Introducing BB: The Bold360 Chatbot
Since the early days of AI becoming part of our world – mostly through TV and the movies — there’s been a debate about how “human” AI should really be. The challenge of AI developers everywhere is how to balance making AI approachable while at the same time not disappointing the end user with the promise of a true human experience that will ultimately miss that mark (i.e. “Sorry, I didn’t understand that?” )
On one end of the spectrum is in impersonal and soulless “Hal” from 2001: A Space Odyssey. On the other end of the spectrum is a fully personified virtual agent that takes the form and personality of a human – with a face and a name. As companies create more customer facing AI-powered experiences, this continuum will only become more important to properly navigate as it is an extension of the company brand and may become the first line of most customer interactions.
We are living this same journey ourselves, along with our customers. We started with a very simple AI-powered chatbot on our website and then quickly wanted to expand the breadth, and quality, of the experiences it delivered. We created BB, or BoldBot, if you want to be formal, as an approachable and helpful chatbot for anyone trying to better understand how AI can transform their customer experience and business. BB started with a simple set of content, like welcome greetings and icons. But we quickly grew from there, by creating a library of visual assets, creating a tone and variety of use-cases that BB could address.
Poor design decisions plague many companies as they start out to create their own version of BB. Here are some of the best practices we learned creating our bot friend.
Be clear on your objectives and desired outcomes
The first step in any AI journey is being clear the problem you are trying to solve. Are you trying to make access to information easier? Are you trying to drive higher conversion or more engagements? What type of information will you be sharing, simple short answers or more complex content like videos or images? Your chatbot experience should be built around the specific customer journey you are trying to optimize. If your customers are trying to focus more on finding information and completing transactions, like in banking, you may want to just create a name and icon for your chatbot and not over design it. However, if you are a consumer brand you may want to give the design more attention to drive clicks and create familiarity. There are lots of great examples of iconic brand mascots that dramatically enhanced brands, which is a good way to think about where you can take your chatbot. However, any investment in your chatbot brand should be aligned to the business and customer journey objectives you initially define.
Create bot brand guidelines
Just as every company creates guidelines around their brand, you should do the same for you AI chatbot experience. This should include things like visual assets, tone, fonts, colors scheme and example use-cases. This will create direction, and guard rails, on how you want to use the chatbot and the expected experience it should deliver to the end user. It can also allow you to explore new ideas and creative options to identify new best practices and then scale those across teams and different implementations. Furthermore, as you add new team members or address new use-cases you have a blueprint for success that will help project ramp faster and be more consistent in the quality of the outcome.
Don’t take a single, one-size fits all, approach
While consistency is important in the end user experience, you should adjust your approach based on the location, purpose and audience. For example, you may want the chatbot on your homepage to have a friendlier tone and be more visually enticing, but when you move to a support page or in-app experience you may want to tone down the visual design and make the experience more direct and matter of fact. You can still provide consistency through colors and iconography but adapt the experience to either be front and center, or fade into the background to focus on simplicity and ease-of-use.
Look for ways to expand your chatbot’s brand
As your AI chatbot branding grows you should look for new ways to leverage it across both new use-cases, such as more channels or in engaging with existing customers for cross-sell and up-sell. It can become a very familiar and powerful personification of your brand and be something that potential, and existing, customers seek out. Just like brand mascots, AI chatbots and virtual assistants can become the face of your brand and delight customers with creative and fun experiences. It is also something that can be used internally for employee facing experiences to improve employee satisfaction by becoming an internal resource. The possibilities are endless.
In today’s world, AI-powered chatbot and virtual assistants are becoming the go-to brand ambassadors for many companies. They are at the heart of your customer’s experience and it’s important to take a thoughtful and focused approach. BB has offered our customers a fun way to engage with our brand – all while checking out what our technology can really do. While this bot is new to the landscape of legendary brand ambassadors, we are consistently working to ensure BB is one of the best.
See how BB is transforming our customer experiences here.