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5 Ways to Get the Most out of your Next Chatbot Project

Customer service is a major cornerstone of any business, and service agents can easily tip the scale when keeping and losing a customer. As companies scale up their operations, hiring enough agents to satisfy customer needs can be a costly undertaking, and chatbots can be an effective solution to fill that touchpoint gap. However, successful chatbot implementation isn’t as simple as setting up your bot. In order to provide customer service that mimics that of a live agent, it is crucial for chatbots to be equipped with the language and knowledge to resolve common inquiries – all of which can be achieved through conversation design.

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Conversation design uses human conversations as a blueprint for crafting interactions between humans and chatbots that feel natural. Effective conversation design ensures that chatbots and AI assistants aren’t only functional, but can provide customers with the same satisfaction that they would get after interacting with a live service agent, all contributing to an enhanced customer experience and stronger customer relationships.

Here are five ways to use conversation design to make the most of your chatbot project implementation:

Set the Tone From the Start

At the heart of conversation design are some simple questions: What is your chatbot going to be used for, and how can it solve your customers’ problems? While your bot can’t resolve every issue that a customer has, it can address common issues and questions that don’t require a live agent’s help. Set your customer’s expectations by stating the bot’s capabilities right in its introduction; that way, customers know from the get-go how their inquiry will be resolved. 

User First, Always

Chatbot experiences should always be centered on the user. Rather than trying to infuse sales language into answers, start by anticipating customers’ needs and helping them to resolve their issues quickly. Chatbots equipped with natural language understanding (NLU) can interpret when a customer is upset. In that event, use empathetic language to ensure that they feel heard and to defuse the situation. Once the customer is satisfied and their original issue has been resolved, then you can have the bot share relevant offers or remind the customer of your newsletter if that is a priority.

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Be Forward-Looking

Another founding principle of conversation design is to consciously guide the customer to the next step of their journey. Customers engage with chatbots with a clear task to accomplish, but in some instances, they may not know exactly how to word their questions and get there. Guide them by keeping the experience conversational, and end each of your bot’s messages with a question, prompt or call to action.

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Context Is Key to Chatbot Project

To adequately resolve a problem with the same convenience that a live agent could provide, your chatbot must have contextual awareness. Customers don’t want to waste time contextualizing your bot — it sets the conversation off on a frustrating start. Have your bot lean into pertinent customer information (i.e. their location) to ensure both parties are on the same page. If the customer is looking to pick up a purchase locally, for example, it helps if the bot can narrow down their local stores on its own and leave as little fact-finding as possible for the customer. 

Allow for Human Error in Chatbot Project

Customers are human – they will make mistakes. Ensure that it is easy for customers to recover from a typo or misinterpretation by supplying bots with clarifying questions (i.e. Did you mean…), the ability to quickly resolve a misunderstanding without having to restart the entire dialogue, or a seamless handoff to a live agent. Customers will only try to right their wrongs so many times before giving up. 

Chatbots are intended to make fast-paced, authentic customer service easier for customers and businesses alike. Smart conversation design can make this ideal into a reality, strengthening customer relationships and taking some weight off of your live agent’s shoulders. 

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