AI is currently a hot topic not only in robotics but in marketing and user onboarding as well. Chabot’s used as “trainers” are newcomers and it is not yet clear what patterns they should follow to bring benefits to the users.
Leo Kyrpychenko tried more than 20 Slack’s chatbots and summed up his experience in the article published by Chabot’s Magazine. Based on his experience, chatbots have yet much to learn.
We also got in touch with few of them and now we can present you a list of key factors you should bear in mind if you want to engage a chatbot in user onboarding.
1. Start with a set of questions
It is unlikely that users asking for help from a chatbot will be able to explain what they need in detail. If they have to do the first step, they can feel confused and insecure.
Instead, let the chatbot be proactive and initiate the conversation. But how to successfully start a conversation and help the customer if you do not know what he or she needs?
Provide him with few hints. Few general topics you can further elaborate on are a good start. The advantage of the hints is they make the conversation dynamic from start to finish.
How to start the conversation? You can follow the example of Slovak daily, Denník N. By pressing the “Get started” button, bot offers the most preferred option which is receiving important news in Messenger. If you’re not interested, you can press Back and return to main screen with other options.
2. Answers in form of buttons
The available answers should have the form of buttons to make the conversation as interactive as possible. Well-known chat services can be a great source of inspiration. Facebook’s Messenger or Slack’s chatbot follow the same pattern.
They do not ask the users to type the answers; instead, they offer them few pre-suggested options from which they can choose by clicking the particular button.
Such conversation has a pile of benefits, the most significant one being that users can communicate with the chatbot without typing a single word.
Allow me to introduce OverBotom, the first commercial Messenger bot in Slovakia, which can verify the domain availability and purchase it right away.
If you provide the user with optional pre-suggested answers or further questions, you can lift the success rate. Don’t forget you have to know how to react. Compared with open questions, this form of communication is more reliable.
3. Plain English is the best English
Simple formulations in texts for user onboarding guides are in the center of attention. Chatbot communication is no exception. One of the main UX copywriting principles says: “Write as you talk.”
When designing a chatbot, avoid overcomplicated structures and use concise expressions and simple words. Do not use any jargon which could be misinterpreted or sound confusing.
The tone of the chatbot’s conversation should match the style of your brand or resemble the language of your target group.
Main communication platforms these days are smartphones. You can be almost sure that users will ask your chatbot for help via smartphones. As different smartphones have different resolution, don’t forget to do the testing and change the questions and answers accordingly.
Otherwise, the users will have to scroll down and down to read the whole question or hint which could end up with turning the chatbot off.
4. Give your chatbot a personality
When you choose the most suitable style, stick to it and use the same tone of voice during the entire communication. If you are flirting with the idea of personalization and individual character of your chatbot, don’t forget that change of routines could position the user out of conversation.
5. Don’t repeat yourself
One of the weaknesses of pre-suggested answers can lie in their repetitiveness. Try to suggest as many hints on answers as possible to avoid the “robotic feeling” of the conversation. You can vary the pre-suggested answers or questions or rearrange them when displayed again.
6. Be well-prepared as mistakes are unavoidable
Even if you approach the architecture of onboarding chatbot responsibly and prepare him for all possible scenarios, there is always a chance that users will turn to him with question he cannot answer.
You can minimize the risk of failure by predefined options, but not eliminate it.
Therefore, you can equip your chatbot with universal answer which can direct the user to, for instance, different or more generic options. If such situations arise, you can remind the user of what is the chatbot good for and show him or her a hint to demonstrate how to formulate the question.
Example: If you are negotiating the price with OverBot and you don’t type the price in words (six) or in numbers (6), he will tell you exactly what he needs you to type.
Are chatbots appropriate form of onboarding communication?
The opinions on chatbot usage in onboarding process vary. Some experts think that chatbots are not the best onboarding tool because if users need help, they must close the app. By doing so, continuity is replaced with chaos, the enemy of fine user experience.
We, however, haven’t given up on chatbots yet as we think that in some cases they can perfectly support the user onboarding. Especially if a chatbot can substitute a helpdesk operator.
You don’t have to leave the app and ask for advice via Facebook’s Messenger every time you want to use chatbot, after all. There are plenty of apps and websites using chatbots as inseparable part of the user interface.
A bot deeply rooted in the app can react and answer users’ questions more promptly than a real person. Furthermore, chatbots can save your company customer support operation costs. As they do not go to bed, they are available 24/7.
Before you get down to designing your own chatbot, draw up a set of questions with corresponding answers. Don’t forget they should be clear, easy to understand and businesslike.
But how do you know what your users desire the most? Build on the experience from your co-workers from customer support or carry out user testing.
The prime mover behind the communication should be always the chatbot. Instead of saying hello, offer the users a set of most frequent questions which they can choose from.
The best choice is to provide the pre-suggested questions or answer in form of buttons.
The answer rate is higher as the users do not have to type over and over to express their needs. Pre-suggested answers or questions also lift the success rate.
Would you like to try out a guide for your app or website? Discover our complex user onboarding platform, YesElf, on which you can not only create the onboarding processes, but measure them as well!