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An Essential Guide on How to Add a Human Touch to Your Chatbots


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Customer experience is the new battleground for ecommerce. It's the key differentiator that most brands are looking at to separate them from their competitors. If you have a premium quality customer experience, users will be willing to pay more for your product.

According to this PWC study, convenience and efficiency are two of the most important aspects of a positive experience. That's why many online businesses have turned to chatbots to provide instant, round-the-clock, service.

The Role of Chatbots in Online Business

Traditional chatbots have been around for quite some time. These are rules-based programs that can respond with pre-set phrases. They can also perform simple automated tasks. These kinds of bots have proven useful for streamlining simple customer service functions.

Businesses using CPaaS (communications platform as a service) software can integrate chatbots into multiple channels. A CPaaS system lets you use APIs to customize your communications pipeline. There are online resources for more on cpaas meaning.   

How Can Chatbots Enhance the Customer Experience?

Even a simple chatbot has some clear advantages over using contact forms or human agents.

1.    24/7 Service

Chatbots work 24 hours a day, giving your customers support whenever they need it. For answers to frequently asked questions or simple transactions, they're a more cost-effective option than staffing a contact center. 

2.    Lead Qualifying

If you're using chatbots on a retail website, they can pre-qualify customers for you. They can ask questions to gauge the customers' level of interest and engagement. Your sales team will get pre-qualified leads to act on from these interactions. 

3.    Faster Resolutions

Any simple query can be resolved almost instantaneously by a chatbot. There's no delay in looking up information with cloud-enabled data management. This can have a positive effect on customer satisfaction when combined with good service. 


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The Rise of Chatbot AI

Yet, these bots have clear limitations. After convenience and efficiency, the most important factors of a customer experience are friendly and knowledgeable service. That creates a problem, how do we combine the speed and efficiency of a bot with these human traits?

That's where AI-driven chatbots are attempting to bridge the gap. These more advanced chatbots use machine learning and natural language processing. This means they are capable of interpreting customer queries with more nuance.

This is an important step in more human communication. A rules-based bot can't deviate from its set patterns. It can't appreciate the context and it can't provide customized responses. A well-trained AI bot works with data in real-time to do all these things.

Chatbot AI has developed to a point where it can be integrated with your mainframe modernization software to support users.

This doesn't necessarily mean they can provide human agent levels of interaction, though. Making a chatbot seem more human isn't just a one-sided process. How the user feels about their interaction will ultimately determine how "human" the chatbot feels.

Why Does Humanizing Chatbots Matter?

Personalization is important to customers. Recent studies have shown that up to 60% of customers will become repeat buyers after receiving a personalized experience. If a customer has to converse with an automated assistant, that sense of personalization is lost.

Using modern database warehouse storage and CRM software integration, AI chatbots can see existing customer information. This allows for a seamless transition into the personalized service a user would expect from other channels.

A positive user experience also requires friendly service. You can work a friendly tone into an automated bot's messaging but it's much harder to make a conversation with a bot seem natural.

There's a bit of a contradiction in what customers want here. Efficiency and convenience are best facilitated by bots. Friendly and knowledgeable service is best provided by humans. AI chatbots are helping to reduce the differences but they have some way to go.  

You can use related metrics like customer satisfaction scores to optimize your chatbot. But, if you really want to make interactions with your chatbots more human-like, then some human intervention is needed.


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How to Add Human Characteristics to Your Chatbots

It's important to remember that it's not just how the bot acts and converses that matters. It's also down to the psychology of the user and how they perceive the bot. Just like with human advisors, optics, tone, and message are all equally important for bots.

Match Your Brand Image and Tone

When you think of the most iconic chatbots, it's unlikely that some automated online assistant comes to mind. You're probably going to think of an AI-assisted virtual assistant like Siri or Alexa.

That's because these bots have personality. They don't just give pre-programmed responses, they converse with the user. They're capable of interpreting the context of speech as well as the content. They can even tell jokes and have spontaneous interactions. 

