One of the keys to understanding any technology is to ask what its purpose is, what you need in order to use it, and how it can help you achieve your goals. When it comes to conversational technology, many communication directors have yet to pose these questions and therefore do not understand the potential of these innovations. Perhaps they seem unrelated to our role. Whatever the reason, many communication directors have disregarded conversational technology and are therefore unaware of its potential to overcome some of the challenges of corporate communication. However, some communication professionals have understood that these technologies can play a fundamental role in business transformation and in the new kind of relationship that companies wish to cultivate with their stakeholders.
Due to the intensive use of mobile messaging apps, the new way of interacting with companies is customer-driven: customers themselves are choosing to use these new channels. According to Planeta Chatbot Insights, 78% of people prefer to have companies answer their questions via a messaging app. Meanwhile, according to Gartner, nearly 50% of small and medium-sized companies are working to implement chatbots, mainly as a customer service solution.
These figures stand in contrast to a 2018 survey published by Dircom, in which 85.3% of respondents said they did not use chatbots, while only 6.2% said they did. Clearly, the use of this technology as a communication tool is still in its infancy.
78% of people prefer to have companies answer their questions via a messaging app.
Designing the personality of a voicebot or chatbot: a challenge for brands
The need to use conversational technology can arise in any area of an organization, but the communication department—and the communication director in particular—must play a key role in defining fundamental aspects of this new channel, including its personality, image, and tone of voice.
A chatbot must reflect the brand’s personality, but in a recognizable way that differentiates it from other brands. Defining a unique identity for this channel and adapting it to a particular project and audience is therefore one of the biggest challenges faced by communication departments. The same is true of voicebots: defining an audio brand identity is among the top challenges for today’s communication directors.
Equally important is the selection of the name and avatar, which differentiate the bot and, once again, must reflect the attributes of the brand. Finally, tone must be conveyed via the preset responses developed for the bot. Aligning the personality and tone of the chatbot with the context of the interaction makes for a better user experience.
Once these concepts have been absorbed and customers are ready for bot-based interaction, brands can engage in conversations and gather important data about their interactions with stakeholders.
Thanks to their versatility and 24/7 availability, these systems can be enabled practically anywhere—messaging applications, intranets, social networks, and websites. As a result, they can be adapted to environments that are already familiar to the audience.
A five-step path
Given the issues outlined above, the implementation of conversational technology should follow five key steps:
- Definition of use. The first step is to answer questions such as “What do we want to achieve with this project?” and “What can this technology contribute or what problems can it solve?” The implementation timeline and budget are also essential in laying the groundwork for the solution.
- Understanding the specific case. Once the initial objective has been determined, the next steps are to design the bot’s content tree and integrate the bot with the company’s other systems. The content tree, which determines what areas the bot is going to cover, is used to develop a conversation tree based on a catalogue of questions and answers. Integration with other systems—a common practice, but not necessary in all cases—will depend on the scope and complexity of the project. To guarantee the success of the integration, as much detail as possible should be included in the planning stage.
- Technical feasibility. At this stage, the internal technology team must confirm that the information the chatbot needs can be accessed by the system. From this point on, you will be able to understand the complexity and real viability of each process and each piece of dialogue you want the chatbot to be capable of having. You will also be able to determine which parts of the script can be automated in the initial phase and which ones should be left for future expansions of the project.
- Design. Once you have determined which questions will be automated and the technical implications of implementing the technology are clear, you can define the ideal conversational flow for your chatbot. At this point, the communication and marketing departments need to ensure that the bot’s personality, visual identity (avatar), and tone reflect the attributes of the brand and generate a differential user experience.
- Planning. Finally, once the how, why, and what for have been defined, it is time to draw up a project schedule featuring milestones and key dates. It is important to remember that the implementation of this technology will change the company’s processes and culture. To encourage employees to embrace this change, the rollout should be accompanied by a comprehensive communication plan.
Language experts are a key part of the process: their responsibilities include writing the copy.
Merging of talents
Behind this whole process is a team with a variety of different backgrounds, led from the outset by the communication director. A project manager will manage this diverse group of systems experts, developers, marketing professionals, and last but not least, linguists. Language experts are a key part of the process: their responsibilities include writing the copy for the bot’s messages to users.
© IE Insights.