Are You Building a Chatbot? Stop Making These 10 UX Mistakes

Top UX chatbot mistakes
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UX design is a vital element of successful chatbots, helping companies to improve customer engagement and customer satisfaction. Chatbots designed according to UX principles, can create quality interactions with customers in connection with an enquiry in customer service. The needs of the users require an instant reply, regardless of the regular working hours and providing accurate answers to, sometimes, complex questions. For that reason, knowing common UX mistakes helps you to design a bot that will meet the expectations of your users.

Many companies can build their own bots if the technology allows line of business employees to do it, without requiring professional expertise in programming. However, UX design mistakes often occur, having a negative influence on the overall user satisfaction from interacting with the chatbot.

Below, we have collected the top 10 mistakes that might ruin your chatbot. Learning what mistakes to avoid will help you to build a chatbot that will lead to higher customer satisfaction and a higher self-service rate.

Having Only One Type of Interaction Style between Chatbot and User

One of the topUX mistakes is having only a predetermined list of questions for the user to choose from. The predetermined list of options may be convenient and be fit for use if the user wants to decide quickly, as well as for the bot operator.

However, predetermined questions may restrict the possibility to explore all the choices and force them to pick one that may not be the right topic for them.Having a list of options might diminish the natural conversation flow and feel less human to the customerIt might negatively impact UX, leading to user frustration or anger.

Meanwhile, allowing the users to type their questions may come with the downside of slowing down the conversation. The customer might have to rephrase the sentencewhich requires more effort from the customer to reach the correct answer

Neverthelessas the interaction is more natural,more enjoyable customer experience is created. Hence, allowing the customer to choose between predetermined questions as well as freely written text is the best option when building bot.

Moreover, to provide the best user experience, the conversation should be designed to create a fluid experience. For example, you might improve the user experience by:

  • Breaking long messages into smaller ones, using several speech bubbles.
  • Introducing a popular GIF here and there (do not abuse them though!) to break the text.

It is important to be open to any user input, while clearly stating the scope of the chatbot at the beginning of the conversation, so that the user won’t feel frustrated when the chatbot fails to answer the inevitable out-of-scope questions.

Types of interaction
The conversation with the bot should be designed to have a fluid experience.

Misleading the User about Who They Are Talking To

Building trust between customer and business is the most critical step in keeping a positive customer relationship. If the company is hiding that they are using an AI chat robot and the users later discover that they are chatting with a virtual assistant instead of a human being, the trust can quickly be lost, and the user experience compromised. 

Consequently, the company can even risk losing a potential customer. That is why organizations need to make sure they are transparent and inform the customers that they are chatting to a conversational AI bot (although in some cases it can be rather obvious). 

There is a positive aspect of being open about using AI chatbots. For some users, it is easier to start a conversation with a chatbot. The end-user feels like he or she is not bothering anyone and does not need to wait for a reply.

Misleading the user about talking to a bot
Trust is crucial between a customer and a business. It is important to inform the users that they are talking to a chatbot.

To Improve User Experience, Provide the Option of Getting Transferred to a Human

It is also essential to have your bot admit its own limits and shortcomings, when an error or a misunderstanding occurs. You should to let your users know that they are not the ones being wrong, even if they are. This element ensures that your users do not get tired of thchatbot responses, and it also adds confidence and reassurance to them. For example, repeatedly asking the user to rephrase their question can lead to frustration.  

You can easily prevent this by always providing the customer with the choice of getting transferred from chatbot support to human customer support, in case a chat goes south. Make your bot admit that it is, indeed, just an AI bot that is still learning. This will give a more personal touch and will reduce the risk of the user feeling alienated or angered. 

Replying without Waiting Time

Chatbots can send messages instantly when a customer asks a question, but that is somewhat more distracting than convenient, in terms of user experience. Loading the reply as soon as the question is submitted, without waiting time, does not look like a human reaction and feels unnatural.  

Although the user may already know that they are chatting to an interactive chatbot, users prefer to have a conversation with a bot that acts like a human, meaning, pausing between question and reply.

The longer the message, the better it is to have a longer waiting time that gives time for the user to read the information. As a rule of thumb, it is good to keep a minimum of 2 seconds before each message the bot sends. 

Chatbot response time
Sending respond without waiting time does not look like a human reaction.

