11 Chatbot Best Practices You Should Follow to Create a Powerful Chatbot — EmpathyBots
If you are reading this guide, then probably you are creating a chatbot or about to create one.
And now you are wondering, What are the traits of a good chatbot?
“The Chatbot Best Practices!”
Then, you are at the right place!
Because in this guide, I’m going to share all the golden rules you need to know to create a powerful chatbot.
Just creating and adding a chatbot into your business is not going to work anymore.
It has to drive the expected results for your business as well.
And to achieve that, you need to follow these chatbot best practices, which will help you to create an effective chatbot strategy and make the most out of it.
Suggested Guide: How to Create a Chatbot from Scratch in 2021 (The Ultimate Guide)
11 Chatbot Best Practices to Create a Powerful Chatbot
1. Set Expectations
What do you expect from your chatbot?
The reason it exists?
It can be anything like, you want to generate leads for your business, answer frequently asked questions, improve the customer support system, or just have funny conversations.
For example, the purpose of the restaurant bot will be completely different than the insurance bot.
A restaurant bot can be used to view the menu, order food, book a table, make payments, and many more.
And on the other hand, an insurance bot can be used to find the right policy, manage claims and renewals, premium payments, and many more.
The overall point is, set the purpose of your chatbot because only then you can measure the efficiency of your chatbot.
Like, if your goal is to collect leads then you can track the number of collected leads and so on.
And, It is very important to track your chatbot’s performance and analyze it so that you can optimize it for better results.
Don’t rush for a lot of expectations at once as you can’t expect it from a brand new chatbot. Take one goal at a time and add more with time.
2. Choose the Right Development Platform
After setting the expectations from your chatbot, the next task is to choose the right development platform to fulfill those expectations.
There are two types of development platforms,
- No-code Development Platforms
- And, Development Frameworks.
The no-code development platforms allow you to create a chatbot with a simple drag-and-drop flow builder.
And, development frameworks allow you to leverage its NLP engine to create awesome conversational experiences.
Now, you might be wondering how to choose between them?
The formula is very simple,
Expectations + Type of Chatbot + Features = Chatbot Platform
Now, you already knew about expectations, so I’m not going to tell you again.
Next, you need to look at which type of chatbot you want to create, like Rule-based or AI-based.
Refer to this guide to know more about the types of chatbot.
Then, look at which features you want in your chatbot.
And finally, choose the platform which marks all of these three checkboxes.
Below is the list of some no-code platforms that I personally use,
And, some widely used development frameworks,
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3. Decide the Bot Functionality Upfront
It’s a good practice to decide the chatbot’s functionality before you actually start to create one.
It is different than setting expectations.
In expectations, you theoretically decide “what” problems are you trying to solve or what goals you are trying to achieve.
But in bot functionality, you decide “how” to solve those problems or achieve those goals. You can call it the technical side of setting expectations.
For example, if your goal is to build a FAQ bot, then you need to decide whether it will be the prefixed question set that users can select or they can ask any question they want.
4. Design Chatbot’s Personality
It’s very important to give a unique personality to your chatbot and be consistent with it.
The chatbot is just the digital extension of you or your brand and hence your chatbot’s personality should also match with it.
Define the tone and voice of your chatbot according to your target audience.
And, decide whether it should be formal and keep the conversation professional or informal and keep the conversation more friendly.
Whatever it be, just keep it consistent throughout the conversation.
Be transparent. Tell your users that they are talking with a chatbot by giving such kind of name to it or telling it in the greeting message.
Like I gave the name EmpathyBot to my chatbot and send a greeting message as,
“Hey there! I’m EmpathyBot! How can I help you?”
By doing so, you will not mislead your users and also earn their trust.
5. Make Conversations Human
How do you chat with anyone?
Give an answer to yourself.
Yes, you are creating a chat “bot” but still, it is chatting with a human.
So your conversations should also be designed in such a way that humans can understand and relate.
Don’t write long paragraphs, cut them into small chunks of messages as most of us do.
Use emojis, photos, videos, GIFs, etc. Just bring the personality into it.
Just be natural while designing the conversations as if you are talking to a real human being and read it aloud so that you can improve it.
6. Close-ended Conversations
Always remember to design close-ended conversations.
Especially, when you are creating an AI-based chatbot.
But, What is close-ended?
For example, asking people, “Tell me about yourself?”
The answer will be unpredictable and not have a fixed endpoint.
It is an “open-ended” conversation.
But if you asked, “Tell me your name?”
Then, the answer will be predictable and fixed for everyone.
It is called a “close-ended” conversation.
Then the question arises, Why to design close-ended conversations?
And the answer is, because you are creating a chatbot to achieve some business goals.
For example, if you are creating a lead generation bot, then to generate a lead you need to design a funnel that consists of some conversational steps.
And to go from one step to another, you need to have specific and fixed responses on each step.
But open-ended conversations do not have fixed endpoints, hence the chatbot will not understand what next step to take, which will lead to the conversation failure.
That is the reason you should design close-ended conversations.
7. Repairing the Conversation Failure
In the previous point, you learned how conversations can fail in chatbots.
And it is quite normal in real-life communication as well.
Remember, how sometimes you get out of track when talking about some specific topic and your friend brings you on track again.
This same process is implemented in chatbots as well to repair the conversation failure.
It is called fallback intent or message.
If a user asked something out of the chatbot’s scope, then the chatbot will reply with a fallback message and try to bring the conversation on track again.
Don’t use the generic fallback message like “Sorry, I don’t understand!”.
Show the available options with buttons or ask if they want to talk with a live agent instead.
8. Keep it Simple and Clean
Would you like to use an ugly-looking complex app and spend time on it?
Definitely not! (I’m guessing…)
The more simple it is, the better it is!
Don’t make it too complex.
Both for you and your chatbot’s users.
It should be easy for users to navigate through its different functions.
Because it’s all about user experience.
9. Ability to Easy Exit and Unsubscribe
Another key point in improving its user experience is the ability to easy exit and unsubscribe at any time from the chatbot.
You should not force them to be in a conversation or a subscriber if they don’t want to.
By saying the ability to exit, I mean that they should have the option to exit from the ongoing conversation and return back to the main menu or start a new conversation.
And also the ability to leave the conversation at any time and unsubscribe to the bot.
You can achieve it by either giving an option button at the bottom or notifying them about a keyword to do so at the beginning of a conversation.
10. Create Different Prototypes
You cannot create Siri or Alexa in the first attempt.
You have to create different conversational flows, design multiple conversational scripts, and create different versions of chatbot.
Then finally select the one which is better at meeting your expectations and giving a top-notch user experience.
11. Measure & Improve Your Performance
And finally, the most common thing you need to practice to be successful in any kind of work, measuring the results and improving for better performance.
This part comes after you successfully launch your chatbot.
You have to track that whether it’s meeting your KPI’s (goals) or not.
Then, improve it by observing your users, trends, how they are interacting with a chatbot, the most common topic they discussed, and so on.
Wrapping up the Chatbot Best Practices
Creating a chatbot takes planning and effective implementation of that plan.
You have to spend time creating and optimizing your chatbot.
It’s possible to not get the expected results from it in the initial days, but it doesn’t mean that there is a problem with the entire chatbot.
It is just that your chatbot is missing one of these important chatbot best practices and need to identify and correct it.
I hope that these 11 chatbot best practices will help you to create a powerful chatbot for your business.
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11 Chatbot Best Practices You Should Follow to Create a Powerful Chatbot — EmpathyBots was originally published in Chatbots Life on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.