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Chatbots are finally growing in popularity in North America. They’ve been popular in Europe for a long time, but they’re just starting to gain traction on this side of the pond. 

Chatbots have transformed customer service in many ways. They’ve helped customers get the answers they need at the exact moment they need it because they operate 24/7. They’ve also helped better organize and streamline customer feedback. On top of that, they’ve improved the quality of leads delivered to sales teams. 

But, like any other technology, they’ve experienced a few growing pains which may have caused some distrust in the technology. Unfortunately, studies show that many people who interact with poorly designed chatbots become frustrated and turned off from the brand. On the flip side though, some brands have done chatbots amazingly well, and the bots are helping to build customer trust and loyalty, while delivering warm leads.

How can you embrace all the benefits of a chatbot (save customer service time, sort inquiries to the right customer service agent for better service, build warm leads for better sales, etc.) while still building that critical trust factor with potential clients? 

how to design a chatbot
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21 Tips on How To Design a Chatbot To Build Trust

  1. Provide site visitors with relevant information in a friendly manner without sales pressure.
  2. Add humour and personality to your chatbot to make your brand more relatable and help users connect emotionally.
  3. A chatbot written in your brand voice will reinforce brand recognition. Be sure to share your style guide with developers.
  4. Design chatbots to quickly connect your customers to the right person on your team based on their input, so your customers don’t have to go through five levels of a call center.
  5. A chatbot means your customers can get help precisely when they need it. So have your chatbot always online, not just during regular business hours.
  6. Identify repetitive tasks that the chatbot could easily automate. That way customer service agents have more time to do their job well and take care of customers. 
  7. Implementing a chatbot with conversational AI allows for seamless question and answer interchanges. These chatbots respond fast, while your customer is still thinking about your product, not hours later when they’ve forgotten about it.
  8. Ensure your chatbot can respond to all questions along the customer journey. Chatbots are less intimidating for customers who just want a little info but aren’t ready to talk to a salesperson yet.
  9. Make sure your chatbot is trained on human intent. Chatbots with powerful conversational AI platforms can offer a personalized human touch with responses that take into account the tone of a person’s message, without needing to assign a specific agent to every inquiry.
  10. Ensure your solution is scalable. Chatbots can handle an unlimited number of customers at once. Your customers won’t have to wait on hold for hours on end.
  11. Build customer service tracking into the bot’s backend to save your team time. Chatbots will help you track, investigate, and respond to customer complaints quickly so you can resolve situations and improve your products. 
  12. Your chatbot needs to focus on the needs of your customers, so provide them with valuable information as the main goal.
  13. Use a headshot and the name of the person who actually handles your chatbot messages after initial contact, instead of something generic to make it more personal and relatable.
  14. Get your whole customer service team involved to detail all common questions to send to the development team. Your chatbot should be able to answer questions about your products knowledgeably. 
  15. You need to review your customers’ conversations with the chatbots and revise, adjust, and improve what your chatbot says based on these conversations. The AI will improve the conversations, but human intervention is also required.
  16. Don’t make your chatbot send a wall of text. It’s overwhelming. Short paragraphs, easy questions, and concise statements help your customers get what they need.
  17. Your chatbot’s intro message should clarify to the customer what the chatbot can help them do so that realistic expectations are set upfront. 
  18. If your chatbot makes promises (a customer service rep will call you in 2 hours), make sure you follow through so customers know they can trust you. And if there is a delay for some reason, build in an update message that lets clients know.
  19. When writing dialogue for your chatbot, focus on what your customers might ask your chatbot. This is not the place to try to cleverly insert how fantastic your product is. Make this about the customer.
  20. Use words and phrases that are similar to what your customers use. Drop the jargon. Make it familiar.
  21. Embrace anthropomorphism. Make your chatbot as human as possible, so it’s easy to relate to.

RELATED: How To Build A Chatbot: The Development Process

Customized Chatbot Solutions Are the Key to Building Trust

Just tossing a generic chatbot up on your website won’t have the results you’re after. If you want to reap all the benefits of chatbots, you need to lay the development groundwork to make sure your chatbot: 

  • reflects your brand voice
  • feels personal
  • focuses on your customers’ needs
  • gives customers value
  • builds trust

If you’re unsure about how to put any of these trust-building tips into practice, book a discovery call with one of our experts. We love to talk tech, chatbots and your business needs.

One of the greatest things to hit the customer service world recently is the development of chatbots. The days of waiting (not so patiently) on hold to find out the answer to your most burning questions are becoming a thing of the past. 

The chatbot market size is expected to grow from $2.6 billion in 2019 to $9.4 billion by 2024 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 29.7%.

While chatbots are simple for customers to use, they do take thorough and thoughtful planning while in the development stage. With upfront planning, working with all stakeholders synergistically and the guidance of a proven chatbot consultant/project manager, you have the best chances for successful implementation, adoption and ROI.

