7 Best Practices for Building Chatbots with RCS Messaging

By: 3C The Messenger – March 19, 2019

With consumers now comfortable interacting with chatbots and AI in their daily lives—including the 40% of consumers who are interested in branded chatbots (Mobile Marketer)—it’s more important than ever to have a well-designed bot that represents your brand and meets the needs and expectations of your customers.

The introduction of new, ubiquitous conversational channels like RCS messaging has made it easier than ever to deploy a chatbot and reach your customers with rich, interactive conversations. Since the launch of RCS in 2017, we’ve partnered with some of the world’s biggest brands to power their chatbots through RCS messaging. Here are some lessons and best practices we’ve picked up along the way.

1. Establish goals upfront. Before any design or concept work is done, start with the basics: What defines success for this chatbot? Chatbots can be a great solution for various pain points, but keeping the main goal of the chatbot at the core of all decision-making will keep the design process on track and within scope.

2. Be clear about what the bot does. It’s easy for users to assume that a chatbot can help them with any request they can think of, but that’s not the current, functional reality of most chatbots. Set user expectations upfront and let them know what this bot is designed to do (i.e. “Help finding tickets”, “Search store locations”, “Take our style quiz”, etc.). When users can easily understand what the bot does and how it can help them meet their goal, they’ll be more satisfied and likely to return.

3. Be concise. One of the perks of RCS messaging is that there is no character limit, but consumers are used to short messages and have notoriously short attention spans—the average human attention span is now a mere eight seconds (Telegraph). Don’t make them read too much before taking an action. A good rule of thumb: no more than 160 characters per message will do the trick.

4. Provide options and suggestions to steer the user. Appearing as chips at the bottom of messages, suggested actions and replies are great new features that come built into RCS. Utilizing these action and reply chips will help the user navigate the conversation by keeping the momentum and ensuring the conversation flows.

5. Make all buttons and commands actionable. A chatbot’s primary function is to help and direct the user to their intended destination whether that’s to complete a task, provide information, or lend support. Be sure there are no dead ends or buttons that don’t help the user down the path. For example, after the user has completed their initial interaction with the chatbot, provide them with the option to begin a new conversation with suggested actions such as “Start again” or “Help me with something else”.

6. Always have a human fallback option. Be sure to have an option that connects the customer with a human for situations where the scope of the chatbot is outside of what your customer is looking for. Implementing a suggested action chip such as “Contact us” or “Call Customer Support” is an easy way to let the user know that they always have a way to get in touch with a human representative if needed.

7. Your bot should reflect your brand. If your brand were a person, how would it speak? What kind of language would it use? Would it use emojis? Incorporating your brand voice into the conversation keeps the chatbot consistent with your other marketing channels and strengthens user confidence that they are interacting with a trusted brand that they are familiar with.

As chatbots continue to grow in popularity, it’s paramount that brands build their chatbot conversations around strong design principles that satisfy consumer expectations and are efficient when completing useful tasks for the user. As consumers ourselves, we know there’s nothing worse than finding yourself stuck in an endless loop with a poorly-designed chatbot and no way out!

For more information on how RCS can help you connect with your customers through more interactive conversations, get in touch with us today or read more here.

3C

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