You’ve heard of chatbots. They’ve been around for a while, they’re great at a number of different tasks, and let’s face it, we write a lot about them.
We have told you, for example, how easy it is to build a no-code chatbot. And it is, in fact really easy.
You just need to drag-and-drop the different block you want to use, piece them together, and voilà! You have a chatbot that’s ready to use. Or you can resort to a pre-built template, and have an even easier time.
However, even if you’re using a template, you’ll need to input what your chatbot will say to your customers through its interaction with them. In other words, you’ll need to write a chatbot script.
Before the Script
Now, before we get started on the actual script writing portion of this article, there are a few things to keep in mind before you get your hands on that task.
Define Your Chatbot’s Purpose and Goals
First things first, your chatbot needs to have a clear purpose. Without a specific goal and/or problem to solve, your bot might end up hindering the user experience instead of improving it. Even though it might be tempting to deploy one because all the cool kids are doing it, looking at it as just a nice-to-have is not a very good idea.
A chatbot can bring an array of benefits to your customers, your employees, and your business altogether. So whether you’ll be using it for customer support, lead generation, hiring, feedback collection, you name it, be sure to lay out exactly what you’ll be using your bot for before you start building it.
Additionally, you can also lay out a goal or a target you want to achieve with your chatbot. Do you want to increase your CSAT? Maybe reduce your lead generation costs?
Defining both your chatbot’s purpose and goals lays the groundwork for writing its script, and it will also make that part of the process easier.
Outline the Customer Journey: Where Does the Chatbot Come in?
After you get your chatbot’s purpose and goals down, it’s time to think about at what point in time it will show up to get the job done. For that, you need to map out your customers’ journey to understand where it makes sense for the bot to step in.
Are you using it for lead generation? If that’s the case, you should consider whether it makes sense for your bot to strike up a conversation with potential customers on your homepage or on a specific page.
Is it there to boost sales, and so pops to offer users a discount while they’re browsing? Should it try to chat users up while they are still browsing or when they’re checking out, in case they have questions about payment or delivery options?
There are a lot of possibilities, so building a customer journey map is your best option to understand how users go from A to B, where they might find bumps along the way, and anticipate scenarios and possible questions. This way, you’ll be able to write your chatbot’s script accordingly in a way that best guides customers through their journey.
Choose Your Chatbot’s Personality
With a clear goal in mind and knowing exactly at which point of the customer journey it will show up, you can now think about your chatbot’s personality.
When developing your chatbot, it’s essential to take a human-centric approach to the job, not just in terms of the conversational flow (more on this later,) but also when it comes to your bot’s character. While talking to another human, we’re not just taking in what they’re saying, but we also take note of their actions and reactions, as well as their sense of humor and other personality traits. Such factors should, insofar as possible, be incorporated into your chatbot.
But how do you do it?
There are three things you need to define:
- Chatbot persona: it’s different than the personality, in which it is a set of attributes that are on the surface, presented to the rest of us, for example, a societal role such as job, interests, hobbies, etc. The chatbot persona should aim to resonate with your target audience, mirror your brand identity and reflect the purpose the bot was built for.
- Chatbot personality: if the persona is how the bot presents itself, then the personality is what is visible through its actions. So, if your chatbot is there to provide customer support, is it kind and warm to make customers feel understood? Or is it there to run a contest or offer a promotion, so it has room to be use a more playful tone of voice? To better define your bot’s personality, think of the interactions it is likely to have with users and tweak it from there.
- Chatbot avatar: finally, your chatbot should have a compelling image. This is, once again, another way to take a human-centric approach to the process, as well as another opportunity to align the bot with your brand’s image and personality.
Writing a Chatbot Script: Steps and Best Practices
Now that you’ve laid the foundation for your chatbot, you can get on to the actual script!
Don’t forget — your chatbot should be tailored to your business, your goals, and your target audience. So while you can definitely go ahead and follow this checklist and best practices, keep in mind that the content of the actual script is totally up to you. You can draw ideas from this article, but be sure to spice up your chatbot script with things that will best showcase your bot’s (and brand’s) personality and help it achieve its goal.
Outline the Conversational Flow
Actually, one more thing before you start writing your chatbot script — outline the complete flow of the conversation between chatbot and user.
It might be tempting to get started right away, but outlining the conversational flow before you start writing the script is essential to understand how the dialogue will take place from start to finish, and have a full grasp of what questions you need to ask and what answer possibilities you need to give your users.
At this point, you’ll be writing down the questions in a logical sequence, with all possible answers and the follow-up questions or remarks to those. This step will allow you to identify any missing paths or dead ends and add them to the flow in a timely fashion. It might seem like extra work, but get it done right away and you’ll be actually saving time, because you’ll get to the writing part with a clear plan in your hands.
Now, finally, to the fun part!
Introduce Your Chatbot
Or, should I say, let your chatbot introduce itself.
