Outgrow Blog

6 Best Practices For Chatbots
11th January 2019 Etee Dubey
5 min read

6 Best Practices For Chatbots

Is it just us, or are chatbots becoming the next big marketing rage? Well, surveys suggest that users prefer chatbots over apps when communicating with companies. In fact, 56% of people would rather message than call customer service. Looking at these statistics, we’re inclined to say the latter is true. However, just adding a chatbot to your services isn’t enough anymore, is it? You have to optimize the same for the best results. And what better place to start than to read up on all the best practices for chatbots.

As always, we’re here to help.

1) Set Expectation for your Chatbots

Here’s a fact: No task can be executed without an aim.

Here’s another: Chatbots are no different.

A bakery owner might design a chatbot for a different purpose than a lawyer. If your goal is to collect leads, you might be interested in creating an out of office bot that would collect leads information 24*7. On the other hand, if you’re looking for automation to take client feedback on a hotel stay, you might be interested in this.

Catch our drift? You have to be sure of your purpose for creating a bot. This will allow you to create a design specific experience. Moreover, it will provide you will the right parameters for its analysis.

2) Be mindful of the Chatbot’s greeting

We think this would be best illustrated by an example:

chatbots best practices

Don’t like what you see? That’s fine. You weren’t supposed to. Now check out another example:

chatbots best practices

This is the difference between a good chatbot and a bad one. While a grammatically correct bot is a necessity, being user-friendly is equally important. You don’t want the bot to bombard the prospect with suggestion and question. Moreover, it’s important to list the functions of the bot upfront. This will ensure that the prospect knows how to engage with the bot.

By listing its functionality upfront, the chatbot keeps users from being disappointed and gives them ideas and instructions on how to engage further. By keeping customer expectations in check from the beginning of the interaction, CNN can give users a more satisfying experience. Moreover, it will help keep the prospect or customer’s expectations in check.

Another thing to keep in mind is the personality of the chatbot. Try to reflect your brand’s tone of voice in the chatbot because personality plays a huge role in engaging users. Above all, give helpful cues to the prospects. Have a look a chatbot template created by Outgrow for a wedding invitation.

chatbots best practices

3) Be Upfront About Bot Functionality

In the end, the bot is created by your company to assist the manpower. Not replace it entirely. (maybe, someday though) Be specific and upfront about your chatbot’s functionality to set user’s expectations. In fact, there are certain ways you can ensure your bot is being used for its intended purpose. You can allow only-text or only number answers by the user. For eg. If you are asking for someone’s number, allow input of 9 digits only. Moreover, you can keep a limited amount of options for input like the Outgrow Chatbot does here.

chatbots best practices

Finally, the best way to tell users what your chatbot can’t do is by reinforcing what your Chatbot does well. Redirect the users to the chatbot’s are of expertise if they stray too far from the topic.

4) Try to make the messages as human as possible

We have already talked about the importance of personality in a chatbot. However, you have to pay attention to the style of conversation just as much. You’re probably wondering how you can introduce human characteristic in a bot. Well, we have got you covered.

Try to break your information into human-friendly chunks of messages. Keep it short and never send messages in one long paragraph. Additionally, make sure that your bot finds the right balance between being professional and quirky. Have a look at this message by Hey Jess for cues:

chatbots best practices

Above all, do not assume that conversation will go exactly as you planned. Plan in advance and add synonyms and slang variations of an input. For instance, don’t just program the chatbot to start on the term ‘hey’. Instead, program it to start on its variations (like ‘hi’, ‘hey there’) as well.

5) Make it Easy For Your Customers To Leave

One sentence can probably sum up this entire point- ‘Don’t force them to stay if they don’t want to’.

If your customers want to leave the conversation, make it easy for them by placing a visible ‘unsubscribe’ option. Furthermore, if the user is interested in talking to an agent, allow them to access your contact information. You can also allow the users to start over or return to the main menu because this ensures that the user gets all the relevant information without contacting office personnel.

chatbots best practices

6) Reengage Users Through The Chatbot

After helping the customer, try to reengage the user through the chatbot. “How”, you ask?

Well, it could be as simple as a ‘take me back to the start’ button. This will allow users to explore your tool and they might use it for a need that seemed unapparent. Furthermore, you can direct the user to your blog or any funky content (we recommend infographics!)

We hope that this blog gives you the basic know-how of the best practices for chatbots. Wanna read more? Head over to this blog for the best examples of chatbots.  Happy bot-building! And feel free to reach out to share your own best practices! We’re constantly looking for ways to improve.