Chatbots are now mature enough, and there are plenty of good examples out there, to show any business how they can help improve their customer experience. Even so, the odd bad example shows up, reminding everyone that good service needs to be worked on. 

We’ve all experienced great and poor customer service. Yet, while most of us will make a mental note to go elsewhere next time, chatbots are the easiest form to complain about thanks to their impersonal nature. That’s why press articles about bots are so biting, since they take all the flack, and the metrics are black and white (or a scale of one to five).

1. Customer Service Is Always Personal

While one checkout assistant might be excellent at your local grocery store, we don’t complain about the others who ploddingly fill our bags without so much as a smile. Similarly, you might rate a great meal five stars on your social app, but do you often give a functional-at-best dining experience one star? Yet, when a chatbot takes over from your usual contact point they are easy to pick holes in, when things don’t work out.

That’s why bots need to provide that personal touch, even if they are only based on a script. The key for any business is to see how its best customer service people work and replicate that in bot form. If you don’t have a current customer service team, as many startups find, then take experience from the world around you.

Remember the people who make a script not seem like a script. Note the little “can I help with that” touches that go above and beyond what you were expecting. Building those elements into a bot conversation can make all the difference to the satisfaction rating and a successful conclusion.

2. Keep Your Chatbot Promises

With any project, moving from idea to design to development and going live provides many opportunities for elements to fall off the radar. With your bot, a feature might be dropped, lost or blended with another. However the process goes, you need to make sure the final bot meets all the promises you make to customers and users.

You also need to ensure a successful conclusion can be reached at every stage, and that adequate help and support is there for when the bot cannot provide a definitive answer. Keeping all the original key features or a whiteboard or Slack note is essential to delivering on a project and then ensuring that any marketing or customer information matches to those features is the best way to provide realistic expectations for users.

3. Maximising Customer & Business Benefit

You should be well aware of the key questions your customers will ask, and any bot should be preloaded with every variety of ways they can ask those questions, along with all the answers. Ensure these are the priority interactions for the bot once past the meet-and-greet stage to get the best results and see the bot generate maximum benefit for company and customer.

If you bot has the capacity for linking to previous interactions, or can pick up where it left off, then use this to shorten the conversation.  Also, if the bot is acting in an advisory capacity, as more bots are likely to do, then they need to do the small print thing very well. Offer to send small print by SMS text message or email, to save filling the chat window with text. Make acceptance tick boxes or conversation points very clearly marked, and ensure they meet regulatory requirements.

Finally, don’t be afraid to use the bot for upselling of products or services, but do so in a friendly way, and if the customer isn’t interested then stop doing it.

4. Make It Fun

Brands are already showing the way people can have fun with chatbots, from LEGO to airlines there’s no reason to be stuffy or stick to text. Where appropriate, allow the bot to be expressive, using characters or the products to do the talking. Many developers aren’t known for their sense of fun, so look to the business and take suggestions about how would be the best way to add personality to the bot and help give it the right company voice.

5. Train Your Bot Well

Business bots and those operating in a particular market need to know both brand-specific or industry-specific jargon and references. Training the bot to give the right answer, to understand detailed terms requires training. Invest in proper training for your bot to work well, from human feedback to AI services that help the bot learn how to function better. Bots like SnatchBot provide a platform to offer a complete suite of services, allowing you to focus on making the bot the best it can be for your customers.

Modern bots can also suggest answers to new questions, making them even more useful to the business and helping to boost customer satisfaction. While your business might not understand the detail of AI features like natural language process and AI bots, their benefits can improve any bot, so don’t be afraid to try them out.