Guidelines to design your bot

Follow the below guidelines from our conversation design experts to build a bot that functions more like human:

Conversation Design | More Human Less Bot

1. Build Conversation based on the persona#

  • Create a persona and fix the bot's favourite topics.
  • Set the tone, phrases, lingo inline with the bot's persona.

2. User Adoption#

  • Build conversations according to your needs.
  • Findability: Where does the user find the bot?
  • More Channels, More Awesome.
  • Horizontal Expansion
  • Vertical Expansion

3. Greeting Message: First Time Visitor#

  • Welcome the visitor.
  • Tell him/her on what the bot is capable of.
  • Add human-like touch based on the Persona.
  • Ask for introductions.
  • Use the visitor’s name.

4. Greeting Message: Revisiting Visitor#

  • If the user returns to the bot, ‘remember’ him/her.
  • If he’s left a use case midway, help him ‘revisit’ the use case and see if he’s still interested in it.
  • Confirm on whether details like name, age, address remain unchanged.

5. Meaningful follow-up questions#

  • Build conversation with meaningful follow up questions.

6. First Person vs Second Person#

  • Remember that when you frame the bot’s response.
  • First person ‘I’ refers to the bot.
  • Second person ‘You’ refers to the end user.

7. Show the user what the bot is capable of#

  • Guide the end user about the bot’s purpose.
  • Establish the most important use cases in the greeting message.

8. Bot Persona: Brand Influence#

  • Match the Persona with the brand.
  • Include the history, marketing slogans and taglines in accordance with the brand.

9. Include Rich Text#

  • Present the data in a way that everybody can interpret it without any confusion.
  • Prefer to add images, GIFs, videos, and links whenever information exceeds the screen.

10. Present Information in neat templates#

  • For organized and structured conversation design, use table/row/icon/button/cards/carousel.
  • This can help you condense the information and serve the purpose for the user and you.
  • Information in the recommended templates can add elegance to the UI and take less time to disclose the matter.

11. Acknowledge in simple terms/Acknowledge locations, names with proper capitalisation#

  • Once the user types in a query, acknowledge him/her to ensure that the bot has ‘read’ the query and ‘understood’ it properly. This is especially important in a search bot.

12. Avoid very strong Sentiment Phrases#

  • Frame phrases inline with the user’s possible inputs.
  • Clue: Positive phrases like ‘Perfect’, ‘Great’ etc will not go well with the negative situation.

13. Avoid Repetition#

  • If you find a self explanatory use case, avoid mentioning the same in the greeting message.
  • Also, avoid repeating sentences like
    • Can you rephrase what you said?
    • Please try again.
    • Sorry, there seems to be a technical issue.
    • so on...

14. Discourse Markers#

  • Intelligent use of discourse markers to have a human-like flow of conversation.
  • Discourse markers bridge sentences with logical connections. Use words and phrases like: So... But… Further… Additionally...

15. Mirror human conversation: No one liners/partial phrases#

  • Do not frame bot responses that are not proper sentences.
  • And frame them keeping in mind how a human being would speak.
  • Avoid one line responses; they look robotic.

16. Acknowledge Delays in Bot Response#

  • If the background API takes long time, let the user know that the bot takes some time to fetch the details.
  • If the user doesn’t understand why bot is not responding, there is a high chance that he/she assumes that the bot is hanging.

17. Include a delay between successive bot messages#

  • When 2 or more bot responses appear in one go, include a slight time delay.
  • Time delay can help user to read the messages one by one.

18. Easy to understand Text#

  • The bot language should be simple, unambiguous and concise.
  • Do not confuse the user with terminology that a laymen does not understand.

19. Do not make user scroll much#

  • When the bot gives out a response, the user should not scroll down much.
  • Condense the information to fit the bot screen.
  • Fit information into the screen.

20. Optimise Search#

  • Design efficient filters to get a finite number of search results.
  • The bot cannot present more than 10 search results in one go.
  • If the search results >10, ask further questions to filter results.
  • In case there are several results even in the last filter, offer options to expand within a sub filter.
  • If the information to be presented is too long, mention a redirection link titled ‘Read More’.

21. Break texts into reader friendly blocks#

  • If there are large chunks of text, people do not read them in full. So, break these chunks into reader friendly blocks.
  • In text bots, start the sentence with the most important part of the message. Bad bot verbiage: In order to process your refund, I need your phone number. Recommended bot verbiage: Please share your phone number so that I can process your refund.

22. Design FAQ section to reduce confusion#

  • Make sure that the bot is trained to answer all the queries when you encourage the user to type in any query.
  • Auto-completion feature helps user to get the job done easily.
  • Displaying keywords allow user to realize that their query will be resolved in further steps."

23. Upsell#

  • Do not deny or reject a query right away.
  • Try upselling, like a human agent would.

24. Confirmation before transaction#

  • When the user gives answers to a series of questions, acknowledge all of them together.

25. Handling Errors#

  • Never miss to assume the unhappy path of the flow. Here are a few scenario for which error handling texts are required. Scenario 1: User leaves the bot hanging, without giving any input. Scenario 2: User gives incorrect input. Scenario 3:User has a legit query but it falls outside the bot’s scope.

26. Handling Errors: Bot level checks for PAN, phone numbers etc#

  • Acknowledge with reasons on why the input is invalid.
  • If the PAN given by the user is of the wrong format, let the user know that the PAN is incorrect because it’s in the wrong format.

27. Closure "* Every use case needs closure.#

  • The bot should not stop with one use and hang right there.
  • Ask the user if he needs further help."