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Updated by Jelena Cekic on May 25, 2018
Headline for 7 Ways to Add to a Chatbot's Functionality without Killing Its Personality
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Jelena Cekic Jelena Cekic
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7 Ways to Add to a Chatbot's Functionality without Killing Its Personality

We’ve compiled a list of 7 tips for improving your bot’s performance without compromising its best and most relatable feature – your bot’s unique identity.

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Use NLP to Understand Colloquial Language

Use NLP to Understand Colloquial Language

A bot can be strictly professional or delightfully cordial, but it still must satisfy the user’s primary need. People approach bots because they need a solution to their pain points, but they don’t always have time and patience to describe the problem in detail. The bot must always be able to understand them.

Natural language processing (NLP) makes that easy.

While talking to a human-like bot, people tend to use the same kind of colloquial language that they typically use when texting their friends. That means a fair amount of slang and a lot of abbreviations. NLP enables the bot to understand context, therefore creating a loose and natural conversational flow.

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Provide Small Talk Context Understanding

A human-like robot should be able to chit chat with users and make small talk before or after the query has been solved. It’s what every great customer service rep does, and what most people expect them to. This too can be accomplished with NLP, though there are other ways to program a bot for chitchat.

Third party solutions like Lex, Wit.ai, and Api.ai offer a great alternative.

Similarly to the chatbot platforms that provide ready-made templates (SnatchBot’s Bot Store comes to mind), these tools also offer out-of-the-box solutions, only for small talk. They’ll teach your bot how to respond to common phrases and collocations such as how are you, thank you or what can you do.

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Add Empathy with Sentiment Analysis

People prefer human touch because they like to know that they favourite brands genuinely care about their problems. Until recently, this element of successful CX has posed the greatest challenge to chatbot developers and owners. Not anymore, since AI is now finally enriched with sentiment analysis. With SnatchBot’s pre-trained ‘negative entity’ NLP model, for example, it only takes a few minutes to add a feature to a chatbot that detects signs of frustration in the language of the user and offers to take the conversation to Live Chat with a human.

Sentiment analysis can teach your bot to discern different emotions and to respond to them appropriately. If the user is frustrated, the bot will be able to empathize, change the approach and get serious about solving the problem at hand. If the user is satisfied, the bot will know to share the joy.

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Make the Bot’s Personality Consistent

Make the Bot’s Personality Consistent

The bot’s ability to recognize emotions and change its response accordingly must not imply dramatic shifts in tone. Having a personality means remaining consistent throughout the emotional spectrum, so make sure that your bot doesn’t seem schizophrenic when shifting between tones and emotions.

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Redirect Unknown Intents to What You Know

A vast majority of chatbot users is tech-savvy. Though they expect top-notch service, they do know that they are dealing with a machine. These users will forgive you for your bot’s limitations, but only as long as you help them learn how to talk to your bot without confusing it with complicated queries.

When a bot fails to understand the question, or simply doesn’t know the answer to it, the best way around it is to redirect this unknown intent to what the bot actually knows. The bot will then say: I will get back to you with an answer shortly, but for now, please try rewording or specifying your question.

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Collect Actionable User Feedback

The improvement of any product depends on the developer’s ability to collect, analyse and apply actionable feedback. The same goes for chatbots, with one notable distinction. Unlike many other products, bots can collect feedback on their own, without ever bothering users or wasting their time.

All chatbot interactions are being recorded, which means that you don’t really have an excuse for not taking improving upon this feedback. Alternatively, you can create a short post-chat survey that won’t take up much of the users’ time, but will still give you a valuable insight into your bot’s performance.

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Keep Monitoring Success Metrics

The best chatbot platform is the one that offers multi-channelling capabilities for all of its state-of-the-art features, including NLP and machine learning, but still doesn’t require any special coding skills or technical background. Currently, this trophy goes to SnatchBot, and will likely remain in their possession. But even with the best platform such as this one, you still must monitor the bot’s success.

Capabilities that you need to stay vigilant about are unknown intents and points of repetition. Both of them can show you the speed at which your bot is acquiring data with machine learning and the way it uses this data to form new responses. The analysis of unknown intents will help you bridge the gap in bot’s knowledge, while points of repetition will help you create a more natural conversational flow.

Oh, and keep tracking engagement and retention rates.

If something seems off, you might need to revisit your onboarding program.

*Summary
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Though chatbot technology is still in its early phase of development, it already shows not only the immense potential but also the enviable level of user-centric functionality. Besides, bots are becoming smarter with every new interaction, all thanks to embedded AI, NLP and machine learning.

As for ways to make them better without killing their personalities, they are as follows:

  1. Use NLP to understand colloquial language
  2. Provide small talk context understanding
  3. Add empathy with sentiment analysis
  4. Make the bot’s personality consistent
  5. Redirect unknown intents to what you know
  6. Collect actionable feedback
  7. Keep monitoring success metrics

Happy chatting, everyone!

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Introduction

87% of customers think brands need to put more effort into providing a consistent experience, which implies 24/7 availability, speed and great quality of service. Though chatbots can successfully meet all three of these requirements, they do have one tiny, but critical drawback – they lack the human touch.

State-of-the-art bots compensate this with built-in personalities.

Their avatars, names, and voices have been designed to make them appear less robotic, but also to personalize interactions and provide the expected dose of familiarity. Having just about any kind of chatbot is no longer enough for acquiring competitive edge; it’s personality that delivers a solid USP.

With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of 7 tips for improving your bot’s performance without compromising its best and most relatable feature – your bot’s unique identity.

  • Jelena Cekic is a creative writer and blogger at Podroom Creative with a Master’s degree in Serbian Language and Literature from the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Novi Sad. She is passionate about topics like lifestyle, art, travel and gastronomy. Her latest writing attempts include works of fiction.

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