What Makes a Chatbot Likeable?

All chatbot developers should be aiming to design and build chatbots that are both personable and likeable. Unless you have a very specific goal in mind, an unlikeable chatbot will alienate users and ensure they steer clear of the technology in the future. This begs the question – what makes a chatbot likeable? Here, we take a look at seven factors that will help make your chatbot more relatable and increase its popularity amongst users.

  1. A Winning Personality

Users largely judge the likability of your chatbot on its personality. This means that you need to embellish and improve the tech with a coherent and well-developed character that’s in keeping with your brand.

The strength of a chatbot lies in its ability to replicate human conversation (while still being clearly a Bot). To do so effectively, it needs to be provided with personal traits. After all, human conversation is neither mechanical nor entirely functional. Instead, it’s made up of informal interjections, pleasantries, jokes, anecdotes, and errors. Your chatbot should make use of all of these features and converse in a way that enables users to latch on to its personal traits and form some kind of attachment.

  1. Aesthetics are as Important as Content

When it comes to chatbots: looks matter. Aesthetics are just as important as content when designing a likeable and useful chatbot. If an interface is too cluttered, difficult to use, or unattractive, it doesn’t matter how successfully your chatbot resolves enquiries, users will still avoid it like the plague.

Currently, the minimalist approach is the design aesthetic of choice. This means a stripped back interface, with few embellishments, strong lines and bold but simple colour palettes. However, organisations should be aware that design trends rise and fall and that a makeover will at some point be necessary if your chatbot isn’t to look dated.

  1. Think Beyond the Essentials

Inevitably, users will ask your chatbot questions that have absolutely nothing to do with your organisation, services, or products. AI tech is still a novelty and people want to see how they can push these intelligent machines – are they really as clever and revolutionary as everyone says they are, or can we catch them out? Consequently, there are going to be a lot of silly questions.

However, rather than batting them away with a fallback response, these types of questions are an opportunity to inject a little character and have some fun with your chatbot. By allowing your chatbot to answer some of the more random questions (Where are you from? What’s the meaning of life? Are you alive? are all eternally popular examples of this line of questioning), you demonstrate that you’re willing to engage, prevent users getting frustrated with a boring bot, and make your chatbot far more likeable.

  1. Make Sure It Works

It sounds simple, but if you build a tool that helps users successfully and routinely solve problems, they’ll head for your chatbot before they go anywhere else.

A chatbot that regularly proves its worth is habit-forming. This is where the true value of the technology is realised. If you’re able to convert individuals into regular users who head straight for your chatbot without being prompted to do so (these are known as ‘Volunteer Users’: the holy grail for all chatbot designers), you know that your chatbot is definitely doing something right.

  1. Move Beyond Words and Embrace the Image (or Emoji)

If you’ve been paying any attention to the way in which written communication has changed over the last few decades, it will have been impossible to have missed the growing importance of the image. Digital technologies have had far-reaching consequences on the way we use employ language. In many cases, both the written word and spoken communication have adapted to new technologies at an astounding rate.

Whether it’s the emergence of “text speak,” the introduction of new words to describe digital behaviours, or the invention of emojis, humans have repeatedly shown that languages are remarkably responsive to change.

Consequently, one of the key ways chatbots can be made more human and likeable is to ensure they stay abreast of such changes. Ensuring that they’re able to use the latest images, emojis, and GIFs in an appropriate manner makes them more relatable and enjoyable to use.

  1. Match Capabilities and Expectations

Perhaps the easiest way to create a likeable chatbot is to ensure it meets or exceeds user expectations. To do this, you need to understand what users want from your chatbot. This is often quite particular and not always entirely obvious.

Chatbots may be developed and implemented to meet one particular need, only for an organisation to find that users regularly and repeatedly engage the tool to solve a different problem. In such a case, efforts should be made to ensure that the chatbot evolves and is able to respond to such enquiries.

  1. Popularity

Humans are fickle creatures and we’re easily influenced. We like things that are popular with others and are generally happy to follow the crowd. Digital technology only seems to have reinforced this phenomenon and its power to dictate modern tastes and fashions is an accepted fact  – ‘influencer’ is now a valid and increasingly popular professional title.

What we mean to say by this, is that if you want your chatbot to be likeable, you need to make the most of the power of peer reviews. Push users to leave positive reviews about the chatbot and try and get people talking about your technology. Though this is easier said than done, you’ll reap the benefits of the snowball effect if you’re successful.

What Next?

In order to build a likeable chatbot, developers need to ensure that they endow their creation with a distinct personality. In other words, they need to make it more human. However, personality alone isn’t enough to ensure your chatbot appeals to users. As well as character, chatbots need to look good, meet expectations, and rely on the power of user referrals.

Have a question or want further information on improving customer service using chatbots? Our expert team have been providing customer contact solutions for over 25 years. Call us on 01344 595800 or drop us a line.