Chatbot Personality – The Ultimate Guide to Creating Your Chatbot Persona

Bringing a chatbot to life is like bringing a new employee into the workforce and it’s crucial you nail the personality of your new customer-facing employee.  

With more and more companies using chatbots, consumer expectations about their effectiveness are increasingly high. 

Your chatbot has to be able to handle a specific set of use cases, communicate with the end user in the right way, and be an excellent ambassador for your company. Getting this wrong can have a negative impact on your user experience and satisfaction. 

Although it may sound obvious, it’s certainly not a small task.  

Just as you need to train up a new employee to communicate your brand values, your chatbot is no different. Except, you have complete control over what the chatbot can do and how it interacts with your end users.  

It’s worth spending a considerable amount of time at the beginning of your conversational AI project to make sure your chatbot is the best employee possible.  

After all, they’ll be a representative of your company. 

Why Do AI Chatbots Need a Personality?

Whether it’s dealing with new customer queries, complaints, or internal queries from employees. Your chatbot is about to become the voice of your brand. So, their personality has to reflect your business.

Designing that personality is part of defining the user experience (UX). So, the tone of responses and the way the chatbot interacts with your users is essential.

Having a clear definition of the personality will make it much easier for the conversation and UX designers to create a smooth and coherent user experience.

Here’s how to give your AI virtual assistant some real personality.

Creating Your Chatbot Persona  

First off, what exactly is a persona? Just like creating a customer avatar, your chatbot persona is a fictional character designed to embody the personality and characteristics of a brand or target audience.

Here are the questions your team needs to answer to create your chatbot persona:

1. What will the purpose of the chatbot be?

To best design a persona it’s essential to understand exactly what functionality you need from your chatbot.

Will it be interacting with employees as an HR chatbot? Or will it be the first line of customer service on your website to deal with queries?

It’s important to get clear on what the chatbot will and will not be doing.

2. Who is the target group of the chatbot?

Who will your chatbot be serving and interacting with? Consider the type of person they are: characteristics  such as their likes, hobbies, and interests.

If you’re planning to use the chatbot for customer service then you should already have an existing customer persona or avatar to guide you.

3. What company does the chatbot represent?

What is the brand and ethos of the company the chatbot will be representing?

What are the existing communication channels in use and how is the company currently portraying itself across all of those channels?

This is absolutely crucial to maintain consistent branding and responses across all communication channels.

4. What are your chatbot’s key features?

Now it’s time to really bring your chatbot to life. Think of this exercise like designing your character at the start of a video game.

Give your chatbot a name, age, and gender, and define their hobbies and interests to bring them to life and form an image of a real person in the mind of everyone who will be working on the solution.

5. Will your chatbot have a graphical representation?

If the chatbot is going to be available in channels with visual support, the last decision to be made here is whether the bot will have a graphical representation.

Once all these questions have been answered, it’s time to complete your chatbot CV.

Just like the example below, in which ‘Lisa’ is the conversational bot supporting customer service for a coffee shop.


How to Turn Your Chatbot Persona Into a Personality

So, now your chatbot avatar is born. It has a name, some interests, a purpose, and you know who it will be interacting with.

But your new employee needs a little bit more guidance on the appropriate way to interact with your customers or other employees.

This is where the personality of your chatbot comes into play.

Let’s take a look at some example questions to consider when deciding on your chatbot’s personality:

  • Do you want the chatbot to be funny and entertaining?
  • Should it stick to being informative?
  • Will the chatbot try to please?
  • Will the chatbot be apologetic?
  • Or will it even be sarcastic like Elbot?

The answers to these questions are not mutually exclusive.  You’re in control of your chatbot’s personality, so it can take elements from different personality types based on how you define it.

Take a look at how the four different chatbot personality types below handle the same customer question.

 

How Do You Let This Personality Shine Through?

Now you’ve created a chatbot persona and defined the personality type that will best represent your company. But, where can you let the personality of your chatbot really shine?

The short response is that the personality can and should be present in all responses. However, it should never overshadow the key message in business-relevant responses in a way that reduces clarity or causes confusion.

Let’s take a look at some example situations where your bot’s personality really comes into play:

The greeting message

The very first thing your users will see when interacting with your chatbot is the greeting message. This is where the tone of the conversation is set.

The greeting message should always contain certain pieces of information like the scope of the chatbot and the fact it is  a chatbot and not a human.

Other than that, this is where you should decide the most appropriate way to greet your users in line with your brand:

With a name
“Hi Molly!”
With reference to the time of the day:
“Good morning!”
With seasonal context:
“Happy New Year!”
Short and sweet:
“Howdy!”

Fallback responses

There will be times when your chatbot will fail to understand what the user is saying. This may be because:

  • Only part of the input matches a keyword trigger
  • The input may belong to a use case that is (still) out of scope
  • The chatbot simply does not, or should not, know about the topic of input

How your bot responds in these situations is critical to the user experience.

Which of the below options would you prefer if you were in the shoes of the user:

“I didn’t get that”

or

“It seems I wasn’t able to understand you. Please try to rephrase your question.”

It’s key that your bot keeps the conversation open to allow the user an attempt to rephrase the question and find the answers they need from the bot if the topic is in scope.

Small talk

You may not think that small talk is something you should dedicate time to developing for your chatbot.

And we get that. That’s why Teneo has a pre-built conversational module – the Teneo Dialogue Resources.

With a broad collection of intents that will allow your chatbot to understand and respond to inputs like

  • “Thanks”
  • “I like you”
  • “Hello”
  • “What’s your favorite food”
  • “Where do you come from”

There are also obvious choices for engaging with the target audience about the interests they may share with the chatbot if you’ve developed a chatty personality for your bot – like our example ‘Lisa’ below:

But why does your chatbot need to respond to small talk like this?

It may not be core functionality for your business, but your chatbot will look smarter in your users’ eyes.

Small talk is also where the bot can really portray your company image and express its personality. When did you last jump on a business call or talk to a customer service agent and it was all business from the off? Users often like chit-chat.

Connect With Your Audience

By following this process in the early stages of your conversational AI project, you will ensure your chatbot communicates in a way that connects with the target audience, fits your brand, and of course, achieves its primary purpose to solve the defined use cases.

A chatbot is more than simple programmatic code and uses cases. Your chatbot personality is crucial to providing a solid user experience,  so how you choose to develop the solution will be defined by a range of factors, such as what industry you operate in and the type of customers you want to engage with.

That’s why we’ve created specific guides to support the chatbot-building journey for key vertical markets such as finance and insurance.

When you develop your conversational AI bot with Teneo, our industry-leading Customer Success team will support you from idea to inception – including guidance on creating a chatbot persona that best serves your company. To understand how to choose the best Customer Success Operators in the Conversational AI sector, read our dedicated guide, here.

To find out more about starting your project with Teneo, talk to one of our experts today.

 

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