Chatbots, much like other conversational interfaces, are a powerful addition to your support suite. For businesses working with a large volume of customer service requests or even lean teams looking to unburden their workloads, chatbots can revolutionize business processes. Chatbots used to be the shiny new technology that intrigued website visitors, but now, 67% of worldwide consumers have interacted with a chatbot to get customer support over the past 12 months. This clearly indicates that people have accepted and chosen chatbots as a preferred medium of communication. 

Chatbot adoption has become a no brainer, but expectations of chatbots are endless. So, without an exact blueprint on how to go about it, steering technology to deliver results becomes problematic. It requires careful planning and strategizing.

Chatbot Best Practices Chatbot Best Practices

Chatbot Best Practices

Here’s a list of things you can do at the time of your chatbot implementation to ensure that it turns into a successful channel to engage with your customers. Here's how you can implement chatbots successfully

  • Pick a goal that the chatbot can achieve
  • Design your chatbot’s tone of voice
  • Find a balance between the human and the robotic nature of your chatbot
  • Don’t expect the chatbot to solve every query
  • Use the right format to get your message across
  • Don’t leave behind your global audiences
  • Integrate with messaging channels that your customers use
  • Use chatbots to collect information
  • Collect feedback in real-time
  • Measure the resolution rate of the bot

Pick a goal that the chatbot can achieve

Chatbots open up an array of opportunities to improve customer experience, from booking appointments to offering quick support answers. However, to get the best out of your chatbot implementation, look for your website visitor’s most critical problem. Your chatbot’s goal will be to solve that specific problem. If you notice that your visitors are frustrated with long wait times and want quick answers, consider automating those inquiries most commonly requested. Your chatbot will slash wait times entirely, and this will, in turn, reflect on your customer satisfaction. 

To frame your goal, ask yourself the following questions:

Once you find the answers to these questions, you can frame a goal to eliminate these issues with a chatbot. Remember, having a good plan and the right chatbot software will save you a lot of time by giving you the flexibility to make more iterations to the chatbot before landing significant results. So don’t compromise on this step and launch without extensive deliberation. 

Design your chatbot’s tone of voice

Your bot acts as a representative of your company - so when deciding the tone of your chatbot - it should echo your brand's existing personality. Whether it's a standard rule-based bot or an AI-powered chatbot, each conversation’s tone must be human. You’ll need to sift through live chat or phone transcripts from your prior interactions with customers and build conversational workflows that mimic the pattern. When creating a tone, look at every step of the decision tree and see if it reflects your business voice. 

Chatbot Best Practices Chatbot Best Practices

Plan the tone of your chatbot at every step of the conversation.

Note: In rule-based chatbots, it’s vital to evaluate every conversation to ensure your customers feel your brand voice. Since AI chatbots use natural language processing or NLP to seem human, as they have conversations, you’ll be able to pick up on the gaps and fill them in with logical answers.   

Are you switching from live chat to chatbots?

When doubling down on the tone, remember that visitors have different expectations from a live agent versus a chatbot. There are a couple of ways to set these expectations right at the beginning: 

  • Inform visitors that they are interacting with a chatbot.

  • Layout the topics/capabilities where the chatbot can help

  • Have an option to connect with a live agent directly.

Find a balance between the human and the robotic nature of your chatbot.

Here's the thing, the jury is still out on how human a bot should be. Chatbots are given human characteristics through design capabilities, referred to as skeuomorphism. While skeuomorphism helps to resonate with users, it might deceive the user into thinking they are talking to a human. Chatbot experts recommend finding a balance in skeuomorphism by allowing the chatbot to sound human by being upfront about being a bot. 

Chatbot Best Practices Chatbot Best Practices

Freshdesk Messaging's chatbot introduced itself and listed its capabilities.

There are a few actions you can take towards transparency: 

Don't expect the chatbot to solve every query.

It's unfair to expect a machine to match human understanding; chatbots still lack empathy and emotions. So when users are reaching out, it's okay if the chatbot cannot resolve every interaction. The chatbot’s objective is to help customers find answers by themselves, and ease agent workload - not to solve every customer issue by denying access to other support channels entirely. 

Chatbot Best Practices Chatbot Best Practices

Design the bot to gracefully handover to the agent.

