Chatbots are getting better and better, as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies are enhanced over time. Couple that with recent advances in natural language processing, and it’s easy to see why chatbots have gone from simple gimmicks to powerful tools when it comes to sales, marketing, and customer service.

The statistics don’t lie. 35% of consumers want to see more companies using chatbots, while 40% don’t care whether a chatbot or a real human helps them, as long as they get the help they need. One 2017 study from HubSpot found that 26-36 year olds were willing to spend as much as £481.15 with a business via a chatbot.

All of this means that chatbots are an effective way for modern marketers to engage with their website visitors and to increase conversions. But with that comes the question of personality: should we try to pretend that the chatbot is a person, or should we embrace roboticism?

Decide what kind of character you need

According to Drift, 48% of consumers prefer a chatbot that solves issues over a chatbot that has personality. That might sound like a lot, but when you rephrase the statistic you realise that 52% prefer a chatbot with personality over one that can actually help them.

The good news is that functionality and personality aren’t mutually exclusive, which means that you can implement a fully-functional chatbot without making sacrifices on character. That’s why, when we’re designing chatbots, we need to think outside the box and come up with ways to charm users whilst supporting the business goals and the brand message.

Tactics for giving your chatbot some character

To give a chatbot character, you must find ways to make it seem more human; whether that’s by using slang and vernacular, or whether it’s by cracking jokes or referencing pop culture. Think outside the box by using rich media such as images, GIFs, audio, and video. With that said, it’s shrewd to keep the chatbot as simple as possible. Complexity increases the prospect of errors.

This goes back to the fact that it’s more important for your chatbot to be fully-functional than it is to give it a fun character. In the vast majority of cases, the best way to build a chatbot is to start with functionality and to build the ideas out from there. With functionality first, you can plan your bot’s sense of humour and add special features.

Your chatbot’s personality and character comes from the way in which it completes the tasks that it is given. If it can’t

Focusing on the user

Ultimately, a good chatbot puts users first whilst supporting the overall goals of the business. This can be tracked through quantitative metrics associated with ROI and conversions, and can also be measured with qualitative feedback and chatter on social media. When you get it right, you’ll know. But only if you’re listening and measuring properly.

Remember, there’s no such thing as a “finished” chatbot. Your work will never be done. Once the chatbot has been launched, you must monitor the usage patterns to determine how often it’s being used, who’s using it, and what they’re trying to achieve. This will help you to identify areas where users disconnect without converting; and to take steps to correct the issue.

Summary

Chatbots are widespread, and there’s a good chance that your customers expect this option. If done with care, attention, and an appreciation for function in line with customer needs, chatbots are a powerful tool to maximise conversions and optimise customer support.

The advantages outweigh the implementation costs, especially with so many third-party tools in the market today. A chatbot will give your brand a digital representative who is active 24/7 and can point prospects and customers in the right direction on their journey.

Not everyone likes chatbots, but it’s a valuable communication channel for those who favour the method. It comes down to your audience and their preferences. Certain demographics are more likely to engage and interact than others. Not all websites need a chatbot, but the vast majority can benefit. Adding your own unique character will help you stand out from the crowd.