Writing for chatbots

Writing for chatbots guideline is created on 19 Oct 2018

An introduction to chatbots

A chatbot is a software that’s able to converse with users using triggered ques. Usually incorporated in companies to pick up where Customer Service representatives are unable to, i.e. when users contact your social media feed during midnight, chatbots are designed fully by lingual content.

Before you start

Before designing a chatbot with your words, try getting these basics down first from the stakeholders of the project:

  1. Context - What is this chatbot meant to do? What kind of user experience is it meant to touch base with? What user segmentations are we targeting? As bots in general only do one specific automation, it’s best to understand which interaction with users we are automating. That’s way, we’ll be able to give users a flow which provides them with a satisfactory end result.
  2. Character - Will this chatbot take on a personality that’s more serious or friendly? Or does it use a more modern and trendy approach to its language stylistics? Carve out the characteristics of the chatbot earlier on since bots are unable to use natural language. You’ll have to design the language around it and it’s best to use a language style that fits your user segmentation.
  3. Channel - What platform will this chatbot appear on? Facebook? Twitter? Our own websites? Knowing the platform will help you in structuring the conversation flow better. Certain platforms also support additional visual content such as emojis or GIFs. So understand the channel that you’re working with to make the most out of your interactions.

Common interactions

End messages

Users will see this message when they want to opt-out from the chatbot. Always be courteous when this happens. You can always structure the conversation in a way that asks the users why they’d like to leave, this will give us better insights on what needs to be improved.

Lexicons

Lexicons, or a list of vocabularies that one uses, help to further define the chatbot’s personality. Certain words are usually associated to a certain personality type, i.e. using simple words are usually associated with friendly people, which is why lexicons are important to keep your bot in character.

Visual content

Witty or moving visuals help to drive your message forward for certain conversations. It also gives your chatbot a layered personality and mannerism, while conveying the set tone to users.

Tip: Visual content such as emojis and GIFs can be a double-edged sword for your conversation, as they may give off a vibe that’s aloof. So be picky when sprinkling these delightful treats in your chat design.

Welcome messages

Known as the message that users see after they’ve opted in, this is where the chatbot’s personality will be highlighted most. Give users the best welcome experience ever as first impressions matter. This is also where your conversation will branch out. Give them what they came for as soon as you can, as we want the conversation to continue seamlessly.