You know what they say about first impressions, so a really well-crafted greeting and introduction is key to a good chatbot. Rather than just saying hello to the user it will be interacting with, use this opportunity for your bot to introduce itself, say what its name is (if you’ve named it, it’s not mandatory), and what it’s there for.
Also, use this opportunity to set the record straight — your user is “talking” to a chatbot, not another human. While some users might be quick to spot it, others might not, so it’s important that they know from the get-go who they’re interacting with.
Provide Guidelines/Instructions to Use the Bot
Thinking of expectations and setting records straight, right after the greeting, your chatbot should provide users with guidelines on how to use it.
Are they supposed to provide written answers or select one from a multiple-choice option? Will the question/answer behavior be the same throughout the whole conversation, or will some of them be different?
You want to be sure you explain exactly how someone can use your bot, and those guidelines should be included in the script. Think things like, “type in your answer below,” or “select one of the following options.” The chatbot can lay this information out in the beginning, or for each question throughout the conversation.
Use Conversational Language
Because it is a written means of communication, you might notice a tendency to write your chatbot script as if you were writing, say, this blog article. However, you should follow certain written conversational rules to get the best results out of your chatbot.
The easiest way to about this is to think of how you usually text friends or family. Then, you just need to have you chatbot mimic those kinds of interactions like in a real conversation.
So, here are the most common conversational writing tips to take into consideration to make your chatbot sound natural:
- Brevity: long, word-crammed sentences are often more difficult to understand. For a better experience, have your chatbot communicate in short sentences, one after the other, like you probably would do on a chat with a friend.
- Easy over complex words: communication between chatbot and user should be kept simple and easy to follow. Even if the topic at hand is complex, for example, FAQs about your very techy product, you don’t want users to struggle to understand what the bot is saying.
- Go straight to the point: sure, it’s important for your bot to introduce itself and provide the user with certain guidelines on how to interact with it. However, you don’t want to beat around the bush. Once that’s out of the way, get straight to the point that led you to develop a chatbot in the first place.
- Use visual elements: in those texts with friends or family, you probably use emojis to convey another level of meaning to your messages or replace words altogether. Visual elements like emojis, GIFS, or even videos make written interactions that much more engaging, so be sure to include them here and there in your chatbot script.
Although rule-based bots follow a specific set of rules and a clear conversational flow, it is still possible, in some degree, to add personalization touches to chatbot interactions.
If you’re using Landbot as your chatbot builder, you can use Variables to collect and store user data in real-time and use that to personalize your chatbot script.
Let’s say that you’ve asked for the user’s name at the beginning of the conversation. You can save that information under a “first_name” variable, and bring it up throughout the interaction for a more personalized feel.
Prepare for Misunderstandings
Again, rule-based chatbots follow a pre-defined path throughout the whole interaction with a user. So, you won’t come across roadblocks that can often happen during interactions with AI-based chatbots. For example, bot might not understand what the user is asking of it, and it gets stuck in a loop of “does this answer your question?,” “no!”
Nevertheless, you should prepare for the chance of your bot, while doing its best, not being able to help the user it’s interacting with. This can happen for a few reasons. The user might have expectations of the bot beyond what it is capable of doing, or they might click the wrong button when presented with several options to select from, or they might, at the end of the interaction, still want to be connected to a human.
Be sure to give users the choice of going back to a previous question, the main menu, or to speak to someone.
Proofread Your Script
Remember that first impression?
Well, a typo or grammatical error might completely ruin it. For some people (*points at self*), spelling, grammatical, and other language mistakes are a huge turnoff, and they might give the impression that you were careless while building your bot or don’t pay attention to those kinds of details.
Be sure to proofread your script before deploying your bot, and get as many people involved as you like. You can do it yourself, but include at least one extra set of eyes to make sure you don’t let any typos slip through.
Test Your Chatbot
Before your chatbot goes live on wherever channel you choose for it, you should test it. That much is pretty obvious, right?
Well, you might just give it a go to see what it looks like live, after you’ve built it. However, as with proofreading the script, you should have other people test it, too. Ask your teammates to have a go at it and provide feedback, so that you’re able to do the necessary tweaks and tie any loose ends before your customers start interacting with it.
You should also test it on several devices to see if it performs as well on mobile.
Monitor Your Chatbot
So, now your chatbot is live, you’re done!
Not so fast.
You did all the necessary proofreading and testing, and everything was good to go. But still, you should keep an eye on how your chatbot is performing and review the script from time to time. Maybe some things are out of date, or maybe you did some changes to your product or processes that need to be reflected in the bot. If possible, ask your users to provide feedback.
Reviewing your chatbot script and editing it whenever needed is essential for your bot’s continuous success.
Now that you have everything you need to write a chatbot script, you can get started!
I know there are a lot of tools out there, but since you’re here, why not give Landbot a go? 😏