Tone, text length, wording… Here are 10 good practices to consider before building your chatbot’s knowledge base:
1. Give your chatbot a name, but not just any one
Several studies show that your first and last names can strongly influence the way you are perceived by others. This is also true of your chatbot! Choose a simple and short name that is easy to remember, and in keeping with your avatar. The chatbot’s tone, references and possible analogies should also give the user an idea of its function and make it likeable.
For an internal company chatbot, ask the future users to choose a name. This will encourage them to later adopt the chatbot.
2. Level of formality
Be coherent with your brand. Your chatbot will represent your company via instant messages, so the tone and language should be in keeping with your brand, values and target audience. In addition to the level of formality used, think about the sense of humour, cultural references and expressions you have chosen for the chatbot to converse with the user.
3. Don’t forget introductions
Any good conversation starts with a greeting and introduction. The same applies to a chatbot. Why did you launch this bot? What is its purpose? How can it help users? In the very first messages, the chatbot should briefly but clearly explain its role in order to avoid misunderstandings and therefore user disappointment.
4. Stay focused, 1 idea = 1 message
Large blocks of text are not only difficult to read, they are also very different to the way people exchange in instant messages. A chatbot is a conversational robot and long speeches are not suited to a conversation.
It is therefore important to divide anything the chatbot says into just as many messages, for maximum readability and authenticity.
5. Stay below 300 characters per message
Instant messages can soon seem very long because of the way they are displayed, whether in a chat window or on a mobile phone screen. Make sure that your messages are no longer than 300 characters to encourage users to read them all the way to the end.
6. Avoid monologues
Chatbots are designed to provide a service, give advice, entertain… making politeness paramount. Your chatbot should not appear to be monopolising the conversation, so send no more than 5 messages in a row.
7. Favour a (slight) response time to an instantaneous message
Your chatbot is a machine and therefore performs as such. In other words, this means that your chatbot can answer a request within a millisecond.
To make it closer to its users, and to increase its likeability, add approximately 3 seconds between the user’s question and the chatbot’s answer. This will create the illusion that the bot is reading, thinking and answering like a real person.
8. Don’t only use text content
Once again, your chatbot should base its online communication methods on humans. Images, videos, GIFs and emojis are an integral part of instant message conversations. This kind of content allows to express certain emotions in an original way, often more simply than with text, and to therefore make the conversation more friendly and dynamic.
9. Don’t let the conversation drag on
Ideally, your chatbot should fulfil its objective in 2 minutes. Beyond that, you risk boring the user and causing them to leave prematurely. Your users want answers to their questions, so be direct and precise.
10. Misuse of chatbots – be smarter
No matter what your chatbot is used for, there will always be users who want to test its limits. Off-topic questions, jokes, insults or declarations of love… Forget the usual “I don’t understand” and think out of the box. Humour, originality and anticipation are key to ensure your chatbot is never caught out.