Chatbot Best Practices: Your Ultimate Guide to Conversational AI

Stefan van der VlagBest Practice, General, Guides & Resources


So, you have finally decided to integrate a chatbot into your online business. However, you don’t know where to start, right? Well, don’t worry – this blog post will help you know where to start and map out all the chatbot best practices.

You may take a popular chatbot like Clepher as an example and start building yours, but this way, you might miss out on some important details. So, having in-depth knowledge will save you a lot of time and hassle. When you start, you will know exactly what you are doing and what you want.

The design process of a chatbot consists of three phases. Let’s start learning about them and get your business an AI friend.

Phase 1: Planning

Phase one is planning, and in order to plan, you must know what your business needs, what problems it is facing, and what kind of chatbot will help it grow.

In the planning phase, follow the following steps;

Define the Objective

The first step in planning is to know what you are planning for. What problems do you need to resolve, and what results do you want? To do this, you must list all the problems your business is facing.

After listing them, map out the most concerning that need an immediate solution.

Identify the Target Audience

The whole point of designing a chatbot is to connect with customers. So, identifying the target audience is essential. You should know what group of people will be interested in your product or your business’s services.

It will help you decide on the appropriate tone for your chatbot. Identifying the target audience will also assist you in selecting the right data to train your chatbot effectively.

Choose the Communication Channels

Now that you know your target audience, you will also get an idea of what communication channel will be best for them. If your audience is young people, then integrating the chatbot into any social media app will be the best course of action.

Additionally, finding the right chatbot framework becomes no mystery if you know the communication channel. For instance, if you’re primarily using Facebook Messenger, opting for a framework optimized for Facebook’s platform makes sense. However, if you also want the chatbot on other platforms, opting for a multi-platform framework will be an ideal option for broader accessibility.

Find the Chatbot Solution That Suits Your Business

Now that you know the objective, problems, target audience, and how broad you want the accessibility, finding the right chatbot solution should not be a problem. Your mind has a clear picture of what your business needs exactly in a chatbot.

You will find hundreds of chatbot solutions in the market, shortlist them, and ask for free trials to check them for yourself. Note the features that you like and don’t like. Review the list and select the one with the most beneficial features for your business.

Some chatbot solutions like Clepher give you the luxury of customization. You may ask them for changes that will be helpful for your business and attract customers.

Defining Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for Your Chatbot

This step of chatbot best practices depends on the very first one—defining the objective. If you know the problems, then you know the goal. So, when you know the goal, you also have an idea of what factors will indicate your chatbot’s performance.

The KPIs of chatbots are lead generation, satisfactory customer service, issue resolution time, and user engagement. Set up your goals and use different metrics to analyze the performance. It is possible that your chatbot is not meeting the initial goals but is helping your business in some other way. That’s why it’s essential to track the performance and make changes if needed.

Write the Chatbot Script

Planning the chatbot story or writing a script for it should not be a problem at this point when you know the problems, target audience, and KPIs. If you have not written a script for a chatbot before, then you can take ideas from chatbot solutions that you will test. You can also get help from conversational AI chatbots that are trained on all the data available on the internet, such as ChatGPT.

The script will mostly revolve around frequently asked questions. Map the questions and possible solution answers that will quickly address the user’s query or resolve their problem.

Phase 2: Building

Detailed planning is the first phase of the chatbot’s design process and the foundation of effective chatbot practices.

Offer Human-Like Interactions

Your chatbot’s tone should sound like a human. It should give the impression that it understands the user’s intent and can answer their queries or resolve their issues.

There are two types of bots: rule-based bots and AI bots. The script of rule-based chatbots is written on the basis of past interactions with customers, while AI chatbots use NLP (natural language processing) to sound like humans.

Whatever type of bot you integrate into your business, keep some of its original tone, so the user must know it’s talking to a chatbot and not customer service staff.

Set Catchy CTAs in Chatbot Greetings

A conversation or an interaction always starts with greetings. Setting the greetings right will leave a good first impression that can convert a visitor into a customer.

As mentioned in the planning phase, the script should be written according to your target audience. Be confident and set a proactive greeting; invite for the conversation and do your magic. Do not limit your greetings to only “Hi, how may I help you?” but rather something subtle with catchy CTAs (calls to action). Introduce your sale, new policy, or product. Make it so that the visitor takes action and becomes a customer.

Set Personality Features of Your Chatbot

Your chatbot is a whole entity in itself, so it should have a well-defined personality. Its personality should align with your brand, company, or business. Having a smart AI assistant that is available 24/7 is a great deal for business.

