Chatbots have evolved from merely functional tools. Now, chatbots are brand ambassadors. They are used in every sector—from e-commerce to gaming. A chatbot can significantly impact the customer experience, so it’s necessary to get it right and avoid damaging your enterprise’s image and reputation.
Users want the efficiency of a bot, combined with the human touch. So, to get it right, you need to design a chatbot that is both functional and fun. Functionality is the easy part. The challenge arises when you want to produce a personality that enhances your brand.
Why Do Chatbots Need a Personality?
Crafting a personality for your chatbot can transform it from a bland tool to a brand ambassador that your users will love. Chatbots are becoming increasingly popular with both enterprises and customers. In this time-critical world, both parties like the efficiency offered by chatbots.
Users also want the more personal touch of human interaction. A great chatbot should combine both, like what PySpark is, which integrates programming language and web server software.
Crafting a personality for your chatbot has several benefits:
The human touch – if you inject a bit of realism into your bot using creative speech patterns and images, you can give a more human feel to your bot’s interactions.
Sharing potential – your chatbot can stand out from the many dull and unsophisticated bots by making its interactions fun. If users have their needs addressed efficiently and have fun in the process, they are more likely to share their experiences with others.
Generate a customer-centric approach – When you focus on providing tools that meet your user’s needs, you demonstrate that your brand cares about its customers and wants to make their interactions efficient and enjoyable. Happy customers improve customer lifetime value.
Personality Vs. Performance
We’ve established that to make a user’s experience with your chatbot more enjoyable, you need to give it a personality. However, their personality must not override their performance. Users may enjoy a little quirkiness amidst their interactions, but they still want your chatbot to be efficient.
69% of consumers prefer to use chatbots because they deliver quick answers to simple questions.
Maybe your chatbot exists purely as a means of enjoyable interactions. If that’s the case, then you can make the chatbot as fun as you would like if it meets the user’s needs. In most cases, chatbots have a task-oriented purpose and should focus on performance over fun. When designing your chatbot’s personality, find the right balance of functionality and fun.
Here’s an example of a fun chatbot created for a fundraising campaign.
How to Craft a Chatbot Personality (Without Damaging Its Performance)
Chatbots play a vital role in conversational marketing. A chatbot that gets the job done and makes the customer’s experience enjoyable is the goal—not an easy task, but not impossible.
You want there to be social proof that your chatbot quickly provides relevant answers to customer queries or directs them to an employee who can.
Try the following steps to help you design a chatbot that can transform your users’ experiences from adequate to exceptional.
1. Craft Its Persona
Before you begin to think about your chatbot’s personality, you need to establish the image you want your chatbot to generate regarding itself and, by extension, your brand.
A human’s persona is how they present themselves to the world. It’s the outward symbols by which society defines a person, like their profession, interests, or beliefs.
Users tend to test chatbots and ask random questions just for fun. If you enable your chatbot to answer questions that are unrelated to its purpose, you help create a more rounded, human experience that creates an emotional connection.
To do this, it’s important to balance the following aspects:
Brand identity – while you want to give your bot the ability to go “off-script”, you still need to ensure it maintains your brand identity and values. Your chatbot is a brand ambassador, and it must represent your core values and be recognisable, adhering to your brand design including colour scheme and logos.
Purpose – The persona of your bot should support, not detract from its purpose. To define a bot’s purpose, you need to identify why the bot exists. What do you want it to do? Is it a bot to help filter customer service enquiries or is it simply to act as a means of fun interaction with your brand?
For example, if you are a company that sells domain names in Australia cheaply, you want your bot to reflect that so you offer the right type of support for website visitors.
A chatbot’s persona should be present, but it shouldn’t supersede its primary goal — meeting the user’s needs.
Target audience – Examine your target audience and establish what they need the bot to do. Your bot’s design will depend on your audience’s demographics, interests and hobbies. You can’t expect to match everyone’s values, but you should try to resonate with most of your users.
For example, a chatbot for a company that provides sales coaching techniques would use professional and relevant language rather than trendy slang.
2. Define Its Personality
You’ve established the persona you wish your chatbot to convey. Now it’s time to develop the personality behind it. Humans tend to attribute human traits, emotions, and intentions to non-human entities, including AI. Humans want to interact with bots the same way they do with humans.
To make bots feel more human, we must add recognisable human traits as part of a defined personality to create that connection with the user. Crafting the right personality for your bot is as critical as choosing the right chat software for your business.
