Although we associate chatbots with one of the simplest forms of BOTs, in fact they are complex programs that must carry out many processes simultaneously (such as natural language processing, image recognition, data analysis and machine learning). They are also more and more commonly used by enterprises in the customer service process. Recently, in December 2020, UX Upgrade (training platform) and Symetria (an agency specializing in UX design and research) published a report on Chatbots in Poland in 2020 (the entire report can be downloaded here). It was created on the basis of quantitative research carried out in October 2020 using the CAWI method (filling in the electronic survey) on a sample of 259 respondents and using a benchmark with elements of expert analysis. Thanks to their research, Symetria and UX Upgrade wanted to learn about the experiences and expectations of people using chatbots.
When do we want to use Chatbots?
The survey asked respondents when they most often use Chatbots. It was a question with the option of selecting more than one answer. The most frequently chosen option, indicated by 45% of them, was the answer „getting to know the company’s offer”, the next „error / failure report” (indicated by 41% of people), and further „complaints” (selected by 27% of respondents), „purchase and payment” (22%), „ordering food with delivery” (21%), „booking a hotel / apartment” (20%) and „vacation planning” (14%).
Chatbots are chosen by respondents more often in the telecommunications (48%), fashion (39%), media and art (35%) and beauty (34%) industries, while users don’t want to use Chatbots in matters related to finance, medicine, legal advice and in the case of real estate.
What Chatbots do users prefer?
53% of the respondents considered text chatbots to be better. They are perceived as more convenient and less embarrassing, and users who use them also feel more anonymous. Every fourth person (25%) choose voice chatbots, and for 22% of respondents type of chatbot doesn’t matter.
Advantages of Chatbots
Among the advantages of Chatbot solutions, users mentioned primarily their availability, i.e. the fact that they can be used at any time (it was important for 57% of respondents), response speed (40%), helpfulness (35%) and intuitive use (16%). Moreover, they were appreciated as a good solution for shy people (23%).
However, the biggest disadvantages of this solutions are, according to the respondents, that they often don’t understand the question asked (53%), redirect to the FAQ page instead of providing an answer (44%), the fact that the chatbot doesn’t remember what the user wrote a moment earlier (31% ), also chatbot’s answers contain redundant and inadequate information (29%) and are often too concise (22%) or too complex (14%).
How to create a good Chatbot?
In the second part of the report, a benchmark was carried out with elements of expert analysis of chatbots in 4 Polish industries: financial, telecommunications and media, tourism and Retail. Symetria UX experts analyzed the elements of selected chatbots using the cognitive walktrough method and on the basis of heuristics developed by the Nielsen Norman Group. Thanks to this, it was possible to provide a set of good practices, very helpful in creating Chatbots. We have gathered them into 3 subgroups - those related to the appearance, operation and use of chatbots.
Users appreciate simplicity, so the interface should be as simple as possible, adapted to the needs of the conversation with the chatbot itself, and not additional functions. The conversation menu should be legible, it is good to use an element that allows you to easily navigate the conversation, such as messages in separate chat bubbles together with information about the sender („Chatbot name”, „username”). The bot should first list the topics it can help with, preferably using clickable elements. Additionally, you can use a button that allows you to return to the previous thread as well as references and hyperlinks.
Other useful solutions are automatic hints (next to the text field) and the message writing indicator, as well as informing about the level of completion of the conversation. To facilitate communication for the user, consider adding a language selection at the beginning of chat and a glossary of terms that may be problematic. The option to change the font size and use emoticons will also be useful to make the conversation more casual and it will help read the intentions correctly.
The appearance of the avatar itself is also important - it should be friendly and shouldn’t evoke associations with a human being (39% of respondents preferred the image of a robot over a human). If the BOT hasn’t been jet properly refined, it is best to inform the user about it - for example by adding the information „learning” or „in training” on the avatar.
To make the whole process easier, it would be good to explain to the user what a chatbot is and how it actually works. In addition, in order not to waste the Internet user time, BOT should also provide the scope of topics in which it will be helpful. During the conversation, the device may suggest its course, for example, by pushing the appropriate buttons with ready answers (according to the survey, as many as 67% of users prefer buttons to typing text on the keyboard when talking to a chatbot). However, if the BOT works differently, and the obtained answer is not sufficient for him, it would be good for him to present possible options for detailing the question or the answer itself (in a convenient form, for example links). For more complicated issues, you can also consider displaying instructional videos in the chat window.
While the BOT should be fast, the next replies don’t have to come immediately - it’s a good idea to give the user time to read the message before the next one appears on screen.
To provide the user with support at all stages of the conversation, the BOT should be equipped with the Help option, in which it explains how to use the chat window, but also in which it offers a direct connection with an advisor. If the company depends on the continuous improvement of its solutions, it should also allow the user to evaluate the entire process at the end of the chat.
Use of Chatbots
It is good to remember that BOTs can be used in contact with the client in various ways. For example, a chatbot can diversify the waiting time for a connection with a consultant or conduct preliminary research on the topic of the conversation. Additionally, they can be a form of entertainment - you can use them to conduct a competition, quiz or game. When creating a Chatbot, however, you should first of all bear in mind the purpose of its creation - for example, if one of the topics it supports is a complaint, the Internet user must be able to add a photo, and if it is to help check the status of the order, he must be equipped with their search engine.