There will always be situations where visitors need to speak to human agents. In this case, don't leave the user hanging. Suppose there is a query that the chatbot cannot handle. In that case, the conversation should be immediately sent to a live chat agent, and if one is unavailable, send a message along the lines of -  "I don't have an answer for you, but I'll transfer you to one of my team members." This will make sure the visitor doesn't end the conversation. We recommend assigning an agent to handle all customer queries that the chatbot is unable to solve.

Use the right format to get your message across.

The right content is vital to connect with your website visitors, but it is just as important to use the most appropriate messaging format. Don't rely on text messages at all times. Some statements are easier to understand via a video or image format. 

Chatbot Best Practices Chatbot Best Practices

Using the right format to deliver a message will increase the engagement rate.

The reason you should pay attention to the format is that your customer engagement depends on it. Customers are still getting used to chatbots being around. 46% of chatbot users still prefer to talk to live agents. To break this barrier, you need to convince your visitor that the chatbot is not holding them back from getting answers. A well-drafted message presented the right way will go a long way in changing the mindset of audiences. 

For example, a new feature can be introduced through a video. Or, an offer targeted towards a high-quality lead can be sent in the form of an image. You could even take the fun route and add emojis and GIFs to your bot workflow. So, where a text might go ignored, rich media captures attention.

Don’t leave behind your global audiences. 

Global businesses today are gravitating towards localization tactics to connect with their customers. The most effective way to reach audiences across the world is by offering content in regional languages. If your chatbot can communicate in languages other than the primary language of your website, you'll be widening your market reach. Some common languages to consider are English (if it's not your primary language), Spanish, French, German, but chatbots today can support over 35 languages when building custom workflows.  

Integrate with messaging channels that your customers use.

We know messaging is more popular on mobile apps and social media than on a website. This means you now have the opportunity to connect with your users on a channel they are more likely to engage in. Sending them updates via Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger can be an easy way to engage your leads and convert them into paying customers. Recent statistics show that businesses can save up to $11 billion by 2023 by investing in messaging chatbots. 

Note: If your target audience is likely to be a WhatsApp user, you can create chatbots with WhatsApp Automation. With WhatsApp, you can automate entire chat flows, send quick replies, and create message templates, and much more. 

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Bots integrated with messaging channels offer unified support.

Go one step further and connect your customer support to a unified messaging platform so you can answer questions from your website, social media, and messaging apps from one location.

Use chatbots to collect information.

Usually, forms take you away to another landing page where users fill out the details. It impacts two things: First, this causes an increased bounce rate as people may leave the page without filling the form. Second, it reduces the time spent on the first page that had the Call-to-Action (CTA). However, if you offer a triggered message to share details via the chatbot, you'll be able to keep people on the page and gather their information. For example, if the user is on a blog page and the CTA is to download an ebook, end with a message like, "Would you like an ebook that can help you learn more on this topic?". If the answer is yes, you can simply ask for their email address and instantly send them the ebook. 

Chatbot Best Practices Chatbot Best Practices

Trigger a bot message based on the visitor’s activity

Are you a SaaS business? Here’s a bot use case.

Take your bots a step further to increase the number of product demos you give in a month. When a new visitor shows interest in getting to know your product, send them an automated calendar workflow where they can pick a time that works for both of you to receive a demo. 

Collect feedback in real-time.

Chatbots, especially the ones powered by machine learning, learn from every interaction. It then takes these learnings to give suggestions on informational gaps that need to be filled. Instantly, the bot betters itself for the upcoming conversations. This functionality is what makes chatbots a seamless tool to offer real-time support. Whether you have a chatbot with ML or not, continuously collect feedback and correct the course of the conversation to see your resolution rate shoot through the roof. 

Feedback collection doesn't necessarily have to be for every answer the bot offers. Instead, set a follow-up mechanism that is automatically triggered at the end of the conversation so that customers are urged to close out their interaction with a rating. 

Chatbot development - the right way

There’s so much that chatbots offer, to tap into its best capabilities, continue to iterate your conversations. Look for new possibilities to communicate with customers. Ask your teams about where they think automation will help them be more productive. Find out what else bots can do for your business. 

Go back to - What is a chatbot?