9. January 2017–
What happens when you take a sneak peak at a private beta forum on all things chatbots? You unveil a treasure trove of information that will help you design the perfect bot for your business.
The chatbots people want
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to hear that there is a high interest among the chatbot community for games using the technology. You might already be familiar with Emoji Salad, which is played via text message, and The Adventures of Rogelio Price, which was built for Facebook Messenger.
“I think chat bot developers don't understand the potential for games on all the messaging platforms,” Joseph Burchett writes. Everyone is hungry for more and just waiting for that “killer bot game.”
The real tricky part is finding investment.
What about a bot that edits texts for unnecessary words, while correcting grammar, spelling and punctuation mistakes? That could be handy for a CV, thesis or a work report.
Or what about one that lets you take a photo of a product, scours the internet searching for the best offers and even lets you buy it via Facebook messenger or WeChat?
Another idea? A bot that helps kids work at their own pace, while suggesting what they could do next based on their skill level.
The list goes on and that is exactly the point: the possibilities are endless.
Creating personality and making your bot stick
Before creating a chatbot that users will connect with, or “stick to,” you need to develop a sense for the bot’s personality. And the personality needs to suit and further develop your brand.
The bot's personality will directly impact user experience and the more human and conversational your chatbot feels, the better it is for your customers.
That is why it helps to create scales to describe the personality elements of your bot: boring to annoyingly energetic, shy as a mouse to aggressive as a hippo or dumb as a pile of rocks to Nobel Prize-winning potential. These scales can help you and your designer decide what vocabulary is appropriate for your bot and how it will respond in certain situations.
Some “Bot Wranglers” even create an entire backstory for their chatbot. Does the chatbot have siblings? Where would it have grown up? What were some of the chatbot's biggest life events? Anything to help solidify the bot as an entity with a particular way of interacting and responding.
Basic functions every chatbot must have
“A way to get human help,” when everything fails, writes user Cristina Santamarina. This is the equivalent of a contact button on a website, Matt Schlicht, Founder of Chatbots Magazine, adds.
Basic words, like help, stop, menu and contact, should be trigger words across all bots to create parallel expectations for users.
Other important features include a great introduction to hook users, while explaining the scope of the bot’s potential, and the opportunity to start over, or wipe clean, past interactions.
And when it comes to handling error, it doesn’t hurt to add in a bit of humour, says Ian Jacobs. If the bot, in all its confusion, can provide “self-aware” responses that evoke a bit of laughter from the user, odds are they won’t immediately “abandon the experience.”
The best platforms for your bot
Telegram, WeChat, Alexa, iMessage, WhatsApp: there cannot be a single winner, at least not yet.
In the consumer space, certain platforms are limited by regional success: WeChat is predominantly used in Asia and Facebook is not available in China.
Without a doubt, WhatsApp stands to be the best platform, as it has the largest footprint worldwide, but Facebook first needs to open their platform to bots.
In the meantime, Facebook messenger might have the greatest overall reach, making it a top platform to test out a bot. And when it comes to B2B, the chatbot community thinks that Slack is where it’s at.