A lot of companies went conversational over the last few years, and especially in 2020. When a pandemic stopped the world as we knew it, it forced processes that were stuck in drawers for months, if not years – and chatbot use skyrocketed and became a crucial marketing channel. But going conversational doesn’t necessarily mean that your conversational agent has a personality. Here, at CoCoHub, we believe that every chatbot should have at least the slightest of personality. But wait a moment… umm, why does your chatbot need a personality? And How can you give your chatbot a personality, like in this short conversation?
1. Your brand, chatbotized
A chatbot isn’t just a software code. It isn’t just a chat window. It’s your brand, talking to people at scale. Speaking with people who prefer to communicate with you through messaging. And it had to reflect your brand’s values, purpose, missions. Does your company or business have values, have a purpose, have a mission? Of course it has. Your chatbot needs to reflect those things as well.
Let’s say you’re an electronics chain store, focusing on 18-35 years old customers. You want to give your customers the most cutting-edge devices and technologies, to give them the feeling that whatever solution they need, you’ll be there for them. In that case, your chatbot will speak in a very young, up-to-date, technologically-savvy way, and will be the online extension of your chain store.
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2. FIND YOUR INNER PERSONA
Every company and business is trying to appeal to a certain audience. It can be narrow or wide, but somewhere along the way, you’ll define the personas of your customers (or at least your most important ones). In order to know the best way to reach them and to interact with them, you have to know them.
The same methods and strategies that are implemented on your sales front, on your marketing front and on your campaign billboards, should be reflected on your chatbot’s persona.
“The Persona is the North Star in terms of what everybody designs to, it defines who the conversational agent is, what they represent, what values they represent”, said conversation designer Kent Morita from Soul Machines. “Research showed that people make a judgment of who another person is, within about one second of meeting them. If you don’t design that impression – we’re leaving that impression up to chance”.
3. GET THE MOST LIFE-LIKE EXPERIENCE
The best part of interacting with a fellow human is the things that are found beyond the words. Finding empathy on the other side, or just a sense of understanding. Just listen to Dutch chatbots expert Geertina Hamstra’s story about how a chatbot she built was so empathic, it actually led patients of a general physician to arrive at his clinic… just to ask to talk with the chatbot.
You’ll never ask for a favour or for an advice from a person you never met, and you’ll never be interested in talking to somebody who doesn’t have any interesting things to say, any purpose in life, and that can’t make you feel anything. So why would you chat with a listless chatbot? A personality-less chatbot will have much less success getting your users to engage with your business or company. Also:
4. TO ERR IS HUMAN. TO GET OUT OF IT, YOU’LL NEED A CHATBOT.
Have you heard the story about the person that never made a mistake in life? Me neither. A recent study showed that people are three times more likely to let a chatbot stumble and fall than they would permit a human to screw up; A chatbot with a personality can get you out of it and get the customer back into the conversation in no time, while leaving a positive impression on the customer.
Juji.io founder, Michelle Zhou, gave us a fascinating example: “Chatbots have bugs and make mistakes, they’re not perfect. One time our chatbot said ‘oh-oh, I’m sorry. I just had a hiccup, let me recover’, and another time, ‘I’m sorry. I just had a brain freeze’. The users knew that’s a chatbot, so this person said, ‘Sorry to hear that – whenever you have a hiccup, always take a deep breath’, or ‘whenever I have a brain freeze, my mom always told me to drink some warm water. Do you want some?’. You could see the user was having fun with the chatbot”.
5. BOOST YOUR SALES ABILITIES
A good chatbot can complement your sales and marketing teams in so many ways. It works around the clock, in any context and in any place. Furthemore, it is consistent in the way it reaches customers. It doesn’t have a bad day. It’s not distracted by another person.
A chatbot cannot replace a human. However,imagine a world in which the salespersons and call center personnel can spare 80% of the FAQs. You can reduce waiting time for annoyed customers, therefore avoiding drop-off. And you will be able to concentrate only on the special cases that deserve a human touch. A good chatbot – one with personality – can upsell, can create a better image for your brand (69% of the people asked in an Adweek story said that they trust more a brand with a chatbot then one without). It can go that far.
6. CONSISTENCY OF ONLINE CHARACTER AND MAXIMIZING INTERACTIVENESS
You pay so much attention to your website, your social media, your SMS marketing. Well, your chatbot deserves some attention too. All those channels are basically one-sided – their aim is to announce, to direct, to enable search, to get the customers’ attention. None of them are aimed to handle the most basic interaction between two entities, the one which brought humanity forward over the last dozens of thousands of years: to communicate.
By facilitating a conversation while still keeping your chatbot personality aligned with your brand, you enable yourself to create the most direct, free-flowing channel of communication between your company and the end-user. You’re talking to them. They give you their input, immediately. Stats about chatbots increasing conversion rates are aplenty; see, for example, how Kia tripled their conversion rate by using one. With a chatbot, you’re giving your customers the most important thing for them: an opportunity to be heard.
7. QUICKER ONBOARDING FOR NEW TEAM MEMBERS
You started a chatbot by writing the prompts and calls to action, tested it, wrote new responses, tweaked previous ones. You just mastered the feedback loop, as our master Yaki Dunietz says. Now, congrats, the chatbot is so successful you got another conversation designer or content writer on your team. How do you explain it all to the new partner? Where do you start? How can you keep its consistency?
By having a character profile that is pre-defined, you can do it. “With a team of multiple people for a project – you’re going to end up with a disjointed experience, where one person is working on saying ‘hello’ and another person is working on saying ‘goodbye’. Without a well-defined Persona, those won’t match, and you’re going to have a really weird conversational experience”.