To design your chatbot personality, set the following main features in it;

  • Do not give it a human face. It should have its own visual identity that does not take away the reality of it being a bot
  • You can give your chatbot a human name but add “Bot” to it. Your customers must be aware that they are interacting with a chatbot.
  • Its tone should match the tone of your brand and train it on the data that envisions your brand.
  • Define the chatbot’s tone and voice based on your target audience. Decide whether it should be formal or informal and if it should make jokes or keep the conversation professional.

Inform Customers about Chatbot Capabilities

Do not let your chatbot be baffled by random and irrelevant queries by customers. After the greetings text, write a subtle text that will tell your customers how and in what ways it can help them. It will keep the conversation on course and most likely help the customer buy your services.

Also, make sure your text is not too long. Write a separate text that shows the customer how your chatbot can help them. Avoid long texts and too many questions. Keep the conversation inviting and convincing.

Use Buttons

One way to keep the conversation on track is to use buttons. With buttons, you can guide your customers concisely through your chatbot story. They also reduce the chances of users asking irrelevant questions.

Talking to a chatbot means using simple and understandable language, which some users don’t realize and get frustrated because the bot does not understand them. Buttons help with that as well. They help the users without them typing a single word. By reducing potential misunderstandings, they boost the conversation dynamics and chatbot engagement.

When you are introducing buttons, remember;

  • They are clearly
  • Buttons with context add more value than just simple “Yes”, “No”, or “Okay.”
  • Ensure they are relevant to the conversation flow
  • Keep the menu button always available

Use Conversation Delays

Bombing the user with back-to-back questions or solution texts can be annoying and ruin the user experience. Let the user reader read one text with focus, then send the next text. In chatbots, you can apply this practice by introducing conversation delays. You can decide how long an interval should be between two texts.

The intervals should not be too long, which makes the user wait. Proper intervals give a conversation a natural flow and let users absorb information at a comfortable pace.

Introduce Message Chunking

Message chunking is a method that breaks a single long message into pieces. A long text can put your customer to sleep. Short texts conveying the same message, keep the user engaged and hooked.

Additionally, they let the user take the lead and make them active participants. Also, if the user is only reading, it destroys the very idea of a chatbot. Because then, long texts and a Knowledge Base will have no difference.

Be Transparent About Limitations

No man is perfect; everyone makes mistakes, even when designing a chatbot. You cannot expect a machine to compete with human understanding. So, the best practice regarding this issue is to be transparent about your chatbot’s limitations.

To address it with sophistication, design the right fallback message. A fallback message is displayed when your chatbot does not have a response to a certain question. If you are not transparent about your chatbot’s limitations, it could end up giving false information, which can be a downfall for your business.

To design a successful fallback message;

  • Avoid generic answers. Be more creative and script a response that will invite the user to explain themselves more specifically.
  • Your fallback message should not always be the same. Create different variations according to the problem and situation.
  • Shift the user’s attention by offering a possible solution.

Test Your Chatbot

It is not humanly possible to create the perfect version in the first go. You can spend hours planning and following that detailed map while building the chatbot, but there is always a possibility that you may miss something important or make a mistake.

There is only one way to find out what mistakes you could have made – by testing your chatbot. Also, ask people around you to test it because each person will have a different user experience. You will be surprised to know how much feedback could help in making your chatbot perfect.

Phase 3: Monitoring

One of the chatbot’s best practices is monitoring. The beauty of online business is that it keeps updating, and so should your chatbot. So, monitoring and tracking your chatbot’s performance is vital. In this phase, you check whether the chatbot is meeting your initial KPIs.

Use Analytics and Observe Trends

Use analytics to see what topics capture the users’ interest the most. Training your chatbot on trending topics will help you get high engagement ratings and lead generations.

You can make your chatbot people’s favorite by giving them the information they are looking for.

Redefine Users’ Needs Based on Their Language

Now that your chatbot is in business and having real-time conversations with customers, you can collect this data and redefine users’ needs based on their own language.

Additionally, with this data, you can add more frequently asked questions that will also sync with your customers’ tone. So, browsing archives from time to time will prove to be a viable chatbot practice.

Know Your Customers

Knowing your customers is the basic part of doing business. You can know about them in detail via their conversations with your chatbot or the information they provide while visiting your website.

Knowing your users will help you introduce new features into your chatbot that they will like, which will eventually increase engagement rate. For instance, if your customers are young people, introducing GIFs and emojis will be good.

Chatbot Best Practices: Summary

Building a chatbot requires a lot of time investment. You cannot just start building it; you need to plan it thoroughly and then start building it. The deed is not yet done; you must track its performance and keep updating it.

If you are not getting the results you hoped for or, worse, getting downhill results, it does not mean your decision to introduce a chatbot into your business was wrong. It simply means that there are some mistakes that need corrections.

Best of luck with your chatbot journey!

Check out and apply the best chatbot practices.

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