Users have tried chatbots for a while now. Some of them are fun and impressive. But people have also been dealing with bad technology and unsatisfactory prototypes. They tried to figure out why they should use chatbots, even though identifying the purpose is the job of its creator.
What is a bad experience for some, is an opportunity for creators. Do not present your users with a boring one that they do not understand. They will stop using it. Scripting an engaging conversation that makes users come back for more is not as hard as it sounds. Making a great chatbot is less dependent on the technicalities like conversation paths, keywords, and call-to-actions. The one thing that makes the difference in the end is whether it has a great personality. This personality consists of a purpose, matching characteristics and a suiting tonality. Crafting a personality is the most important part of chatbot creation. Taking the time to create one will pay off very quickly.
The first thing to have a closer look at is the way your chatbot ‚talks’.How to create your chatbot's unique tonality
Conversations in instant messengers have been a private domain up to now. People chat with friends, family and colleagues. Handle these conversations with care. Do not try to imitate a human being because people will immediately notice! Provide the crucial benefit of a chat: being personal.
How can one be funny, interesting and personal in interactive scriptwriting? Not by scribbling down some lines, picking one and then write some similar. Don’t start scripting before taking the step of creating the personality, thus it’s tonality. Developing it incrementally and skipping the conceptual work is a fatal mistake.
Form follows function
There is a reason you want to create the greatest chatbot in the world: You want to promote a product, a brand, or a person. Let’s take a look at some examples on how a chatbot's purpose is crucial to its personality and thus influences its form, the tonality it shows in conversations.
Rescue programmed a chatbot to call for help when you are not able or it is not safe to make a call. It scans all important information really fast, just like a police officer or doctor would do. Whether Rescue imagined this person while creating the chatbot, or if it happened by accident: The purpose of helping people very fast in a smooth and easy conversation calls for a focused, yet calm personality.
Clarity on your chatbot’s purpose helps a lot in finding a suiting personality. Outline about if its 5 benefits and prioritize them. The most important one has to be your main purpose, the reason you want to launch a chatbot in the first place.
If you are aiming at user engagement, learn from the best: Danish singer Aura’s chatbot represents Aura as an artist (personality), thus uses her own tonality and her ways of communicating with her fans. They turn to the chatbot for entertainment as well as information on their favorite artist. Aura’s very personal tonality suits the purpose to provide her fans with the feeling of being close to and engaged with their star. This engagement leads to user retention.
Poncho managed to create a chatbot that makes weather reports less boring by crafting a funny personality. It provides forecasts and then enhances its informational content with funny media and remarks. This entertaining part lets users enjoy the chats. The extension in Poncho's personality causes the switch to a more personal tonality, which leads to an engaging interaction and thus chatbot retention.
There is more to a personality than its purpose and tonality: characteristics.
How to do it: creating your chatbot’s personality!
Creating a full and concise personality is neither magic, guesswork nor luck, but work. This is how you proceed: Imagine you were a script-writer for a movie or play. As such you invent the personality by pinning down all its characteristics.
If your imagination does not provide the perfect persona instantly, these questions will help: Do you have a mascot (for a product or brand)? Does this mascot have a personality that might serve as inspiration? Is there a core value for your company in general or to its way of communication that could inspire the personality? Can you think of a person you know, a celebrity or a fictional character that your chatbot could resemble? Using one of those or even mixing different templates is your starting point.
Now you fill this person, animal, or whatever you chose, with attributes and facts: Age, heritage, friends, occupation, just make things up! Of course they have to make sense, correspond to your cause and be concise. When deciding on further features that are not distinct: Open a spectrum from, for example, ‘yoga-enthusiast and healthy eater’ to ‘couch potato and heavy drinker’ and place your chatbot personality somewhere in that range. Do it for several opposites.
There is no limit to your imagination but one: All the attributes and facts you make up have to make sense if you form them into one personality and fit to your brand. By the time you found a set of facts and qualities that really adds up, you can always ask yourself: What would my persona do? And your chatbot personality will give you the answer.
Your chatbot’s personality will now provide you with suitable ideas on the way this chatbot addresses the user: its tonality. Is it humble and nice or rather cheeky and sometimes a little off? Is its way of communicating structured and formal or rather funny and associative? You will also have to decide if the chatbot talks in the first person, singular or plural, or in the second.
Sound like a lot of work? The chatbot personality you are about to create based on this insight will make telling your story a lot easier. Your chatbot’s tonality will be far away from the boring machine described in the beginning of this article. Scripting your conversational chatbot will be as much fun as interacting with it!