When you make a chatbot a part of your business's digital transformation, you need a clear picture of what you want your bot to be. The personality should match your brand image to avoid clashes in tone.

You need to know how customers view your brand and what personality types you attract. Many businesses build psychological profiles based on the 12 archetypes of psychoanalyst Carl Jung as a model.


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These characteristics can go a long way in determining how your bot should converse. These archetypes have different values, likes, and dislikes. The bots' tone and character aren't the only factors in conveying a personality, though.

A Face and A Name

Image is important, if your customers can put a face to your bot it will lead to more positive interactions. Some businesses have swapped out text-based chatbots for digital humans. These are AI assistants with a computer-generated digital presence.  

It's long been established that most of our communication as humans happens non-verbally. Our body language, tone, and facial expressions are more important to conversations than our actual words.

That gives these bots the advantage as they can use body language and facial expressions to assist in conversations. Using an omnichannel AI chatbot with a digital presence is, in theory, the best of all worlds.

They have access to the same integration of customer information as an AI bot. They also have the advantage of seamless operation across multiple channels. Then, they have the human traits conveyed by a digital human presence.

Of course, the costs of implementing a solution this advanced would be significant. Simply giving your AI bot a friendly avatar and a human name can be an effective way to connect with customers.

Speech Patterns & Filler Words

Humans aren't perfect, we hesitate, we say words like "um" and "err" and we use slang and jargon. Bots don't need any of this but, sometimes, having a few of these human traits can make them more endearing. 

Simple gestures like input delays with "(chatbot) is typing" messages can make a conversation flow more naturally. From the way your bot constructs sentences to how many contractions it uses, there are a lot of variables to consider. 

That's why it's more effective to have a bot that can make contextual choices. An AI can match its speech patterns to the situation or to a customer profile. This is important no matter whether you're using a text-based assistant or voiced chatbot for your internet based phone service

Emotional Processing

New technological innovations are helping chatbot AI to get more sophisticated. Thanks to technologies like Microsoft's Azure cognitive services, AI can now recognize emotions both from images and text. 

This kind of sentiment analysis is important. When we converse with each other, we naturally show empathy. This is something that AI struggles to account for. With emotional recognition, AI's can respond to how a customer is feeling with more natural empathy.

If you integrate enterprise grade software with your existing infrastructure, you can use it to improve your customer experience. Think of how much more effective your IVR would be if you could recognize the emotion in a customer's voice.

Seamless Handovers

Just as there may be situations that your current system can't handle and it may require ibm i modernization software to provide a better experience. Similarly, there will always be situations that chatbots, even advanced ones, can't handle without additional support. If your chatbot gets stuck in a loop and can't progress a customer's query, then any semblance of human interaction is broken.

It's important to build your chatbot with this in mind. The whole purpose of having these advanced chatbots is to create a consistent customer experience. Whether a user is talking to a human or an AI, they should be getting the same great service.

That means you need to ensure that when your chatbot encounters something it can't handle, it can recognize that. Then, you need to build a seamless handover process to an appropriate human agent.


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Final Thoughts: AI & Human Intervention

Even the best AI needs human input to reach their potential. The progress of an AI-assisted bot doesn't end at implementation, it can learn and refine its behavior. As you work with your bot, you can guide it to the correct outcomes.

There are web app testing tools that will help you test the functionality of your bots. Yet, only a person can tell you how interacting with your bot feels. Use feedback from your staff and customers to help your chatbot build connections.



Richard Conn - Senior Director, Demand Generation, 8x8

Richard Conn 

Richard Conn is the Senior Director for Demand Generation at 8x8, a leading communication platform with integrated contact center, hosted phone solutions, voice, video, and chat functionality. Richard is an analytical & results-driven digital marketing leader with a track record of achieving major ROI improvements in fast-paced, competitive B2B environments. Richard has also written for other domains such as Kustomer and Check out his LinkedIn.

Published Monday, July 18, 2022 7:32 AM by David Marshall
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