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How To Make Your Chatbots More Human

Humanize Chatbots

At the beginning of this year, we decided here at B Squared to add Chatbots into our rolodex of client services. But before we’d announce this new service to our clients, we knew we wanted to create a few examples and test them out on our own social media accounts first.

So in December of last year, before the new year came around, we spent some time creating a chatbot for our Facebook page, and a chatbot for our Twitter account.

Historically, chatbots and automated messaging services get a bad rap. The experience is usually bumpy at best and when your conversation goes off course, it takes hours (maybe even days!) to get a human to follow up with you.

With our mantra Think Conversation, Not Campaign in mind, we had a goal of creating a humanized chatbot for B Squared users, with as seamless an experience as possible.

Here’s what went into creating our friendly little helper, Dude Bot, along with some tips that can help you create a more human chatbot for your own company!

Humanize Chatbots

First, it’s important to know that we use Sprout Social for all of our social media management services. We love their platform so much that we use it for both our clients and our own accounts.

Sprout Social launched their bot services as a way to help their clients (like us) stay on top of incoming social media comments and messages as well as help create better customer service experiences.

How We Keep It Human

To keep things as human as possible, we created a bot that reflects the voice and personality of B Squared. Our company mascot is Dude, so for this purpose we transformed him into Dude Bot.

We wanted to give our bot a “face” and personality so that users on the other end of the conversation can feel like they are speaking to someone, not just into the abyss of the internet. Meet Dude Bot…

Dude Bot

As soon as you message us on either Facebook or Twitter, the above image will appear. We branded the bot with our company colors and made sure his responses match our brand voice and tone.

When a user messages us, Dude Bot automatically appears in the chat along with a conversational welcome message.

chatbot messageSet Expectations

We felt it was important to keep it transparent that a user is talking to an actual bot and not a human as soon as the conversation is initiated. Knowing it’s a bot, a user will most likely have a level of expectation when it comes to how personal the responses will be (although we did do as much personalization as possible!)

Most people don’t want to sit around corresponding with a chat bot all day, so we kept his responses clear and short. We included relevant “Dude” images with as many of his responses as possible.

dude bot blog

Instead of just using copy, the images appear with his responses to help liven up the conversation.

Humans Should Still Play A Role

In case Dude is not meeting the needs of those messaging him, we included options to speak with a human throughout the conversation flow.

When you start a conversation with Dude Bot, you’ll get a list of message options which dictate how the conversation will roll out. We created options that made the most sense for the messages we normally get. This helps save time for our actual humans, while creating an easy experience for the user.

chatbot options

When you get the same questions over and over again (as many companies do) a bot can save literal hours of human time, while still adding a human touch.

Keyword Triggers

In case the user has a question or comment that we did not list in our initial conversation buttons, we also created keyword options. These keywords, when typed into the chat by the user, trigger auto responses relevant to whatever they may be asking about.

For example, we use categories such as “complaint” and “pricing” and put in a handful of trigger word options for each. If someone types in any of these trigger words like “human” or “need help” a custom response will be sent by Dude Bot.

At this point, the message will show up in Sprout Social’s smart inbox, where our human community manager is keeping watch. If any hiccups arise, we have a human step in as quickly as possible.

Facebook vs. Twitter Experience

The chatbot experience on both platforms is very similar. The main difference for the user happens when the conversation gets started. On Facebook they require the user to trigger the conversation by clicking “Get Started” while on Twitter the bot image and welcome message automatically appear as soon as you click to message the account.

Aside from getting the conversation started, the appearance of the experience is a bit different on both platforms. On Facebook the message options are listed horizontally, and you need to scroll right in order to see all of them, while on Twitter they options are stacked in what I consider to be a more user-friendly appearance!

Final Thoughts

The thought of integrating Artificial Intelligence into your social media strategy may seem overwhelming, but Chatbots are an easy entry point.

If like us, you get many of the same questions on social media over and over again, chatbots can help do the work for you – as long as you continue to keep an eye on your pages, so that you (the human!) can help keep things as seamless as possible.

Do you use chatbots as part of your social media strategy? Let us know in the comments section below!


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Brooke B. Sellas is the in-the-trenches Founder & CEO of @HelloBSquared, an award-winning social media, advertising, and customer care agency. She's also the Co-host of The Marketing Companion podcast with Mark Schaefer, where they discuss jaw-dropping marketing trends. Brooke's marketing mantra is “Think Conversation, Not Campaign” so be sure to give her a shout!
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Sprout Social Agency Partner & Founding Member
Category: Chatbots, How-To
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