Look, who’s talking? — Designing voice- and text-based chatbots with personality.

Marco Spies about how to design chatbot conversations with the brand personality in mind.
Messaging-based chatbots often need to share the user’s attention with other chatbots. It is quite possible that a user has several virtual chatbot contacts in his messenger in addition to his human contacts. The user will “ping” them as much as his human contacts:
“Hey Anna, I have to go to London tomorrow for a few days, can you suggest a flight?” “Sure! Do you like to fly alone or for how many adults and children should I search?”
In such multi-bot-environments it’s crucial that the brand remains distinguishable and has a strong, independent character that responds adequately to the user’s context. Same goes for voice assistants, as we see a growing number of specialised services coming up ( see our overview of current voice assistants here (German only) ).
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Here are five things to consider , when defining a chatbots personality:
1. The chatbot personality IS the user experience.
More than in any other medium, in chatbots the brand personality IS the user experience. How do we encounter the brand in a certain chatbot? As a friend? An assistant? A Challenger? A trainer? At think moto we usually derive the chatbots personality from your brands archetypical role in the market, which it has to relate to, although in many cases it will not be identical with the brands over-all personality.
2. Be aware of the context.
Also, not every personality fits every task. Different personality facets should be emphasized depending on the situation and application context. Just as a service employee needs different soft skills and character traits than a salesperson, the chatbot that supports the user in service tasks must tick differently than the shopping chatbot.
3. Distinguish character from behaviour.
When we define a chatbots personality, we should distinguish character and behavior. The character remains the same, but over time its behaviour can adapt to the user in a corridor to be defined by the brand and thus contribute to building up a lasting relationship.
4. Define knowledge and skills.
A voice assistants or messaging bots personality must match his/her knowledge and skills. What topics and content does the bot feel confident about? Therefore, at the beginning of a project we define a thematic map on which we classify knowledge domains and sort them according to specialist knowledge, general knowledge and “un” knowledge.
5. Make the user believe.
Suspension of Disbelief , a term coined by the English poet Samuel Coleridge for defining the readers sacrifice of logic...