Chatbots are useful in customer service, including providing product recommendations and engaging with customers through a variety of campaigns.

For example, chatbots have been used to:

– Answer consumers questions quickly, at any time of the day or night
– Provide recommendations based on the customer’s past purchases
– Let customers know about sales or promotions
– Help customers find information or products on a company website

Business Benefits of Chatbot Development

Keep Things Running 24/7: Typical office productivity is usually 6-8 hours/day, but chatbots work around the clock allowing your business to never truly sleep. In a recent study, it was determined that 71% of consumers want the ability to solve customer service issues on their own, which also means on their own time.

Deliver Personalized Responses: Because of the built-in AI, bots can read human intent and deliver personalized responses. In turn, customer satisfaction increases, which drives customer acquisition. 

Increase Retention Rates: Customer acquisition, however, is expensive. As more customers are retained, your ROI increases. The inclusion of a chatbot will provide insight into how your customers truly feel towards your business, allowing you to make data-driven decisions to increase customer lifetime value. 

person choosing document in folder
Photo by Anete Lusina on Pexels.com

4 Steps to Start the Chatbot Development Process on the Right Foot

Here’s what you need to know before you kickoff the chatbot development process:

1. Determine your main goal for the chatbot: Brainstorm what problems you are hoping your bot will solve for you and your customers, and then pick one very specific use case.

2. Identify the target audience for the bot: Determine whether there is a specific persona that will have their needs met by your chatbot. 

3. Create a chatbot project plan: Document what your project requires, including experts you need to lean on, timing expectations, and forward-thinking implementation strategies.

4. Develop a minimum viable product (MVP): Finally, you need to develop the most simple version of the bot with the bare minimum functionality. This is the first baby step within an agile chatbot development process.

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The Agile Chatbot Development Process

As developers often quip: Failure is a feature. Failing fast during the chatbot development process means fixing errors quickly and more affordably throughout the design cycles. Agile consultants and software teams use a distinct process to step through the chatbot development process in order to not only make the most of the budget but to also ensure that the product developed meets all stakeholders’ expectations. 

Chatbot Development Process

To illustrate the agile chatbot development process in action, ChatC’s proven process is summarized below. You can get a feel for what’s involved at each step of the project and for more details on timing or your commitments at each stage, check out our process here

1. Discover automation opportunities: Automation is the delegation of the human control function to a machine. So, how can you let a chatbot take over human functions? Ultimately, if you have staff entering data or responding to repetitive questions, there are opportunities for automation. The first step includes:

– Exploring the business value of chatbots
– Understanding and determining the feasibility of applying conversational AI

2. Define use case: A use case is a list of actions that define the interactions between a system and a role to achieve a goal. Include the following in your documentation:

– Decide on the exact business application 
– Document KPIs to ensure project success
– Learn about the vendor landscape

3. Determine vendor and finalize budget: The agile approach to vendor selection makes use of a streamlined process to pick the right supplier and finalize the budget, including:

– Leverage ChatC’s extensive pre-vetted vendor relationships
– Facilitate RFI and/or RFP if required
– Determine the budget
– Shortlist vendors and evaluate proposals

4. Document system architecture: System architecture is the behaviour or structure of the software that provides services and automation. More specifically, you’ll want to:

– Decide on tech stack integrations
– Strategize how and where the automated chatbot will be deployed

5. Develop proof of concept: A proof of concept shows that the goal of a project is viable and will be a success. Include the following:

– Reimagine the customer/employee journey and come up with a simple strategy to test out your solution
– Kick-off the development team
– Conduct small user group testing and feedback

6. Deploy minimal viable product (MVP): An MVP is a product developed with the most minimal functionalities, to see how the target audience will respond. Include the following in your plans and execution:

– Set Minimum Viable Product (MVP) requirements
– Mobilize the right team to build a minimal viable product (MVP)
– Begin learning together with all stakeholders (customers, operations, IT, etc.)

7. Determine scalability: Scalability is when a software solution is able to handle an increased amount of work. This is where the user group can increase and your team can begin to look at expanding the bot’s reach. Include the following:

– Review performance and KPIs of the MVP
– Determine how quickly the chatbot can be scaled 

8. Data analytics and support: By paying close attention to the data collected by the chatbot, your business decisions can be confidently driven using customer preferences moving forward. Be sure to:

– Put regular data monitoring practices in place (chatbots can be configured to make this even easier)
– Explore custom analytics to discover key insights
– Determine level of support required

Chatbots are the Present and Future – Explore Your Use Case Now

Many brands have already jumped on the chatbot train to reap the benefits of the next-generation technology. Delaying this decision could cause you to lag behind your competition. 

However, developing a chatbot is a substantial and ongoing investment for your team, and should be handled with care up-front. Consider the benefits of working with industry veterans, who have managed chatbot development projects for major Fortune 500 companies. 

Are you wondering how a Chatbot Consultant can help you to develop your company’s chatbot? Get in touch with one of our team members today.