How proper conversational design helps chatbots create authentic customer experiences

Chatbots can fuel better overall customer interactions with these best practices

Miriam Libonati-Bitton

October 14, 20225 minutes

Conversational design example combining visual design with human conversation

Chatbots, digital systems, digital assistants — by any name, they are key to excellent automation and great customer experiences. They also significantly lower operational costs and increase efficiency and employee productivity. 

However, the automation journey for both companies and consumers takes time, commitment, and continual guidance to be truly exceptional. Recently, a sponsored article in CMSWire focused on chatbot frustrations, calling out some common problems brands and consumers face day-to-day. 

Below, LivePerson shares deeper insight on how to successfully navigate the AI chatbot user journey by overcoming those potential Conversational AI concerns. Let’s take a look at how brands can better connect with, understand, and support their customers with proper conversational design.

Challenge A: Customers believe chatbots are not as effective as brands claim they are

This was the first issue raised in the CMSWire article, and it’s something every company using automation on conversational interfaces has to handle. After all, human characteristics and real-time human engagement aren’t easily replicated. When creating the interaction design framework for various bots, companies need to thoroughly understand customer intent and the commonalities that can be replicated from conversation to conversation. These intents are often identified by natural language processing, NLU-based machine learning technologies that leverage testing to constantly improve and refine accuracy and authenticity.

There are a few best practices to keep top of mind throughout your bot-building journey.

Prioritize conversational design to create an authentic, more relatable customer journey and experience

Abraham Lincoln once said, “The only way to predict the future is to create it.” This statement embodies the concept of conversational design. Brands typically want to fix bot errors and, more often, prevent them from happening all together. 

While completely preventing bot errors is virtually impossible, reducing the risk of failure and increasing the likelihood of success is a realistic goal when implementing a proper conversational design methodology. Brands can create a powerful conversation design framework that leads to bot excellence by prioritizing steps, such as gathering and analyzing data around customers, processes, and systems, as well as honing in on consumer intents and customer journeys.

Continuously analyze and refine AI use cases across conversational interfaces

Deeper testing, analysis, refinement, and human engagement — like user research and a conversation designer — are critical to fully capitalize on the vast automation possibilities. Ensuring you have access to real-time data monitoring and the ability to build, evolve, and test each instance is critical. 

Testing should be ongoing to ensure data is constantly refined and understood. Human conversation can be complex, so building these automated versions takes time, patience, and a data-driven mindset. 

Think of it this way:

Human agents are trained and nurtured to ensure they continually have the right resources to successfully manage customer conversations. Bots should get the same love and attention. They need consistent nurturing and guidance to reach their full potential.

Aim for a complete, unified offering by thinking beyond bot building

Brands serious about creating better digital systems and bot experiences should start by thinking beyond just bot building. If the goal is to provide a seamless experience for employees and customers, companies should not only be looking at the customer data coming in, but also identifying ways to unify and disperse that data into their operational framework. By capturing customer details, brand and market information, conversation history and engagement, and even global event details (i.e., a pandemic or natural disaster), human and digital assistants are empowered with highly valuable data that can be accessed at any point in the conversation.

Challenge B: Customers want a human component in chatbot interactions, but not too much

This is the second concern raised in the CMSWire piece. Many industry leaders want more human-like bot experiences, and they look to automation to amplify the engagement capabilities beyond human agents. But Conversational AI doesn’t replace human-to-human engagement. It makes it better and allows brands to scale how they listen and respond to customers.

Customers also want to feel understood throughout the conversation, rather than being a mere recipient of a constructed, robotic digital system. However, in some cases, customers may feel like a bot conversation is too human, creating an uncomfortable, creepy experience.

That creates a difficult challenge: How do brands design conversations to provide a personalized yet transparent experience for each engagement? Staying aligned with these best practices can help start the journey.

Create personalized experiences with Curiously Human™ automations

LivePerson creates Curiously Human experiences, capturing the essential elements that flow from natural language and conversations, such as intent, sentiment, and context. The AI then uses this emotional intelligence to create relatable and accurate conversation flows that can be continually guided and evolved.

Envision a bot that understand, learns, and anticipates needs, while also showing empathy and building trust with the consumer. This can be any brand’s reality with the right conversation design and data capture to build from.

Treat Conversational AI as one powerful piece of the greater customer engagement puzzle

While Conversational AI is critical in optimizing bot performance and foundational to the experience, the true power comes from creating a holistic customer engagement solution that not only helps brands identify and respond to consumer intentions, but also captures essential data and conversational insights within a single point of reference. This enables brands to streamline essential pieces of information to the right folks — human or bot — at the right time. 

Brands can create a holistic customer experience by understanding who their customers are, what they want, how they engage, and what makes them happy. That experience encompasses valuable insights and awareness that elevates customer communication strategies and offers an authentic, enjoyable cross-channel experience, no matter your conversational interface.

Every brand’s customer engagement journey is different, but starting with a strong yet agile automation foundation is paramount for successful evolution. From identifying the best technologies and conversational design strategies to the data analysis used to inform broader business decisions, brands can create authentic AI-powered automations that create meaningful customer engagement — an emotional connection that starts with the first interaction — while delivering outcomes that increase revenue and reduce operating costs.

Explore more ways LivePerson uses conversation design and AI to enhance the human touch in customer engagement