3 Mistakes to Avoid in Bot Conversational Design


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While automated customer service is by no means a new tool, companies still struggle to unlock its full potential to offer efficient and personalized customer experience (CX). The key to unlocking this potential lies in knowing how to leverage conversational techniques to maintain a dialogue that makes customers feel understood and taken care of.

The strategy for achieving this dialogue in bots is referred to as conversational design. It encompasses analyzing and interpreting data using a structured approach, as well as building the output of bots to be natural and empathetic.

Successful design brings the worlds of both humans (customers) and bots into conversational and technological harmony, where both are quickly and correctly understood. Easier said than done! While there are many tactics, tips, and tricks to setting up bot conversational design, here are a few key mistakes to look out for when shaping bot engagement:

Mistake #1: Not leveraging customer information

You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and so, each bot conversation should start with a personal touch. When possible, bots should begin each interaction by greeting the customer by name (and if possible, anticipating their ask), as well as introducing themselves.

For example, instead of a generic greeting like, “Hello! What can I do for you today?” take the opportunity to insert a level of personalization that places the customer’s concerns at the center of the dialogue, with a response like, “Welcome back, X. I see that you have a pending order here. Do you have any questions about your last order?”

By starting with this introduction each interaction will feel fresh, personalized, and most importantly proactive. This proactivity reinforces to the customer that their needs are being met just as efficiently as they would be with human customer service – if not more so!

Mistake #2: Communicating like a bot

An important element to automated conversations is ensuring that the bot adopts a human cadence to their responses. This means they don’t engage in long monologues but rather keep a conversational tone that allows room for the customer to interject and respond.

For example, instead of saying, “You have selected three cheese pizzas and one pepperoni. Please confirm this selection,” adopt a conversational tone that invites the customer to respond, such as “Ok, that will be three cheese pizzas and one pepperoni. Is that all, or would you like to order something else?”

Questions and confirmations are essential elements of good conversation. As with human-to-human dialogue, this has a friendlier effect and motivates the customer to remain in dialogue with the bot.

Mistake #3: Offering dead-end responses

It’s vital to keep the customer dialogue open for additional inquiries because this will ensure customers leave the interaction satisfied. By ending each interaction asking if they need anything else and suggesting a next step, the conversational door is left open.

For example, instead of the bot responding with, “I can give you general information about X and Y,” request further engagement from the customer and keep the dialogue going by saying, “I can give you general information about X and Y. Are any of these items of interest to you or are you looking for something else?”

Offering a variety of options is a great way to keep the conversation flowing and to ensure all customer needs are met. Again, that proactive anticipation of customer needs is a big win when it comes to customer service.

Every Word Counts

The details of bot conversation may seem trivial, but each detail of the design ensures customer interactions are successful. Investing in dialogue that welcomes customers, puts them at ease, and addresses their needs effectively will increase bot usage rate and consequently alleviate work for the customer service team. Using bots effectively frees up your customer service representatives to take on handling more complex customer inquiries, growing their skillsets and experience along the way.

While conversational design can appear intuitive at first, it requires an in-depth, structured approach. By following clear steps and avoiding mistakes like the ones listed above, bot output can capture a human tone and address customer needs with automated efficiency.

Carlos Carvalho
Carlos Carvalho is a Senior Consultant at Junokai, a German CX consultancy recently acquired by Majorel. With his in-depth knowledge of agile (customer) service design, digitalization and strengthening customer service integration, Carlos has held several executive positions leading European customer service organizations.


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