When you’re reading this post, you're likely about to design a conversational experience in LoyJoy. No matter if it is your first experience or your 100th, this post is for you. Based on the most successful experiences we’ve designed over the past years, I’ve compiled the seven most important rules for conversation design. I stick with the number of seven because it is the maximum capacity our brains can handle and put into action.
So, print this post, put it on the wall, laminate it, do whatever it takes to keep these in mind. 🙃
Now, here we go:
1) A chatbot is not a website
There is a fundamental difference between a website and a conversational experience (aka chatbot).
People scroll over a website’s content swiftly on the outlook for what catches their eye.
A conversation instead, has their full attention by design. The typing indicator (three moving or jumping dots) creates suspense. The customers unconsciously ask themselves, "what comes next"? People will actually read everything you write. This is a big chance to get your message across. But it is also your duty to make it worthwhile.
So, keep the dialogue as short as possible and get to the point.
2) It’s not a monologue
I know, your brand has a lot to tell. In the real world we sometimes have to endure boring, self-centered monologues and cannot walk away easily without being rude. In contrast, if the chatbot conversation is boring or overwhelming, customers can leave immediately. And they will. To only provide the most relevant information is an art, and it is key to not lose interest of your customers. As a rule of thumb, never push more than two messages without an option for the customers to interact. This could at least be a “Proceed” module to convey some form of choice and let customers decide how quickly to continue.
3) Design with a clear goal
The key principle of a good conversation is leading by asking the right questions. The same applies for chatbots. With questions, you can guide the customer and lead them towards a goal.
To be able to ask the right questions, start with the reason why you’re designing the conversation. What do you want to achieve? How would you talk with a friend to achieve your goal? There’s no difference between your friend and the customers in the conversation.
4) Have fun!
This leads to another important rule: Have fun! Talk with a friend, not a stranger. Make it a personal conversation. Use the element of positive surprise by adding gamification elements. LoyJoy offers a unique animation selection. Have you tried them all? Having fun leads to better conversations as well. Want proof? In A/B tests we typically achieve 20 to 30 % lift in conversion rates just by adding gamification. This really makes an impact.
5) Be immediately interesting.
Don’t waste the first message by saying something generic like “Welcome to brand x/xy. We’re the best and happy to have you here, bla bla.” Instead, start with the value of the chat like “Just take our quiz and win”. The worst start would be “How can I help you?”. I know, everybody does this mistake. Don't fall into this trap, please. For two reasons. First, this open question means the customer has to formulate and type a request, which is not convenient. Second, you would depend solely on the AI to classify the intent of the customers. While AI is an impressive feature, it is far, far from anywhere near a human intelligence.
6) Minimize options
For sure your brand has a lot to offer. Wouldn’t it be nice to have as many options as possible so that for each and every customer there would be something? Actually, it would not. There is a phenomenon called the "paradox of choice". If you offer too many options, like more than three, customers will be overwhelmed. In the end, they might not pick an option at all. Be their guide! Take your customers by the hand and help them reach the goal swiftly. It’s your responsibility to guide them and explain.
Offer quick replies instead of asking customers to type something in. People love the convenience of just moving through the conversation with their thumb. Typing is error-prone and takes too much time.
What if you have more than three options in your conversation?
You could build several experiences and integrate them on different pages for example. Or you bundle options to start with max. three options. You can then have more options later in the conversation.
7) Peer review
Never build your experience alone. Get feedback from colleagues and also from friends and family that bring a fresh perspective.
Now that I have told you all the seven secrets, let me illustrate this with a simple, but successful example.
The LoyJoy DFB- Raffle with Instagram-integration
Are you now ready to launch? Congrats! Launching is great. And it's the beginning of something new: you are directly able listen to what your customers have to say. Analyse the performance of your conversational experiences, read the customer feedback and optimise based on the feedback and performance. And remember: Have fun!