Social media and instant messaging have taken off as the dominant form of communication online. Nowadays, web users have higher expectations than ever before about instantaneous engagement, so real-time communication is essential to providing good customer service and information. Chatbots are exploding as the source of these things, with the added bonus that they are endlessly customisable and allow you to present your business in a unique, engaging and memorable format.
However, the pitfalls of dreary copy and formulaic experiences with your chatbot are many, and extremely off-putting for web users expecting a dynamic and engaging experience. These copywriting tips for your chatbot will make sure your bot stands out from the crowd.
Before setting up your chatbot, you need to understand two things. First, what are you trying to achieve with your bot? If your chatbot is handling customer service, it’s going to need a different script than if it’s providing a selling role. A narrow understanding of your chatbot’s role helps you take the next step in understanding the audience that will interact with it. Thorough market research is essential as different demographics use the web in radically different ways - you need to be able to mimic the right tone for your users to have an engaging experience. Further, knowing your demographic well lets you understand the terms on which they’re engaging with your business, so you’ll be speaking the same language.
Chatbots can be fun and unique ways for your target audience to engage with your business, and if done right you can charm potential customers into becoming repeat clients. For this to happen, your chatbot needs to have some personality! This begins with finding the right name - nothing boring or generic, and usually a fun, quirky touch goes a long way in establishing customer rapport. “One of the fastest growing trends in chatbots is to give them human names for a personal touch,” advises Phillip Thibodeau, business blogger at Draft Beyond and Research Papers UK. Users will engage with a chatbot that doesn’t feel like the pre-programmed robot it is, so allow your chatbot to use humor or even sarcasm to overcome the digital barrier.
As mentioned, knowing your audience is key to creating an engaging chatbot, so some industries will require a more dry, informative and professional approach than others. But in general, a chatbot can be playful and interactive to encourage a good ROI from your user base. Asking the relevant questions in a playful way can give the user a sense of excitement and experimentation simply from entering the chat and keep them coming back. Your bot is likely to need to repeat itself, so making sure it can express the same information in a variety of ways rather than single phrases that become repetitive is another important idea to factor into your chatbot’s copy. And lastly, the all-important error message - how your chatbot replies when it doesn’t comprehend a user prompt - needs to be unique and engaging, as this is the most frustrating element in most user’s chatbot experience.
“For an engaging chatbot, brevity is key,” says Martha Yeager, copywriter at Writinity and LastMinuteWriting. Creating organic conversation means prompting a natural back-and-forth that keeps the user engaged and responsive. Concise and relevant messaging is essential in this exchange. Don’t let your chatbot chatter on in long messages and limit the messages to one or two at a time as too many notifications can be off putting for users.
Your chatbot will, inevitably, have a finite bank of responses with which to reply. For this reason, it’s essential that you guide the user into a series of exchanges your chatbot is equipped to respond to. Asking questions is great, but avoiding open-ended questions prevents your user from deviating into new topics, causing your bot to stumble and the user to disengage. Thinking about questions with a narrower scope will allow your chatbot to have a natural interaction and guide the user through a satisfying experience with your business.
There you go - the ultimate rules for engaging copywriting in chatbots. Creating your business’s chatbot can be a fun and rewarding experience and in this exploding market a good chatbot will get you ahead of the rivals. Go ahead and find your voice.