How to Create a Conversation on a Bot
October 15, 2019
After you’ve decided to introduce instant messaging into your business strategy, it’s time to put the “conversation” in “conversational marketing.” Like anything else, from choosing to run Facebook ads to buying space on billboards throughout town, the biggest step in your business strategy is deciding the marketing method is right for you. Then, you’ll need to decide how you’re going to use that lever to make the most impact on your business. In this case, you need to create a conversation to engage prospective customers. But, where do you start?
First and foremost, you need to develop your conversation flow. This will document what you want users to accomplish, what information you plan to collect from them and the path they’ll take from start to finish. Ask yourself what you want to talk about, be it lead nurturing, moving customers along the buyer’s journey, FAQs, scheduling or general assistance. The scale of your platform will drive the scale of your conversation flow. The greater the number of things users can accomplish within your platform, the more complex your conversation flow will need to be. Every conversation flow will start at the welcome message, and each option will branch off from there. Think of the org chart of your company – it’ll end up looking a lot like that when you’re done. When you reach key milestones in your conversation flow (maybe when the conversation switches to a human agent or they schedule a product demo) use different shapes or colors to indicate that milestone has been reached. This will also help you to swiftly identify any dead ends that don’t provide a solution to the user’s request. Mapping out your conversation flow is also a great way to spot requests that take too many steps to resolve. Remember, the more complicated or time-consuming users find the act of interacting with your bot, the less they will do just that.
When building out your conversation flow, keep in mind conversational marketing isn’t limited to just dialogue. In fact, there are plenty of elements you can sprinkle into your conversations that may improve user experience, expedite processing their request or provide them with personalized content. For example, carousels can be a great visual way to show multiple products side by side or help narrow down the type of request. Embedded maps can help users quickly see all locations near them or where to go in a store to find what they’re looking for. Buttons can help break up the monotony of dialogue, particularly if the user is limited in the number of options to drive the conversation along. Get creative with the visuals in your conversations, but don’t lean on them exclusively. What separates chatbots from a webform is its ability to have intelligent conversations with the user, so never let the buttons and carousels eliminate that dialogue. Instead, use them when it improves the user experience and supports, not derails, the conversation.
Make sure to build in areas where you can obtain information from the user. Whether this is requesting pertinent data, such as for the purposes of lead generation or nurturing, or if it’s more intuitive, like taking note that they’re researching mortgages or prefer morning appointments, this will help you offer increasingly personalized service every time they interact with you. With the shift from a business centric to customer centric culture, the ability to offer personalization can be just as important to consumer loyalty as instant gratification.
Once you know the paths your users can take, you’re ready to start building the actual prompts and responses your users will encounter. Here, you need to make a very deliberate choice: what will be the tone of your chatbot? Will it have a personality? Are you keeping this strictly professional? Consider what makes the most sense for your brand, as well as your industry. A major financial institution probably doesn’t want its chatbot to sound like your teenage niece recording a TikTok. On the other hand, a gym that caters primarily to millennials wouldn’t want to build responses that read like a legal affidavit. Find the happy medium that works for your brand. You want it to align with the messaging your customers have come to recognize as your “voice.” If you choose to create a specific personality for your platform, this still applies. Craft a tone that works for the personality but still aligns with your organization.
Finally, once you’ve developed everything you want your bot to be able to say, actually use it. It sounds like a no-brainer, but truly take your conversation for a test drive before you hit the open road. You want to catch any dead ends, loops, errors, typos or other funky issues long before your customers find them. Suddenly realize it takes 49 steps to find the store nearest you? Slice and dice that flow to something more manageable. Realize the tiny text is impossible to read on anything smaller than a jumbotron? Fix it now. Your grandma wasn’t talking about chatbots when she said, “You only get one chance to make a first impression,” but really, she kinda was. If you don’t want to lose credibility with your consumer base, you need your chat solution to put its best foot forward from the start.
Once you know what you want to say and how you want to say it – and you’re confident your platform is bringing its A-game – you’re ready to start engaging your customers. “That’s the million dollar question,” you say. “I don’t know what to say or how to say it, let alone how to build it.” Thankfully, you don’t have to go into it alone. With the help of our experienced Botco.ai team, we can turn that seemingly Mount Everest of a task into a long walk on the beach at sunset. We’ll even bring the mai tais. Schedule a demo with our team, and start your journey today!