Writing good answers

No matter how well designed the rest of your solution is, your chatbot will not be any good if the answers returned to the end user make no sense or are poorly phrased. The answers that a bot gives to user input are defined in the output nodes of a Teneo solution. The quality and style of these answers have a massive impact on how an end user perceives the final bot, and therefore need to be planned carefully. The style of the answers, e.g. the tone of voice, should also reflect the company that the bot represents; Teneo therefore makes it simple to tailor such design choices to different companies. On this page, we will go through our recommendations on how to write the best possible answers for your solution.

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Design choices and corporate identity

The logic and design that make up the architecture of a solution is obviously crucial in determining how well the bot is able to carry out a conversation. However, these are not the only aspects that determine the quality of the solution. It is also vital to consider everything that the end user sees when interacting with the bot, as this shapes their perception of the bot and, by extension, the company that the bot represents.

Corporate identity needs to be kept in mind when designing the front-end of a virtual assistant. More specifically, we must always consider the following:

  • Look and Feel
    • The appearance of the bot and the visual design choices that affect the user experience when interacting with the bot. These may, for example, be customized to reflect corporate identity by using company colors or specific fonts or logos.
  • Tone of Voice
    • The language used by the bot will say a lot about the company behind it. For example, the tone of voice of a bot on a banking website will be quite different to one on a coffee shop's website. Ideally, the tone of voice should be consistent and reflect the product appropriately.

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Creating answers

Another aspect of answers that is very important for maintaining the company identity is the answer content itself. Answers should be concise and adequately address users' questions. Here are some tips to consider when creating your own answers.

  • Write complete sentences
    • Do not make them too long. A web-based interface should have answers with a maximum of 300 characters. If the output is for a mobile channel, 140 characters should suffice.
  • Write generic answers
    • Keep in mind that the user inputs prompting a single answer will vary in phrasing. Answers should not start with 'yes' or 'no', for example, as they might not always be prompted by yes/no questions. Instead, write answers that will fit any input.
  • A good answer should consist of a complete sentence
    • They should make sense even without reading the question, refer to the user input, and show that the input has been understood. Avoid implicit references; use the company name and mention the subject whenever applicable.
  • Answer consistently
    • If designing a Virtual Assistant, the answer should be consistent with the Assistant's appearance, general dialogue style, and attitude. Consider the target group, branding, and corporate identity.
  • Always be consistent with terminology
    • The company name, products, and/or services should always be written in the same way. Make sure to avoid spelling and grammar mistakes.
  • Avoid unexpected follow-up questions
    • Do not write answers with implicit or explicit questions in them, unless they are part of a closed (self-contained) dialog flow.
  • Create multiple answers for important topics
    • Ideally, have several different answers for one (important) question in order to add dynamism and make the conversation sound more natural.
  • Try to direct the dialog to the solution's main relevant topic(s)
    • Answer irrelevant questions with relevant answers. Even if an answer is just small talk, it can be useful for bringing the focus back to the product or company that the solution promotes.
  • Include more actions where it is relevant
    • Remember that a response to a question can include more actions than just answer texts – where relevant, you can add a link, video, picture, etc. to provide further information. This can be done inside the solution or in the front end.

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