How to Write a Conversational Script for Your Chatbot — EmpathyBots
First of all, applaud yourself, because you have reached the second step in creating a chatbot.
And, it means a lot!
It means you are serious about creating a chatbot and have taken a step-by-step approach to create it.
What will you get from this guide?
In this guide, you will get the 5-step process to write a conversational script (with example) and the 6 best practices you should follow to make it effective.
In the last guide, I have shown you how to design a conversational flow for your chatbot from scratch.
If you haven’t read it yet, read it now and come here again!
Because it’s the first step in creating a chatbot and a pre-requisite for this guide.
But, what exactly is a conversational script?
Well, read the next section to know this!
What is a Conversational Script?
The conversational script is nothing but the dialogues which are the combination of words, sentences, images, GIFs, and many other things used to give direction to a conversation.
This script can include topics to start a conversation, answer questions, and end the conversation.
Ok! But how to create one?
Let’s look at how to write a conversational script for your chatbot by continuing our previous example of FAQBot, in the next section.
5 Steps to Write a Conversational Script
1. Remember Conversational Flow
The first step in writing a conversational script is to look at your previously designed conversational flow.
Like, in my case I have designed the conversational flow for my FAQBot,
The conversational flow is the foundation of our entire chatbot-building process.
I hope you have a conversation flow like this, if not, then read the above-suggested guide to learn how to design one.
Ok! What’s next?
2. Empathize with Users
The Next step is to empathize with your users and try to understand their world!
Yes. If you don’t know who your users are, what problems they have, their motivations, habits, experiences, feelings, then you cannot sound relatable to them.
But, how can you do that?
Simple, just observe them! I’m not saying go and run huge surveys, take interviews, no! The best place to observe them without spending a dime is social media.
Go follow them, find out where they engaged, what type of content they like, their interests, people they follow, and many other things.
Umm…want to know the easy way?
Ok! If you don’t want to do that much work, then I will tell you a little easy way as compared to this.
Go to Facebook Audience Insights! As you know, they have all the “data”, just open it and play around with different features and I’m sure you will find out some interesting insights.
Isn’t it great? Now I will tell you the third step quickly…!
Trending Bot Articles:
3. Set the Tone of Voice
How does your chatbot should sound to users?
The third step is to set the tone of voice of your conversation.
Whether it should be formal and sounds like a professional or it should be informal and sounds friendly, just decide it now!
And, be consistent with it throughout the script.
In my case, FAQBot will be informal and keep the conversation more friendly.
Done? Let’s go on to the 4th one…
4. Write a Conversational Script
Finally, it’s time to write a conversational script.
You can use a tool for it if you want. I personally used the old-school method, a notebook!
In chatbots, the conversation is divided into four different fragments.
1. Starting the Conversation
It is the first message your chatbot sends to users when they start a conversation.
You can call it a Welcome or Greeting Message.
A chatbot can be programmed to send different welcome messages to the same users, every time they interact with your chatbot.
And, also two different welcome messages to the new and existing users.
For that, you have to write different versions of the same message. And, It will feel more natural because in real life also we don’t greet anyone and everyone with the same phrase every time.
That is the reason, the conversation starter is very important because it is your only chance at making that first impression and encourage them to write you back.
You can also use the buttons or quick replies to show them the options they have to interact with your chatbot.
2. Leading the Conversation
Leading the conversation means keeping the conversation going on.
Now, what does that mean?
It means, sometimes users don’t understand what to do next, then in such a situation, your chatbot should take charge and lead the conversation.
For example, in FAQBot, a user asked a question and got the answer to that question.
But now, he doesn’t know what to do next, then a bot can ask a user, “Do you have more questions?” and show the other available options to keep the conversation going.
3. Repairing the Conversation
If you have read my previous guides, then you probably know about this term.
It is nothing but to repair the conversation failure.
For example, if users ask a question to FAQBot which is out of its scope or for which it’s not programmed. Then it’s called a conversation failure because it can’t reply to that particular question.
And, a solution to this is to repair that conversation using a fallback reply or default reply.
You can send a message like, “Sorry! I’m still learning, you can ask from the following questions instead” and show the available options.
Or you can also ask them if they want to talk with a live agent.
4. And, Ending the Conversation
Yes, you got it right!
Here you have to write the end of the conversation.
But write it cleverly, they should feel like coming back to interact with a chatbot.
Don’t end the conversation forever!
Here’s how I have written the conversational script for FAQBot,
What’s the last step now?
5. Analyze & Improve
The last step is to analyze and improve the script.
You will better understand and analyze it after a chatbot goes live and users actually start interacting with it.
Because by this, you will see the real people interacting with it, how they are interacting, the words they are using, and many other things.
And, I have already told you the following lines in my previous guides that is,
Read it aloud and create different prototypes to improve your conversational script. Because you can’t build an Alexa or Siri in the first attempt.
Now, it’s time for the best practices..!
6 Best Practices for Writing a Conversational Script
1. Be Natural
The first best practice to write a great conversational script is to be natural, clear, and most importantly be Human!
Though users should know that they are talking with a bot, but they should also feel like that this bot is made by a Human!
And, be clear about your messaging, your users should understand what they can/should do with your chatbot.
2. Cut Messages into Small Chunks
Don’t send messages with long paragraphs.
Just go and look at your messaging app, have you chatted with long paragraphs?
Similarly, you should mimic the same thing while writing the conversational script.
Divide your messages into small chunks.
3. Be Contextful
Like, Content without context is not of any use.
Similarly, Conversation without context is also not of any use.
But, What does it mean?
For example, you and I meet for the first time today, so naturally, I want to know your name, where are you from, etc. and it’s fine because we are meeting for the first time.
But, suppose I meet you tomorrow morning and again ask for your name, how do you feel or react?
Similarly, if you come to interact with my FAQBot for the first time then it should ask you, “Hey there! How can I help you?”
And, if you come once again, then it should remember the past conversation and reply with the message like “Hey, Pratik! How can I help you today?”
It will add more context to the conversation and give a better experience to users.
4. Make it Personalized
There is a reason why chat or conversational marketing is on the boom. And social messaging apps are growing rapidly and have a high retention rate.
And, that reason is the ability to personalize.
Here you can have one-on-one communication with people, unlike other mediums.
So, keep it the same way with your conversational script that your users should feel like you are talking directly to them.
You can achieve it by including their names in the message, sending personalized messages, personalized product recommendations, etc.
5. Write a Script to Respond to Irrelevant Messages
You may have familiar with this that people always like to mess up with chatbots, asking random and irrelevant questions.
Remember the last time you have asked Alexa the rubbish question.
So, It’s going to happen with your chatbot also.
So it’s better to have a plan and a script in place to tackle this kind of situation creatively instead of sending the same “Sorry, I didn’t get this” message repeatedly.
And the last best practice is to proofread your writing.
There are people who don’t like spelling mistakes, grammatical mistakes, phrasing mistakes especially if you are building a formal chatbot and having a professional conversation.
So, it’s better to proofread before deploying it on a chatbot.
You can also read the guide 11 Chatbot Best Practices You Should Follow to Create a Powerful Chatbot to know more chatbot best practices.
So, something left?
At least not for now, let’s wrap up the article!
I know that anybody including me cannot build a perfect conversational script in one shot. Because there is no such thing as perfection.
It is an ongoing process that you have to analyze and improve as your bot gets smarter.
So, don’t waste time now and go start writing the conversational script for your chatbot.
Liked this story? Consider following me to read more stories like this.
Don’t forget to give us your 👏 !
How to Write a Conversational Script for Your Chatbot — EmpathyBots was originally published in Chatbots Life on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.