How to Keep the Human Touch and Not Sound Like a Robot
Have you ever wondered if you are chatting with a human or a robot? Have your chat operators ever received the question “Are you a human or a robot?”? You are not alone.
A chatbot is computer software that simulates human conversation. Live chat is the channel behind which a real person stands. There is still a big difference between the two of them.
Even though chatbots’ development increases every day, it is still easy to recognize it in a conversation. Similarly, it should be easy to recognize you are chatting with a person. This, however, is not always the case. So how do real people sound like a robot sometimes and how can that be fixed?
What Makes the Chatbot a Robot
The chatbot is programmed to give certain answers to questions that consist of a set of keywords. When it detects these words, it gives the answer related to them. It might not completely answer the customer’s question or solve the matter, but it can guide them through to the solution. The following signs give away the chatbot:
- The avatar – usually the chatbot’s avatar is actually a picture of a cute, small robot. It is smiling or waving at you and you know it is not a real person.
- The name – the name of the chatbot would also be robotic. It will probably consist of the word “chatbot” itself or a name followed by “bot”. For example, Drift’s chatbot is called DriftBot.
- Immediate reply – when you ask a chatbot something, it immediately gives you the answer connected to the keywords you have provided. You type something else, and you again receive a lightning-fast reply.
- Keywords request – some chatbots are programmed to ask for keywords themselves. In their reply, they can ask you a question where they give two options and you need to choose one. For example, Sephora’s messenger bot is asking qualifying questions to guide the customer to the product they are looking for.
- Transfer – it is common that the chatbot is used at the beginning of the conversation. It can gather important information first and then transfer it, or if it is no longer helpful to the customer it can transfer the chat to a real person then. It usually sends a message about the transfer and you know you are to be talking to a human.
So these are the most visible signs that you are talking to a robot and not a human. They are pretty clear and easy to spot. People, however, still mistake a real person for a robot on an everyday basis.
Go Back to Being a Human
There are a few simple things you can do for customers to know for sure they are talking to a real person. Here are some of them:
Careful Usage of Quick Replies
That tool is very useful when it comes to speed and providing the correct information. Sometimes, however, not all parts of the text can relate to the customer’s question. So it is pretty easy for them to think that a robot got one or more words out of their question and related it to the text they received.
It really doesn’t look good to receive a reply that makes no sense to what you have asked. It might seem disrespectful and a bit repulsive for the customer.
In order to avoid all that, it is best to read the question thoroughly and modify the response according to it. This is how you show there is a real consciousness behind the screen, thinking.
Sending Too Long Messages
If the canned response is a long text and the chat operator sends it within seconds after the customer’s question, it is even more suspicious. Who is capable of writing this fast? This makes you think “robot” straight away.
Yes, it is still possible for someone to write that fast even if it is not a canned response, especially if there is an option for a message preview. Then the operator can start typing the answer even before the question is asked.
If you still want to seem more human-like, it is best to shorten your answers (canned or not). Sending little bits of information one by one will look more like a flow of human thoughts following each other. It will also be easier to read.
Being Too Impersonal
Replying to customers with super short answers, like “Yes” and “No”; not asking additional, clarifying questions, can make the conversation too dry and empty. Such conversations people have with robots.
Adding the human touch, something only we humans can do can make a lot of difference. Customers will definitely know they are talking to a real person. Small phrases like “I think”, “I believe”, and “I understand” can help a lot.
Be polite, use words that show you are actually thinking, trying to solve the matter. Use the customer’s name if possible. Don’t forget you are talking to another human being and not just filling in a question form.
Moderate Use of the New Body Language
Even though it is not one of the most professional things, using emoticons can contribute to the human tone of the conversation. In the modern world, we live in, this is almost the new body language. You can express your emotions when your face is not visible, through emoticons.
We use this in our everyday lives and it is now hard to imagine a personal chat conversation without them. Using them in the professional field, however, is a bit more different. Yes, it is good to use them from time to time – a tiny smiley can never hurt.
It is important, however, to not overuse them. After all, you are talking to a customer here and not your chat buddy. So make sure to know when it is okay to use them and when it is better to avoid them. You definitely don’t want to send smileys to a furious customer, right?
Putting on the Customers’ shoes
It is pretty easy to forget you are talking to people; people, that are composed of emotions, thoughts, and experiences. The main difference between a robotic system and a real person lays here. The person can lead the conversation in regards to the others’ feelings, making sure not to hurt and frustrate them.
Make sure you see things from their point of view and try to help them from there.
Sometimes, when operators gain all the knowledge they should have in the company, it seems hard for them to explain things in more simple language. This phenomenon is called the “Curse of Knowledge”. It can affect the communication with customers that need help.
To break the curse, you simply need to walk into the customers’ shoes more often. If you put yourself in their position, it will be easier to understand them and easier to help them. You will no longer be the rude robot that speaks things nobody can understand. It’s another human quality – to put yourself in someone else’s position.
Give the Robot a Break
There will always be people, asking if you are a robot or a human. They might be simply making sure they will be understood and their issue will be resolved. Some of them already know a robot won’t be able to help them, so this is why they ask. Others are asking in order to imply you are replying like a robot.
It doesn’t really matter what the case is – if you are a human being, better make sure people are able to recognize it. There will probably come a time when it will be really hard to tell the difference between a chatbot and a live chat operator. But let’s not be ahead of our time and be the best humans we can be now.