A Dumb Bot That Has No Memory and Is Unable to Learn

Designing a dumb bot that does not have a memory and cannot learn is one of the top UX mistakes you should avoid at all costs. If the chatbot is not capable of restoring information and recalling data, what customer has been previously mentioned in the conversation, can lead to a nonsensical or repetitive dialogue. 

Considering some automated agents are already equipped with machine learningthe experience of repetitiveness can quickly generate a feeling of annoyance in the user. Furthermore, today businesses are expected to program their conversational AI to be capable of resuming and saving the chat log for future references helping the users to reengage into the conversation easier next time.  

It can have a detrimental effect if you fail to address this UX problem. Especially in the case of your users getting transferred to a human employee when your bot fails to solve their issue. It is essential to send a chatlog to the support team so they can continue the customer service conversation where the bot left things off. 

You ensure that the transition is smooth and effortless, and your users do not have to restart the entire conversation. It might get them fed up and just leave your site altogether. You must prevent this from happening at all costs. 

Nevertheless, it is vital to keep GDPR in mind. It is very fruitful to keep data from the enduser, but there are some legal limitsChatbots are very useful to collect personal data. However, you need to make sure that your chatbot complies with the regulations.

A chatbot without memory
A bot without memory can lead to repetitive dialogue.

Undefined Purpose, Voice and Tone for Your Chatbot

A chatbot without purpose and the right tone of voice is one of the major UX mistakes to avoid. When you build an interactive chatbotmake sure that it serves the specific purpose of your company and its desired engagement. Knowing the use of your chatbot is the main reason why chatbots must have a well-established tone to communicate to users. Hence, the type of relationship they have with the automated agent is clear.   

Choosing the tone of voice must be based on internal research. It is essential to consider who the customer is and in what way he or she does engage with your product or service. Your chatbot must have personal tone, either relaxed and formal, or friendly and informal. Establishing the voice of your chatbot is a crucial element in solidifying your brand messaging and improving UX design.

Unsuitable for the customers tone of a chatbot
Choosing the right note for a chatbot should be based on customer research.

Conversational AI without NLP/ NLU

NLP (Natural Language Processing) and NLU (Natural Language Understanding) deal with the interpretation of human language and are used in conversational AI. NLP is a blend of computer science, AI and data analysis that aims at understanding of human language by a machine. 

In simpler terms, NLP deals with how technology can meaningfully process and act on human language intake. Without NLP, AI bot conversations might be harmful to the user experience. 

At the same time, NLU is a subcategory within NLP, which makes chatbot understand intents or sentimentsFor example, NLU helps to process comments and orders. Thanks to this, chatbot can create effective interaction with a user.

Why are NLP/NLU Vital to Chatbots Today?

Humans are naturally better trained to understand what other humans are saying, even with incorrect grammar. NLP and NLU play dominant roles in the user experience. 

A computer can be easily confused, and it might have problems understanding what users are saying, especially when jargon or misspelling are involved. That is when Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning come into play: by using algorithms they allow the chatbot to understand what one is saying in their “natural” language and figure out what to reply.    

The better performing conversational chatbots in the market use their artificial brain to analyzmany aspects of the language when a chatbot receives a message. Sentiment analysis allows a chatbot to decide what is the mood of the person writing the message and provide an appropriate response. 

With NLU/NLP, the bot can detect misspellings, recognize named entities, and can also divide sentences.

Chatbot without NLP and NLU
NLP and NLU help bot to detect spelling mistakes.

Not Having a Chatbot Design Approach with the End-User in Mind

Learning the target audience’s needs and communication methods will provide value and enable you to create a chatbot that will be faster and better and that the users will enjoy   

During presentation at Brighton SEO, Purna Virji, Senior Manager of Global Engagement at Microsoft, used the analogy of Homer and Lisa Simpson in describing the importance of the user experience when adopting new conversational interfacesThe Homer stage and the Lisa stage are the two systems that determine our decision making.

With conversational UX design, it is essential to keep people at the Homer stage (emotional and intuitive) where the journey is easy, intuitive and convenient. If users move forward to Lisa’s stage (logical and thoughtful), the decision-making process rapidly slows down.

UX Chatbot Design with End User in Mind
Learning the needs of your customers might allow you to build a successful chatbot.

