Chatbots are a vital feature on the homepages of many brands and major businesses. For anyone looking to build on their success, it is always a positive to see them being used, gaining positive feedback and generating interest in the press. Yet, what are the true results from using chatbots? Companies are often less inclined to talk about that, but word is starting to get out.
Take a look at this piece from travel site booking.com, in 7 things you need to know about designing a chatbot they discuss the development of new chatbot Booking Assistant. Naturally enough, their key focal point was the conversation. Using entry points to ascertain a visitor’s likely intent and provide the appropriate information as fast as possible, getting the context right and using a suitable tone of voice for the company’s wide user base.
Those issues are key considering that many people are still unfamiliar with chatbots and may not understand the technology. User testing revealed a wide range of responses to the assistant, something that any major project needs to consider.
One thing the testers learnt is that while the chatbot may be a 24/7 tool, the human help or support element isn’t, which can lead to failure to deliver and reduced expectations. Any business that can afford it probably needs that human touch on call at any time. On a related note, since chatbots provided the fastest response of any help method, they rapidly became the default mode among testers, a pattern your real-world customers should also track.
One of the current hot topics of developer water cooler chats is the use of emoji in chatbots. Theoretically, they help get over language barriers and are faster to convey a range of emotional states. Let’s take a look at British Airways who last Christmas trialled a Facebook Messenger chatbot with personalised holiday offers based on emoji input.
The company’s head of marketing, Rob McDonald said: “Three in five people said that they find it easier to convey how they are feeling with the use of an emoji, so giving customers the chance to speak to us with them takes choosing a holiday to a much more exciting and engaging level.”
Their survey also revealed that 63%of 18 to 34-year-olds use emojis in most or all of their messages, while almost half of women respondents said they use emojis to convey feelings, emotion and mood when words won’t do the trick. Consider these ideas and statistics when building a chatbot and planning to incorporate the use of emoji.
The one quirk here is that BA only used the chatbot up to January 2017 at the end of a limited trial. Does this suggest they didn’t find consistent results or value?