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Chatbots are both the wave of the present and the future. Research estimates that by next year, a whopping 80% of businesses will utilize this kind of AI technology, primarily as a real-time chat tool with consumers via instant messaging.

How can you best refine your chatbot technology so it pleases your customers and provides them with the info and convenience they need to buy your products over and over again? Try these tips:

Don’t get cute.

Penn State scientists have done some extensive and fascinating research on how consumers react to chatbots. Surprisingly, study authors Eun Go and S. Shyam Sundar found that the more personable a chatbot is, the fewer customers like it.

Giving a chatbot a name, for example, backfires in terms of consumer appreciation unless that friendly chatbot also provides high interactivity, swift responses and an easily followed threaded dialogue. Focus on concrete service, not bells and whistles.

But…avoid the robotic.

Another Penn State study by Sundar and Bingjie Liu found that most consumers do like to interact with a chatbot that expresses concern for the issue they are inquiring about on a company website. You want to use tech language that’s empathetic and sympathetic in tone and avoid rote responses completely devoid of emotion for best results.

Strengthen your transaction history display data.

A third Penn State study co-authored by Sundar found that including small cues on your website which clearly show a customer’s transaction history can make an interaction feel as complete and comfortable as working with a chatbot.

Make certain chatbot language reflect accessibility to transaction history overtly so customers experience a sense of constant convenience as they proceed with their queries.

Make sure your chatbots offer a wide array of solution options.

Your language technology should continually ask the customer if he or she is satisfied with the information being presented and convey repeatedly that it is listening carefully to the consumer’s concerns. You should also have human customer service available as backup if it’s requested, through both web-based and phone resources.

Listen to feedback.

If your customers complain about any aspect of the chatbot technology you’re implementing, don’t hesitate to make necessary changes. Be upfront on your website that you’re doing so.

Chatbots work beautifully when they positively enhance consumer experience — and are intensely annoying to your customers when they don’t. Take quick and decisive action to make sure yours is operating in the most helpful way possible.

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