Four ways to improve a customer relationship with a chatbot
As the newest addition to the BotXO team, I guess an introduction is in order: My name is Line, I specialise in user journeys and UX, and in this article you can read about my thesis work on chatbots and how it became a stepping stone to land the job as Customer Success Manager & Bot Operator at BotXO.
Line will give a talk about her thesis at the IT-University of Copenhagen the 6th of September between 16:00-18:30. Sign up for the event on Eventbrite here.
How my interest in chatbots started?
So, how did I figure out that I wanted to work with chatbots? My interest started approximately a year ago, when I was a student at ITU studying Digital Design & Communication. At that time, I was trying to figure out, what I wanted to focus on in my master thesis. My interest in chatbots slowly began as I read more and more articles on how fantastic chatbots were, yet whenever I interacted with a chatbot I was left with a feeling of frustration. The articles I read mostly discussed the branding value of chatbots and how many resources could be saved by implementing one, which I felt neglected something I view as key for a successful implementation: the user experience.
It was at this point it dawned on me that very little knowledge about the user experience of chatbots existed. Furthermore, I was interested in knowing how a focus on the user experience could improve the customer relationship. I therefore turned my frown upside-down and turned my frustration into a curiosity of how companies could improve their customer relation using chatbots.
Spring came around and my thesis partner and I had done extensive research about chatbots and had done workshops, focus group interviews and user tests. Our data focused on how the user interacts with the technology, but also how they perceive the technology, as this can influence their willingness to interact with a chatbot. We focused on Nordea and their customers to be able to get an understanding of what the context means for the user experience. From our thesis we had four main findings, which we viewed as crucial parts of the user experience. Even though we focused on Nordea our findings can be seen in a broader perspective, as I would argue that that the four findings are essential for any business that wants to implement a chatbot.
The four findings to improve the customer relationship with a chatbot
- The purpose of the chatbot needs to be clearly communicated to the user from the beginning. In that way the customer can adjust their expectations and can assess whether the chatbot can help them. This can also prevent that the user spends a lot of time in the chatbot before realising it cannot help them, which, if avoided, can improve the user experience. Therefore, ask yourself how to best introduce your chatbot, and how to clearly communicate what the chatbot can help your customer with. I always argue that this should be done in the very first message.
- The chatbot’s communication should guide the user through the process. The customer should never be in doubt of what they are supposed to do and it’s therefore important that the chatbot very explicitly guides the user through the communication flow. The reason this is important is that if you are going to leave your customer guessing how to communicate with your chatbot, there’s a chance that they are going to get creative and an even bigger chance that they will end up in a fallback path. Therefore, if you want your customers to press buttons, tell them. If you want them to type their reply, tell them.
- Personalised content was viewed as positive, as the users wanted to receive information that applied to their specific situation instead of general information. This also ties nicely together with the first finding, as the user should be made aware of what kind of information they can expect to receive from the chatbot. Now, this does not apply to all chatbots, but none the less something, which you should consider whether is relevant for your chatbot. If your customers usually contact your business to get advice on their specific situation, and those types of inquiries are the majority of the submissions you receive, then it is possible that your chatbot should accommodate this. However, if the majority of inquires you receive are FAQ about your business and product and not necessarily tied to the customer’s specific situation then the personalized content is not as important. Therefore, consider how to best accommodate your customers’ expectations and use personalized content in a way that makes sense to your business.
- The last finding is that the chatbot’s relation to the customer should not differ too much from the existing relationship you have with your customers. It’s important to create a synergised user experience across different channels, so the chatbot seems familiar even if it is a complete new way of communicating with your business. Ask yourself why customers usually are in contact with your company and what they need help with and try to figure out if the chatbot can complement this process.
From thesis writing to working with chatbots
Though, the above were the findings for the thesis’ research question, the thing that made me eager to work with chatbots was the fact that despite all of our informants expressed different levels of frustration, they were all optimistic about the future of the technology.
This notion really excited me, as of course a technology is not going to be great from day one – I mean, Rome wasn’t built in a day either, right? Accepting that the chatbot technology has a huge potential, which has not yet fully been explored and realising that I really wanted to be a part of shaping where the technology goes, is the main reason I wanted to be a part of the BotXO team.
If you are interested in hearing more about Line’s thesis, you’re in luck – Line will be joining a group of thesis students, who will be speaking at the IT-University of Copenhagen the 6th of September between 16:00-18:30. See the event on Facebook here and sign up for the event on Eventbrite here.
If you are interested in hearing more about how to get started, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org – or give us a ring if you need more customer cases +45 26 71 58 45 .
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