Conversational experiences help businesses unlock a new level of customer communication. A good conversational design turns boring business interactions into fun and engaging experiences.
In this article, we recap the fundamentals of conversational design. We'll also point out the most common mistakes that businesses make when developing their UI/UX.
What is conversational design?
Conversational design is a broad term. In this case, we're talking about conversational design as it relates to conversational user interfaces.
A conversational user interface (CUI) is a digital interface. It allows users to interact with software through basic, human conversation. In short, people can either talk or message with software in a way that feels natural and social.
Conversational user interfaces have come a long way in the past few years. In the past, businesses would build out separate interfaces and apps. Live chat and branded apps are good examples of early CUIs.
In recent years, omnichannel experiences became the norm. Businesses now know that they need to be where their customers are.
As a result, the focus is now on building out experiences on preexisting messaging apps. These are apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Essentially, they're the platforms that their customers are already using daily.
Conversational design is evolving
For many years, a textual interface was the only way to interact with software. Clunky, text-only experiences earned chatbots a bad reputation.
Now, conversational apps use graphic user interfaces (GUIs). GUIs include buttons, carousels, calendar views, and other rich elements that make things simpler and more engaging.
The possibilities for conversational design are now wider. As a result, businesses must stay current with conversational design best practices.
5 common conversational design mistakes
Sometimes, the best insight comes from others' mistakes. Let's break down the five most common conversational design mistakes, so you can avoid them.
1. Poorly defining the conversational design use case
Companies that don't understand their customers' needs won't craft the right experience. We often see how tempting it can be to jump right into development, without first defining a specific use case.
Without a clear purpose, the development work is unfocused and expectations are difficult to manage. Instead, outline specific problems that the conversational experience will solve.
These are common tasks that can be made easier or faster. The ultimate goal is for you to make experiences more intuitive, all while freeing up your human resources.
2. Not planning for the human-agent handover
Our clients find that 80% of interactions come from 20% of total interactions. They're able to map out and resolve the majority of interactions through automation.
However, you'll need to prepare for cases that cannot be fully automated. A clear and direct path to human escalation is necessary, and is required by leading messaging platforms.
Customer satisfaction ratings will suffer if a human agent cannot be reached for complex cases. Similarly, if the bot fails too many times before the customer reaches an agent, they may abandon the conversation altogether.
3. Designing text-only experiences
Text-only chatbots do not work. Businesses that don't leverage the power of conversational apps find it difficult to create streamlined experiences.
Not using graphic and rich elements will make the conversation fall flat. Instead, define which rich, conversational extensions can be useful for passing information in the simplest way.
4. Failing to aggregate messaging channels
At Hubtype, we talk a lot about the issue of scale. It's part of why businesses adopt messaging and automation in the first place; to service more customers, more efficiently, with fewer resources.
The ability to aggregate and manage multiple channels at once plays an important role when scaling. Without aggregated APIs that hold key information, teams cannot be empowered to make quicker, effective decisions.
Instead, conversations should be built to deploy and scale across multiple messaging channels. They should be aggregated to manage context, human handoffs, and multichannel integrations.
5. Overcomplicating the conversational design with AI
Finally, the last mistake on our list is one of the most dangerous. Overcomplicating the conversational design with AI leads to wasted time, money, and effort.
While AI can complement a conversational strategy, it is usually not needed as a core focus. More often than not, our clients find that rule-based bots are flexible enough to handle their use cases.
We recommend mapping the decision tree using a tool like draw.io. Our clients that properly map decision trees are able to build robust rule-based bots, which is far easier than developing AI.
Is your team making any of these conversational design mistakes?
Don't worry, we've got you covered. We've put together a free workbook and checklist to help you follow conversational design best practices. Check it out below!