Copywriting for chatbots 


Copywriting for chatbots 

June 2021
Illustration of chatbot set against a blue background

Chatbots provide an alternative to humans delivering customer service. 

Copywriting that ensures your chatbot scripts are convincing helps maintain great customer service and brand experience. At the same time, it helps make sure your customers’ needs are met.

They also deliver other business benefits, including freeing up your customer facing teams in areas such as sales and support from low value interactions so they can focus on more in-depth customer needs. 

The increased prevalence of chatbots as a customer service tool comes as no surprise as their ability to communicate instantly and efficiently around the clock delivers a range of customer service benefits.

The challenge is making these bots more engaging and effective. When writing for chatbots, it’s important to consider the best way to get the user to their desired goal and how to make the experience positive, so that customers will be happy to return to your website again.

What is a chatbot?

A chatbot is a technology solution, essentially a computer program, that provides automated personalised responses, answering questions and solving problems without a human operator. They often appear on websites in the form of an instant messenger service that responds in a natural manner thanks to predefined scripts.

Chatbots are starting to be driven by AI, which is underpinned by neuro linguistic programming and machine learning to generate, refine and improve responses. Although AI chatbots don’t use scripts, they still require this understanding of speech and tone of voice. That requires a different approach that’s not about copywriting scripts but teaching an AI solution to understand how best to speak to customers and the tone of voice to use.    

The use of chatbots in everyday life, from asking your phone for a weather forecast to receiving support on how to load a new toner cartridge into the laser printer in the office, means people are increasingly comfortable with this style of service. This familiarity with AI and its efficiency means that, according to Invespcro, 56% of people would rather message a company than call customer services, proving the value of chatbots.

Chatbots can save up to 30% in customer support costs, as stated by Outgrow, freeing staff resources, saving time and reducing operational costs required for telephones or live messenger boards. Outside of customer service, chatbots can also help potential leads be moved through from opportunities to sales. On top of this, the return of investment on a chatbot can be increased by keeping them updated with seasonal changes and variations in services or products.

How to write copy for chatbots

Copywriting for chatbots starts with creating a flowchart of possible conversations. It is possible for the chatbot to take the lead in the conversation, by asking questions. But you can’t predict exactly what the human might say in response. 

So, it is best practice to spend time mapping out all the imaginable avenues that a conversation could go down. The purpose of the chatbot is generally to get the user to their specific goal as efficiently as possible, so planning is vital.

Asking closed questions, such as ‘Do you need a printer?’ is also ideal for chatbots. They will be met with simple answers, which are easy for your chatbot to respond to and guide your user closer to their goal. Open ended questions, such as ‘what sort of projects are you using this for?’  should be kept to a minimum to reduce the potential for misinterpretation. 

It is important to have a prepared error message that will help move the conversation forward if confusion arises, such as asking for simpler language, rather than just citing a misunderstanding. You may even choose to have a limited number of options for open questions, rather than allowing the user to answer how they like.

Overhead view of laptop on a desk and a person sitting with paper and pen

Who should write copy for chatbots?

Programmers develop the software or computer program through which chatbots operate, but that doesn’t mean the programmer is best-placed to write copy for chatbots. Chatbots can help you improve customer engagement. But to do that, they need to communicate effectively with the customer and, ultimately, either solve the customer’s problem or convert them in some way. 

If you’re developing a chatbot for use by your organisation, a digital copywriter should be tasked with developing chatbot conversation templates based on marketing persona insights. Due to advances in chatbot technology, there is an expectation among customers for chatbots to have strong conversational capabilities, akin to that of a human being. To achieve this, you need a skilled copywriter, preferably one with experience of writing for chatbots. 

Chatbot conversation templates need to be human-like to engage and convert potential customers.

How to create and update your chatbot scripts

You want your bots to sound like your human customer service people, who are your brand champions. So, bot scripts must be carefully created to ensure that they reflect your brand. They should be written in a style and tone of voice that is consistent with your brand’s character, whether that is formal or fun. That’s why part of your planning process for writing chat bot scripts should be to ensure you have an established tone of voice.

The language of the conversation should be natural and provide a personal experience, with a variety of prompts for each question to keep the chat interesting. Your chatbot should send a series of simple responses rather than a long paragraph, to keep the user engaged and make messages easier to understand.

In terms of updating the chatbot script, this should be done on an ongoing basis as you learn what works well and what works less well. That’s the great thing about chatbots – they are a digital solution so, like all digital marketing, you can monitor, measure and adjust. Analysing transcripts and measuring customer pathway outcomes enable you to refine customer journeys and the underlying algorithms and AI that drives the response. 

And of course, you should plan for updates when the solutions provided by your organisation change, or seasonally, to reflect changes in the market or buying patterns that may come about as the result of weather or special occasions. Finally, when introducing new scripts use alpha/beta testing, so edits should be made to the chatbot as different versions of the script are trialled to see which produce the best results.

Chatbots: enhancing customer service

For companies with an online presence, chatbots are an efficient and cost-effective way to ensure your customers are receiving the best customer service anytime and from anywhere. Having a well written chatbot script means that the service remains on-brand, up to date and keeps users returning to you time and again.

Need a copywriter to produce your chatbot script? Call us to find out more about our services: +44 (0) 20 7100 4460.

What can we do for you?

For a no obligation discussion about how we can help you meet your marketing and communication objectives call or email us.

+44 (0) 20 7100 4460

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