Chatbots are designed to replicate human conversation. If they’re unable to interact with customers in a natural and convincing manner, users tend to look to other customer service channels – missing a great opportunity to provide an enhanced customer experience and reduce agent dependency.
With this in mind, we thought we’d take a look at seven ways you can make your chatbot more human.
1. Establish a personality
Every one of us has our own distinct personality – a set of unique likes, dislikes, habits, quirks, and foibles.
If you’re to make a chatbot more human, you’ll need to build it it’s very own personality. It needs to have character and a set of traits and behaviours that help differentiate it from all the other chatbots out there.
Most importantly, the bot’s personality should inform everything it says. It should never break character.
2. Use all the media at your disposal
How regularly do your friends and family include emojis in a message?
While a chatbot’s primary means of communication is text, they can also communicate using other mediums, such as videos, gifs, and emojis.
If you can teach your chatbot to use images, audio, and video in natural and appropriate ways, they’re going to seem and sound much more human.
3. Natural Language Processing (NLP)
NLP is a field within artificial intelligence that tackles issues surrounding the interpretation and processing of language.
As humans, we have developed the ability to derive meaning from the written and spoken word and for language to evoke certain emotions based on context and subtext.
To complicate things further, we often derive meaning from the unspoken as much as the spoken.
Though they’re able to process text at astounding speeds, computers are yet to develop an intuitive understanding of language. NLP aims to equip artificial intelligence with the ability to interpret human communication with greater accuracy. It does so in a number of ways:
A more nuanced understanding of the ways in which language is used.
Take the following sentence as an example.
Arsenal played excellently last night. They destroyed Manchester United.
Taken literally, a computer may interpret this as Manchester United having ceased to exist. NLP provides the computer with the ability to interpret this in a more accurate, less literal manner.
An ability to identify errors in human speech.
Though we have a better understanding of language than machines, humans still regularly make mistakes. NLP allows computers to interpret these mistakes within the context of the entire sentence (as well as previous sentences it has recorded) and respond appropriately.
By allowing computers to summarise large blocks of text.
As humans, we often derive meaning from language over the course of a conversation, rather than self-contained phrases or sentences. NLP equips machines with the ability to summarise blocks of text, allowing it to replicate human conversation more effectively.
4. Take a look at Sentiment Analysis
Sentiment analysis is often considered a part of NLP. However, we feel that it’s important and influential enough to warrant its own section.
Essentially, sentiment analysis is the process by which computers process, analyse, and interpret a sentence, before attributing it a sentiment score. This sentiment score is typically expressed as either “positive,” “neutral,” or “negative.”
In other words, sentiment analysis allows machines to interpret language in a way that helps them understand how the user feels (in the most basic sense) about a subject.
This is particularly useful when it comes to chatbots because it can help determine an appropriate course of action or response.
If a customer makes a comment that’s interpreted as “negative” by the chatbot, it can respond by offering to put the customer through to a human agent or by requesting feedback.
5. Equip your bot with memory
Memory is one of the primary faculties that informs our sense of self and shapes our character.
Though a chatbot will never “remember” something in the same way we do, if they’re able to store and recall details relating to different users, they can benefit from the illusion of memory.
Whether it’s making suggestions based on previous purchases or recalling small personal details, memory goes a long way to making your chatbot more relatable, likeable, and human.
6. Make them a better listener
Ok – not all humans are good listeners. But your bot needs to be able to listen if it’s to provide a satisfactory customer experience.
This means ensuring that it’s able to pick out important information from a user’s message, even if it’s not been sent in response to a prompt. For instance, a user sends the following message to an airline’s ticketing chatbot,
“Hi, I’d like to book a flight from London to Paris on the 12th of January.”
A chatbot that’s a good listener will be able to identify all of the important information in that sentence (departure location, destination, and date) and will adjust its line of questioning accordingly – avoiding those questions it no longer needs to ask.
Customers find inputting the same information over and over again understandably frustrating. A chatbot that listens is not only more human, it lends itself to a more satisfactory customer experience.
7. Develop a comprehensive knowledge base
To make a chatbot appear more human, it’s helpful to try and replicate the processes involved in human thought. This makes them more autonomous and better able to respond to their environment.
To do this, it’s necessary to develop a comprehensive knowledge base. The knowledge base contains all of the content that determines how your chatbot responds to certain inputs.
It is the acquired data that it constantly refers to and uses to inform all of its decision-making processes.
If you want your chatbot to appear more human, providing it with the information it requires to accurately respond to customer enquiries is absolutely essential.
Developing more human chatbot services encourages a greater number of customers to engage with this efficient, cost-cutting customer service tool.
At a time when younger users are moving away from traditional customer service channels towards self-service options, chatbots are perfectly positioned to provide them with a satisfactory customer service experience.
However, it’s important to recognise that there’s a fine line between making your chatbot resemble a human and trying to pass the technology off as human. In some places, bots are now legally required to identify themselves as non-human).
In large part, this renewed interest in AI legislation can be attributed to accusations of foreign interference in the US national elections and concerns that bots have the potential to be used in problematic ways.
Though this is predominantly a political matter, it is likely to have repercussions for the commercial sector, too.
Consequently, organisations need to ensure that they’re taking these legal and ethical concerns into account. Inform has a great deal of experience designing and building chatbots and can ensure your organisation benefits from the latest in self-serve technology.
Have a question or want further information on improving customer service with Chatbots? Our expert team have been providing customer contact solutions for over 25 years. Call us on 01344 595800 or drop us a line.