Create a Convenient User Experience

In e-commerce, it might be a good idea to provide some time references, when possible. For example, when users do an online sign-up or a check-out while shopping, let them see how many steps the process requires or how many questions they have to answer. It increases faith in the process because it helps to know how much it takes, and it feels like there are no hidden variables 

chatbot can do it with messages like “let me ask you 3 questions” “it will just take 1 minute”, “we are almost done, I just need you to answer 2 more questions”, “this is the last question”. You can also try to create WOW moments like: “You did it! Thanks a lot. Now I have all the information to…” 

The Chatbot Has a Complicated Conversation Built-In

Many users are interested in purchasing goods or services from the company’s website, and they can be impatient when faced with lengthy messages. A long message can be perceived as boring and unprecise. Short messages offer a better understanding and more relevant information for the customer. 

Yet, if it is impossible to avoid lengthy text, the best practice is to consider splitting it into parts that follow one another simultaneously. 
While it may seem appealing to build a sophisticated Alexalike bot, making your chatbot overly intelligent and multifaceted might be overkill

In most cases, your users are looking for a quick and easy solution for their problem. By giving them too many options and long messages, you may end up confusing and saturating them with information 

One of the major UX mistakes is having too many options or long messages might cause bots to have a lengthy, drawn-out conversation and adds to the risk of the user dropping out. Avoid getting the user frustrated as it could easily deter them from buying your products or services in the future. Make sure you have a clear understanding of what your users need from your chatbot and adjust it accordingly.

UX mistake of having too complicated conversation build-in
The users tend to prefer short messages from a chatbot.

Not Integrating Visuals

Visuals are the second most important and useful element contributing to a good chatbot user experience. According to a research conducted by 3M, the company behind the famous yellow Post-its, visuals are processed 60.000 times faster than text. In other words, lack of visuals in chatbot messaging is one of the top UX mistakes to avoid while designing a chatbot. 

In chatbot interfaces, this means that using images in the chatbot’s messages is more likely to engage users and hold their attention. It also creates a more fun exchange which might add to the overall satisfaction of your customersLeaving them with a fond memory of the interaction will make them more likely to come back for more 

A chatbot can send a map to the customer of the closest store or place, based on their request. Having visuals integrated into your conversational AI can help with putting a smile on a customer’s face. They can add some humor to conversations if you use them in a clever way. 

Visuals in Chatbot Messaging
Visual element might make interaction with a chatbot more engaging.

Not Creating a Persona for the Chatbot and Not Adding Any Permanent Personality Traits

Some may ask, why does a machine need a personality? It might seem silly that a company should invest time in building a persona for their bot. However, the first, quite simple versions of chatbots used were more likely to make the users feel alienated in the conversation, knowing they were only to a computer.

Those conversations were often even considered them irritating and unhelpful. Not being able to reach an actual person in the customer service also had harmed how they viewed the business that had implemented a chatbot.  

Luckily, current Artificial Intelligence allows a wide range of improvements that allows to avoid common UX mistakesOne development is the creation of a persona as part of the company branding and almost as a customer representative. Companies too, and not only users, can benefit from the chatbot having a persona 

Chatbot personality
Personality gives a chatbot more human-like character.

Having a persona with a fitting character image and mirroring the company’s brand image as well as the buyer audience, might reduce the chances of the customers getting frustrated when talking to the bot. 

Chatbots are created for humans, and therefore, they need to communicate like humans. A bot’s way of communicating should represent reallife conversationsPersonality makes the conversation more amusing and makes it feel more human. Moreover, it makes the chatbot more relatable and believable 

It’s essential to study and get to know your users. Know what age group and background they have, what country they are chatting from, to find out what type of language would best cater to your users’ ears. Build your responses accordingly. 

To improve UXthe bot should communicate as person to person. Since emotions generate a more intimate connection towards the other party talking, you should take into careful consideration the choice of language, tone style, and even mood. For example, chatbot might show it listens by using common expressions such as “got it” or “I understand, carry on”. 

Finally, using suitable GIF might contribute to the chatbot personality and make end-user to feel more comfortable.

Summary: Creating Your Own Conversational AI Chatbot

A vital step to creating a useful conversational AI is to be aware of what itakes to build a chatbot. Since the aim of a chatbot is to support your business’ customer service, the UX design should contribute to a more personal relationship with the users. 

However, common UX mistakes often occur when designing a bot, compromising interaction with the customersYou might undermine the user experience by having only one type of interaction style, misleading the users about who they are talking to, or using unsuitable language and tone. 

Following UX principles and avoiding the 10 most common mistakes listed in this article will help you making the process easier and create a truly successful chatbot.  

Article written by Luis Nagel
Designed by Florin Roman

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