed. In this way, your bot must take control of the conversation, leading the customer down a helpful path and offering hints about how they can help. 

Let’s say, for example, you run a business offering quick language courses. A question such as “What language would you like to learn?” could be accompanied by the statement: “We offer French, Spanish, Italian, German, Portuguese, and Mandarin.” You could even add buttons to make the question quicker and easier to answer.

6. Confirm receipt of valid answers

Confirming that you have logged a user’s answer and prompting them with any other relevant questions will ensure that the conversation does not reach a dead end. If you are unable to help with a request, ensure that they know where to turn next. You could suggest that they visit your FAQ pages or reach out to a human representative, for example. Just remember to provide them with a relevant email address or a valid URL.

7. Include buttons

Blog_02@2x-1Using buttons in the initial stages of a bot conversation will help to guide users towards common resolutions. Helpful buttons could include:

  • Yes/No answer buttons
  • Feedback buttons
  • Buttons for guiding customers to relevant web pages
  • ‘Contact Us’ buttons

8. Keep it simple

Avoid complicated sentences and try to keep conversations as concise as possible. Your customers are likely to lead busy lives and won’t want to stick around for a chat with a robot. Similarly, avoid using gender-specific pronouns and try not to make too many assumptions about your users – you don’t want to alienate your clients.

9. Reveal the capabilities of your bot gradually

To avoid overwhelming your customer with options, ease them into conversation with basic questions. Try to set expectations by letting them know what your bot can achieve early on, gradually unlocking features as the conversation flows. 

10. Give your bot a little personality

Although you should stick to using simple language in your bot conversations, they don’t have to be devoid of humour or personality. Obviously, you should be careful to avoid obnoxious or rude phrases. However, adding a few familiar idioms and peppering your conversation with some encouraging exclamation marks could help to increase engagement (and even sales!).

11. Test your bot rigorously

This step may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how often it gets overlooked. Once you’ve designed a basic version of your bot, test the many paths customers may choose to go down. Pay special attention to potential dead ends that do not offer any solutions and, if necessary, draw up a visual representation of possible conversations. 

As well as helping you to spot potential glitches in the programming of your bot, a diagram will help you to assess whether users are confronted with too many conversational steps before reaching their goals. If they only want to change their password or find a solution to a common problem, a conversation involving six or seven steps may seem a little time-wasting.

12. Always have a human on hand

Blog_03@2xNo bot is perfect, so you must have a team of representatives on and to address enquiries during business hours. If your bot is unable to answer a question, add an option for referral to a human representative. 

Boost the quality of your bot conversations with Botgate AI

Are you struggling to implement a slick bot that assists customers and drives leads and sales? Botgate AI is here to help. We deliver AI-powered conversational marketing solutions to a wide range of clients, including B2B business owners and SaaS companies. Get in touch with us today to boost your lead-capturing capability and enhance your interactions with customers.   

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