This guest blog, 6 Ways to Optimize Conversational AI & Chatbots, is by Maryann Thomas, a Content Writer at CloudTask. Did you know that by 2020, almost 85% of consumer interactions with companies could be without humans?
Let that sink in for a bit.
It might sound insane, but given that there are over 4 billion internet users as of July 2018, it’s not that surprising. The way people communicate today has changed.
It’s the era of instant messaging apps and voice-controlled technologies. People want instantaneous, real-time communication. And they have come to expect the same from brands as well.
From booking flight tickets to ordering pizza to setting up a meeting with a qualified B2B prospect, just about anything can be done by chatbots and AI-driven technologies. In fact, one study found that 45.8% of consumers would rather communicate with a business through a messaging app than email.
The approach fuelling this is what we refer to as conversational AI.
It combines machine learning with language learning capabilities. This means we can use them to understand human language and generate relevant responses.
And it’s working. Using conversational AI is benefiting businesses by cutting down on costs, improving customer relationships, promoting customer engagement, and increasing traffic and leads. Read about some cases in point.
However, as with any emerging technology, there are ongoing developments in the field which means that users need to keep abreast of the latest. Also, if a company does not have a solid grasp on how to implement and optimize chatbots to benefit its business, then it may fail to show the desired results.
If you’re thinking of using conversational AI, be it via sales chat or an online form, here are ways you can optimize it and use it to generate more leads.
#1. First, choose a goal
Many companies are excited about the prospect of using chatbots without having a clear direction or vision of what they want to accomplish. Do keep in mind that conversational AI or chatbots are a tool rather than a strategy in itself.
You can’t expect chatbots to do all the work for you, so make sure you have an objective in place before you get started. For instance, you might have a goal of increasing lead generation by X% via a positive and personalized ‘virtual assistant’ experience.
Once you decide on a strategy and goals, you can decide what kind of chatbot you want to use and where you want to place your bot.
#2. Decide where you want to place it
You need to make sure your conversational AI or chatbot is placed on the platform where your prospects can benefit the most.
You can build bots across different platforms such as your website, emails, SMS, or instant messengers such as Facebook Messenger, Skype, Telegram, or Slack.
How do you figure out the right platform? Simple. Do some research or send out a survey to identify where your users spend the most time and focus on that channel.
If you have a high number of web visitors, you might want to tap into this audience and have chatbots placed on high-traffic pages.
IMPACT lists the following common pages to place your chatbot:
- High-intent pages such as product or pricing or landing pages. If a user is browsing these pages, it’s highly likely that the user is interested in your product or service. This will allow you to connect with users who are in the consideration phase of the customer journey. A sure way to get some toasty leads!
- High-traffic pages are your website’s most popular pages. You have a higher chance of sparking a conversation if you decide to use a chatbot on these pages, especially if your website has a lot of visitors.
- Negative intent pages refer to web pages where people land on due to negative intent, such as a newsletter unsubscribe page or complaints/contact us. You can place a chatbot here to learn why a particular web page is performing poorly and/or glean valuable feedback.
#3. Give your chatbot some personality
Since a chatbot is the face of your brand, why not inject some character into your bot’s ‘persona’ by giving it a unique name and personality?
Because, let’s face it, one of the functions of a chatbot is also to amuse/entertain your target audience and enhance their social experience with your brand.
Why do you think ‘digital assistants’ like Siri and Alexa are such a part of popular culture today? Because they create a memorable social experience that remains imprinted in our lives unconsciously.
Besides, it’s an important aspect of engaging and retaining your customers. Because a humanized chatbot is capable of warm, witty, and personal (the dream combo) responses, they are sure to make the experience emotionally engaging and authentic. Emojis can help, too. 😃
You find yourself idly thinking about that funny chatbot’s random response on your evening commute. But how do you flesh out a personality from a bit of code?
Well, just go ahead and have some fun with it. Here are some questions to consider to make your chatbot unique.
- What’s the main purpose of your chatbot? Customer experience? Engagement?Lead generation? Think about the kind of attributes that would lend themselves to your bot.
- Think about your company’s values – is there any aspect that could inspire your chatbot character?
- Think about tonality. What tone would you like your bot to adopt? Serious and straightforward? Cheeky and a bit wack? Sarcastic and funny?
#4. Write some engaging dialogue
There is no chatbot without conversation. Obviously.
Writing dialogue for chatbots or conversational AI can be tricky because the aim is to sound like a real-life conversation without actually being one. That’s why it’s crucial to get a creative writer or two (and those who also understand user experience and the customer journey) to create a lively dialogue or script for your chatbot, which builds relationships.
The opening lines have to be a winner because that’s what a user sees first. A good opening line usually sets expectations, asks a question, and elicits a response. Check out this example for HubSpot below.
You can see HubBot entices users to click with an intriguing statement followed by a question. Which makes you want to click and draw you deeper into the conversation.
In some cases, it may be necessary for the chatbot to pass on the conversation to a real person, so the dialogue needs to be written in such a way that this transition is seamless.
A few simple rules to follow:
- Keep communication crisp and precise
- Steer clear of jargon, long sentences, and complex words/phrases
- Adopt an upbeat, lively tone
- Always check grammar and spelling (nothing shows inadequacy like a typo)
#5. Gather insights to improve your chatbot
Imagine the wealth of data you can gain from routine, everyday conversations with customers. People are naturally more willing to share information about themselves when they’re being given personalized attention in a fun, engaging, and informal environment.
Email and social are no longer the only major channels to analyze customer behavior and help you understand your target audience. Using conversational AI can help you tap into real-time conversations, and a detailed analysis can reveal a lot about your buyer persona. This can eventually be used to develop your bot or make changes to the customer experience.
For instance, analyzing the words and phrases used in conversation with the chatbot can develop the chatbot’s language capabilities and make functional improvements along the way.
When you have a record of chat conversations, analyze it in-depth to learn more about audience demographics, behavior, and pain points, allowing you to personalize messaging to your target audience.
You could even proactively gather feedback by asking them to fill out an on-site survey or get them to answer a poll on customer satisfaction.
#6. Evaluate and optimize
The chatbot space is constantly evolving. As new features and technologies are being introduced, don’t forget to evaluate and optimize as you go along.
If you are getting started with bots for the first time, keep it simple and straightforward by introducing one or two functions at a time. Based on how your audience is interacting with it and feedback, you can make changes to adopt advanced functionalities once you are ready to deal.
As with any marketing tool, take a step back and review performance and your chatbot’s influence on customer satisfaction.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Is your chatbot achieving the goal you set out at the start?
- Is it causing an improvement in customer experience?
- How best can you improve its performance (based on data and analytics)?
Conversational AI Really Can Increase Your Leads and Revenue
At a time when user preferences are changing, conversational AI or chatbots have emerged as buzzwords.
Catering to the needs of the current crop of internet users who prefer the convenience and engagement of instant messaging platforms is crucial. Conversational AI has introduced a fun and social way to achieve this.
Most importantly, it’s impacted businesses, with companies seeing a significant increase in revenue once they’ve started to use it. When continually optimized, conversational AI will enhance customer experience and is guaranteed to generate qualified leads.
Let’s quickly recap how you can do this.
- Set a goal
- Decide where to place the bot
- Write engaging dialogue
- Inject some personality
- Gather some exciting data
- And evaluate and optimize
CloudTask is a managed workforce provider for growing companies looking for B2B Sales, Sales Chat, and Customer Support solutions. Its mission is to find prospects, nurture leads and satisfy customers to enable you to focus on what you do best.