You could map out your chatbot’s personality using models like the Myers and Briggs Personality Indicator (MBTI) or the Five-Factor Personality Model (FFM). Use these models to establish how your bot reacts when it’s in neutral mode. Is it introverted or outgoing? Is it always agreeable, or does it lean towards sarcasm?
All your bot’s personality traits should remain within the bounds of its persona and hence your brand values.
For example, if you provide health advice, your bot may be interacting with sick users. Empathy should be in its personality, and its language and phrases will need to translate that characteristic.
3. Provide an Identity
If you are going to take the time to design a chatbot with a personality, you also need to give it an identity.
Don’t skimp on the appearance of your chatbot. See it as another opportunity to showcase your brand. Perhaps you provide business phone installation; could you include a telephone in the avatar design?
When it comes to designing the identity of your chatbot, think about:
The target audience – Give your bot an avatar your users will be happy to interact with. The chatbot for a legal firm should engender the attributes customers seek when they need legal advice, such as a conservative appearance and formal language. A bot for gamers could have a more relaxed, casual appearance that resonates with their users and adopts gaming slang.
Your brand – your bot’s avatar should immediately evoke your brand. Its identity should be consistent with your brand and create a positive impression on your users.
Assign a gender (or not) – again, this depends on your target audience and the bot’s purpose. You might be better off having a gender-neutral avatar—freeing it from gender expectations and cultural limitations.
Usability – most interactions with chatbots occur on mobile devices. Keep the design simple so it’s recognisable even when small.
Give it a name – you’ve given your bot a personality and visual identity. Now it’s time to give it a name. Create a name that reflects your brand and your chatbot’s personality. A name will make it easier for users to interact with your bot. Plus, if they want to share their experiences, a name makes it easier to share with their friends.
Don’t rush – take the time to find the appropriate identity for your chatbot. Try different designs from multiple designers to ensure you get the perfect fit for your brand and bot. The appearance of your bot should underpin its persona and personality.
4. Time for Testing
Ideally, you should start testing as soon as you begin the design stage, even if you are gauging opinions from your employees regarding the avatar, like an app store testflight.
Continuous testing is the key to getting it right, and it does not happen straight away.
Test your bot thoroughly before launching it. You need to know what’s working before letting it loose on your customers. It’s best to get any bugs sorted out before your bot causes avoidable problems.
Even when you let it loose, regular testing and performance reviews will help you gather the feedback you need to deliver the exceptional customer experiences you seek. Have you got the balance right between fun and functionality? Does your bot’s personality exasperate rather than entertain your customers?
Asking these questions often will help you keep your bot in check and deliver the best possible performance.
5. Let It Be
Like what are sales enablement tools, your chatbot's personality will dictate the conversations during its interactions with your customers. I keep emphasising performance over personality, but there are pivotal points in the conversation where you can let personality reign while maintaining your bot’s purpose.
The greeting – Use the welcome message to set the tone. How a chatbot greets your users gives an insight into its personality. Whether it offers a formal “Good morning” or a trendy “What’s up?,” this is where you can allow your chatbot’s personality to shine.
Small talk – Many users love to wander off-topic just for fun, from simple "how are you?" to contentious software issues like "pandadoc vs docusign?". Prepare your bot to answer irrelevant questions with some personable retorts to add the human touch and inject a little fun. But keep them short and sweet so as not to detract from the task at hand.
Fall-back or error messages – Your bot will sometimes get things wrong, no matter how conversational you designed it to be. To avoid a bland request to repeat the question, think about using your bot’s personality and generate a more personal response, just like a human would react if they made a mistake.
Would they make a joke about an error? Would they resort to sarcasm or teasing to hide their embarrassment at being caught out? Or would they apologise and try again?
Errors or misunderstandings allow your bot to display more human qualities and can be used as an opportunity to encourage connections and engagement with the customer.
The farewell – the farewell can be used the solidify the user’s experience and make it resonate with them. This will be your bot’s last interaction with the user. Make it count.
If your bot has shown a customer how to get a business license, perhaps they could include a good luck message as part of the farewell script.
A personalised farewell message will go a long way to making a lasting impression with your users.
What Are You Waiting For?
You want your chatbot to maximise your resources while providing exceptional customer experiences. Though you may baulk at the resources required to design an effective chatbot, you will see a significant ROI if executed appropriately.
Designing a chatbot with personality adds the human touch that users want, but you must find the correct balance between fun and functionality. If you are ready to get started with designing your chatbot, check out our step-by-step guide to building a chatbot.