If given a choice between being on hold with customer service and having a query resolved by a few taps of a smartphone keyboard, most of us would pick the second option. It’s easy, quick and according to Gartner, 80% of companies will switch from native mobile applications to messaging by 2025.
Despite knowing this, many of the chatbots we encounter on a daily basis just don’t cut it. They lag, misunderstand simple questions and above all, don’t meet the standard of intuitive design that consumers expect.
This isn’t to say that the chatbot industry hasn’t evolved since its conception. We’ve come a long way from the clunky, barely functional chatbots of the late ’90s and early aughts. However, there’s room for improvement and innovation. The missing pillar? Conversational UX.
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What is conversational UX?
Conversational UX has largely been ignored in the bot-building process. It’s an entirely new paradigm in this space, but it’s not a new hurdle altogether. Every new advancement in tech is accompanied by a discussion on how humans can interact with the the tech for better results. Technologists aren’t just tasked with making sure the products work, they must also devise ways to make the experience functional.
Though chatbots are largely meant to handle simple customer service tasks, there is an opportunity to scale both customer service and sales messaging.
Conversational UX is an emerging field, but despite the need for more intuitive chatbots, the industry as a whole is not spending the necessary time and effort into perfecting the experience.
Chatbots often function as glorified web forms, without any of the intuition or seamless integrations that consumers expect to see when interacting with “smart” platforms. But the industry has improved dramatically in recent years: Modern chatbot platforms have hundreds of pre-built integrations, which enable companies to connect their existing systems and tools to provide a secure, unified customer experience.
With every new interface, the goal is to make human-machine interactions better and result in a more intuitive experience for the user. Conversational UX presents a greater challenge because of the nuances involved with human language. It requires careful thought, empathy for the user and significant design considerations to carefully craft elegant experiences.
Let’s walk through a few ways we can make the experience better for the average end user.
According to a recent study, the average American household has about 25 connected devices, including smart TVs, smartphones, tablets and laptops. This means we’re more connected than ever, with endless opportunities for companies to engage with their customers. But often, chatbots are fragmented across different touch points and can’t carry the historical data of past interactions with customers.