Podcast: How Conversational Design Can Help Chatbots Deliver On Their Promise w/ Mary Tomasso

August 20, 2020

In this episode of The CX Podcast we spoke with Mary Tomasso, a Conversational Designer, who told us about this relatively new field, and why it’s so important when implementing automation.

What’s Conversational Design?

It’s designing the conversation between humans and Artificial Intelligence, such as chatbots, virtual assistants, etc. While humans know how to interact and respond to each other, machines lack the ability to show that they understand the other side.

Conversational designers’ goal is to make conversations with AI feel more human-like.

Why Is This New Field Crucial to Businesses?

Some companies and businesses who are implementing automation believe that chatbots can’t do what humans do. Most of the interactions with them can be annoying to the human, or customer.

A typical chatbot follows a pattern of questions and answers to communicate with the human in front of it. If the conversation does not go according to the pattern, the chatbot is “stuck” and can’t continue the conversation. They don’t get the job done and can’t help the humans they interact with.

We are still in the early stages of this profession, and businesses are just now learning that they need to invest time, money and resources in designing the conversation. Conversational design should be introduced from day 1, since the customers are expecting a good experience.

The goal is to deliver a Customer Experience similar, and ideally better than the one humans provide.

How Can Companies Get Started with Conversational Design?

The first step is having a conversation. Once you’ve created a flow, you can talk it out and see if it works. Voice is more natural to humans, and the best way to see if the conversation is working is by talking it out loud with someone else. If not possible, you can also record yourself and play it back.

Remember to style the conversation as naturally as possible. You need to know how humans communicate, and put efforts into providing the same experience across your automation tools. Ideally, you should have a conversational designer or someone with linguistic skills on the team, which can contribute to how humans react to different situations.

And if possible, you can use past communications to gain more data on how your customers are interacting with your representatives and brand.

Once you have the conversation ready, it's best to test it with a real customer. Have them go trough the different steps and variations you created to see if they are getting the experience they deserve, or if you need to go back and edit the conversation design.

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