The 2022 Complete Guide to Chatbots

Chapter 7

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Best use practices for chatbots

Think like a user – When you start your project, step back and think like a user coming to your site or calling to ask questions. Get everyone involved from the receptionist, sales, marketing, engineering, support etc. It is important that you answer as many questions up front before you start developing the bot. This will save time with future changes, and it makes a good first impression of the bot to users.

Testing – Test the bot internally and then test it with trusted customers before launching. This is the best way to capture all the variations in a conversation and the nuances of a product or service, as well as customer support.

Human in the loop – Monitoring and improving the intelligence of the bot is extremely important, especially when you launch it.

Start small then build – Humans are complex, and mimicking a human is complex too. Start with the basic and most common support issues and lead / sales questions, and then build over time.

Guard rails – When a user asks a question that stumps the chatbot or is beyond the scope of the chatbot, make sure the chatbot can elegantly transition the conversation to a live chat, form, or phone call. The user experience is paramount. Don’t put the user in a loop of “I don’t understand your question.”

Secrecy – Don’t hide the fact that it is a bot not a human. Studies show some users open up more to bots than to humans.

Use humor – When things start going sideways, people are less likely to get upset if the bot does not have an ego and uses humor to diffuse an issue, misunderstanding or mistake.

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Greg Ahern
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