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  • Carla Vianna

How to create a Chatbot that people love ❤️ and don't hate 🤬?



If you’re not the biggest fan of chatbots, you’re not alone. Truth is, many tour operators find chatbots useless and frustrating. We get it. Many of them might seem that way. But rest assured: There are ways to create a chatbot that people love.


Today’s chatbots can act as helpful travel agents assisting your customers from start to finish. They’re not only there to answer questions before a booking is made. They can also chat with guests after the fact, sending tips and reminders to help them make the best out of their experience.


For example, if you run a walking tour, wouldn’t it be nice to reduce no-shows by reminding guests of their upcoming tour a day before? And what better way to remind them than by sending them a quick text: “Are you ready for your tour, Taylor?”


While you’re at it, let the chatbot also recommend a list of things the guest should bring with them.


“Don’t forget to bring comfortable walking shoes, an umbrella, and some cash for the food market.”


On the day of the tour, you can follow up with a map and directions to your meeting spot. If a customer has a question about parking, they can ask away in the chat — and receive an answer in seconds.


Are you starting to see the value that chatbots can bring to your guests?


Airlines sure do. About 14% of the world’s airlines are using chatbots to improve customer experiences. Meanwhile, zoos, museums, and aquariums are implementing conversational AI to take their guest experience to the next level, allowing visitors to learn more about specific animals or artwork.


Tour operators can, too, benefit from using chatbots the right way. In this post, you’ll learn how you can create a chatbot your customers will love.


5 Tips to create a chatbot that people love


Not all chatbots are created equally. Let’s take a look at five ways that tour operators can create a chatbot that brings value to their customers — rather than annoy them.



1. Allow customers to ask questions naturally


Some chatbots make users communicate through a set of options or menus. Instead, your chatbot can greet them with a “Hello, how can I hope you today?” and allow them to answer in a natural way.


Your customers should be able to type a question or request the same way they would if talking to a real person. The conversation should flow naturally between the customer and the chatbot, whether they’re looking for your company’s address or updating a reservation.



2. Provide links with more information


A great chatbot will go above and beyond to answer a customer’s question. This means adding context to answers by providing links to relevant resources, such as a detailed map with directions, pictures, and FAQs.


Consider that when you send links to relevant pages on your site, you will keep customers hanging around longer. Once they have found the information they’re looking for, they’ll feel more comfortable booking with you.


Once customers have made a booking, you can send them a text message with a link to a PDF that tells them “everything you need to know before you come.” It’s all about giving customers peace of mind so that when they arrive, they can start having fun right away.


3. Personal and personalized responses

One of the most common ways to frustrate your customers is to provide them with answers that are too generic. See if you can customize responses according to the category or product that the customer is interested in. That way, the chatbot will be providing them with the most relevant information for their unique situation.


For example, if one of your customers asks "How long will this tour be?" and the chatbot's answer is "Most of our tours last between 4 - 8 hours. To get more information about the duration of your tour go to our website," they will likely feel frustrated at the end of the conversation.


Hence, what you need to do is provide answers that precisely address your customers' questions, based on the product they've booked. In this case, the better response would be, "Your tour will last approximately 4 hours.” On the same logic, your chatbot doesn’t need to sound like an automated computer. Ditch the generic conversation and address your customers by name, a simple move that can make the experience feel a lot more personal. The more personal the responses, the better your customers will respond.



Personalization is key, but remember to keep the communication short and sweet. Don’t overwhelm the user with too much text or jargon. This is a text messaging conversation after all, and your customers are expecting quick and seamless support.



4. Keep the user engaged


Let’s take a look at two hypothetical chatbots. The first greets the user with:


“Hello. How can I help you?”


The second greets the user like this:


“Hi, I’m Charles, your soon-to-be favorite virtual assistant! 😉 What’s your name?”


The second chatbot does a better job of engaging the user. That’s because a little bit of humor can go a long way. Giving your chatbot a sense of humor is one of the best ways to keep users entertained. If you can let your brand’s personality shine through the conversation, even better.


As you saw in the example above, what was expected to be a boring interaction can easily be transformed into something memorable.



5. Allow people to contact a real “human”

Your chatbot won’t have the capacity to address every single request. Rather than abandon the case and make users fend for themselves, give them the option to contact a real person.


Let’s say one of your customers wants to cancel a tour due to the weather. As you can see from the example above, the chatbot can provide them with the best phone number to call.


This will show your customers that you take their requests seriously and value their time and effort to solve them.


***


Chatbots are here to stay. The good news is that you don’t need to hate them. With these tips in hand, you have the opportunity to create a chatbot that both you and your customers will love.


We know this from experience. At TourOpp, we track how many people “love” their chatbot. About 12% of them will actually say "Thank you" to a chatbot, which clearly points to their level of satisfaction.


Soon, your customers will be saying “Thank you” to your chatbot, too.


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