Every week I talk to some of our customers to prepare for the launch of their chatbot. It is part of Spectrm’s service to check the most important aspects of launching chatbots, and it’s my job to help make it successful from the very beginning. Here are the most important things chatbot creators need to ask themselves before they launch:
Is the chatbot engaging at first sight?
It is tempting to explain every single aspect of your chatbot, every single possibility and way to interact in the very first message. Don’t do that. What you should do instead is make your audience interested and enable them to give it a try. You can always introduce all the amazing features you have built later on in the process. When you create your onboarding message, think about how to get the user really interested and curious. You could do it with a simple, actionable question like “So Gavin, are you a nerd for politics?”. If the user clicks no, that’s a great opportunity to showcase other options. What you have done though, is created an interaction from the very get-go. And this is only the start – you will do far more down the line.
Do users know why they should sign up to your chatbot?
Your users like your content, like your brand and want to engage with you. That’s fantastic. So why should they sign up for your chatbot? For you, it’s a great way to stay in touch with customers and present them with your very best content. What is in it for them? It is really important to make sure they understand the difference to the other ways they find your content: facebook, twitter and website are the most important ones. If you don’t have a concise answer to this question, I have very bad news for you: it’s back to the drawing board of your entire concept. But if you do: make sure your users know about it. Even better: explain the value of your chatbot compared to the medium you are promoting it on.
How will users find your chatbot?
Most platforms for chatbots haven’t quite cracked discovery. You will need to find nifty ways to let users know about it. The most important aspect here is to find ways to make it as easy as possible, the general rule of thumb being: the less clicks you need, the more users will give it a try. The most effective ways to get users to sign to your Facebook messenger for instance are:
- From your website: the “send to messenger button”
- From your Facebook page: the cover image
- From the timeline: the “message”-post format
Make sure to think this through. There is no point in having a chatbot if no one knows about it. And I can’t say this often enough: just because you have one, doesn’t mean that users will magically sign up. If you you need a little more guidance, read this.
Have you prepared for the “meaning of life” questions?
It’s a great start to create automated responses to questions that you know your users are currently asking your social media team. However: we have found that users absolutely LOVE to try and trick the chatbot and find the hidden “Easter-eggs”. For some reason users are asking the Spectrm chatbot how old she is. Others have experienced that users ask for the meaning of life and other questions that are not related to their company. This is exactly the reason why you should present at least a few questions and answers from the beginning. hecking down the line what your users are writing, you will be surprised. If they are trying to test the chatbot, and are pleasantly surprised, that’s exactly the kind of positive experiences that are unique to chatbots. They are memorable and shareable: that’s what you want.
Can users opt-out of your chatbot?
I know you don’t like to think about this as you are currently ecstatic about your launch and are strategizing on how to get to the first million users. There’s a practical reason you want to make it easy to opt-out though: users can just block you if they don’t want your content anymore . And whilst no one except Mark Zuckerberg himself knows exactly what happens a lot of users block a chatbot, from a technical point of view, we are pretty sure that is not a good thing.
There’s another reason though: spamming people is bad. Only idiots do that, and you are not an idiot. If some people don’t like your chatbot, that is absolutely fine, so let them go. There’s no reason to try and lock them in if they don’t like it. Focus on improving the experience for the users that do. In some cases a user will hastily opt-out, maybe because you sent them a little too much content at once. If you have done a good job before, the user will at some point check back, so you will want to ask yourself…
Can they easily opt back in?
It is quite common that users get used to your chatbot’s daily digest, morning briefing, or whatever format you are using to distribute. If a user checks back to the chat-window – what do they see? Is it a “k bye” kind of message? It should probably be something like: “Sorry to see you go. We would love to hear your feedback on how we can improve and if you change your mind, you can sign back up by clicking the button below.” If the user has received a positive message like this, it is much more likely that she will want to interact with the bot again in future