We all feel a little bit of distance and offishness when it comes to closer encounter with Terminator or Ava from Ex Machina. We feel sorry for Theodore, being misled by his artificially intelligent virtual assistant, Samantha, from Oscar winning film 'Her'. Even though today’s consumers are already well-acquainted with digital assistants like Siri, Alexa or Google Assistant, we still need to feel a human factor. And that is personality.
Yet, many conversation designers believe that functionality and 'raw' informative character of their assistant will be enough to conquer consumers' hearts. Nothing more wrong! About 70% of Internet users have already first contact with digital assistants and the excitement of the has has already fallen. But their expectations - quite the contrary.
Why digital assistant personality matters?
Digital Assistant is very often a first step to your successful relationship with your customer. You don't want to mess it up. Your assistant represents you and your company so paying attention to the details of your assistants personality will pay off. Even though breathing life into a chatbot is not an easy task, some designers have already succeeded in it.
Duolingo designed characters, created to respond differently to a different possible prompts. If the user ever got stuck, they could hit the “help me reply”. Duolingo’s assistants are Renèe the Driver, Chef Roberto, and Officer Ada, with the promise of more characters coming to the app. Learners can use them to practice French, Spanish, and German, respectively.
So as German learners trust Officer Ada, you want your customers to trust you.
How to create a personality?
1. Think of it as your own creation. What is the purpose of it? How people should feel in contact with it? Would I like to be close with such a person in real life? Before all that, first define your buyer personas. And then find the perfect one to respond to them. Are your clients Millenials or Z generation? That all matters.
2. There are many factors which build up a person, starting from their name, age, sense of humour and purpose in life. Remember Michael from 'The Office; who is pretty rude, abrubt and thinks that he is the boss? His personality is way different than Pam's who is rather shy but has great sense of humour. Just imagine talking to them in a real life and try to transfer it into a chat widget.
Define the ideal language
There’s a reason why Microsoft or Apple hire high-class writers and psychologists to craft their bots’ characters. The chatbot has only a few lines of text to catch users’ attention, so it’s better not to waste them on half-baked content. Looking
We do not like exhaust our brain with reading - we all prefer pictures, visuals, graphics. That's why Instagram or TikTok are so successful! These give us pretty quick information about what we can expect from further conversation. Create an avatar for your persona, add giphs evoking particular emotions from users or YouTube videos and you can be sure of high users' engagement.
Avoid unnatural responds
Spending hours or even days arming your assistant with hundreds of intents will decrease a risk of misunderstanding. But since human beings are vile creatures, they will always try to find the limit of your assistant. Be prepared for teasing, taunting, swears and threads. Avoid "I don't understand" phrase, though. Have some witty responds on hand so even users do not get their answer, at least they can laugh and be encouraged to chat.
Communicating either with a live agent or digital assistant is always a little bit stressful. Make users comfortable with a pinch of humour! Don't treat them so seriously, it's not a president's speech. Users will always move on after conversations and what we want - is to have them back. And spread the good news about genius, hilarious and helpful digital assistant!
Don't pretend it's a life size human being. It's an AI cold-hearted bot and it will always be. So be transparent and make situation clear as soon as the bot is triggered. And when assistant is not enough for the user - make sure it will can connect with a real person.
Years ago researchers predicted that AI Conversation Designer will be a regular job of the future. So there is nothing else to do like make the future today.