How to Design a Personality for Your AI Assistant

Ranbeer
AIAutomation
Published in
7 min readAug 23, 2019

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AI Assistants have been around since the 1960s, but even as their popularity has gone mainstream, their personalities are still largely lack-luster.

Chatbots are not new. MIT has been experimenting with them since 1964 when they began creating Eliza, the first chatbot to pass the Turing test. Now, chatbots are ubiquitous and have more capabilities than ever. This required a name-change from chatbots to AI Assistants since they can now communicate through voice, identify images and other means. Ever since Apple released their AI Assistant Siri in 2010, the market for AI Assistants has exploded with Google’s Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa and Window’s Cortana.

Now that chatbots and AI Assistants are the norm, what is the user experience like?

AI assistants — the user experience

In a report by eMarketer.com on the challenges of using chatbots, 47.5% of respondents said their biggest challenge was getting too many unhelpful responses, 28.2% said it was receiving bad suggestions and 24.9% said there were too many unnecessary pleasantries. Similarly, a study conducted by Voicebot, PullString and RAIN Agency found that more than half of voice assistant users are most concerned with how well a voice assistant understands them.

However, this same study found that 6.2% of respondents did care about a bot’s personality. From this, we can indicate that the kind of personality your AI assistant has should depend on what your users’ unique interests are. So, it’s not only important that your AI assistant understands what your buyers are asking of it, but also what your customer segments expect from their AI assistant experience.

Source: https://www.emarketer.com/content/customer-service-seekers-prefer-bypassing-humans

How to uncover what your buyers want

As Jessica Lachs, VP of Analytics at Doordash, puts it, “the goal of personalization is really to improve the customer experience… all of the testing that we’re doing is ultimately to reduce friction, improve conversion, retention, engagement for our consumers.” Doordash is a B2C (business-to-customer) business, but the same principals should dictate B2B companies’ efforts as well. There are many ways to create your buyer personas and segment your customers and many tools available to do so.

Here, at Social27, we use Fiind and Clearbit to help us gain information about our accounts. Then, we top it off with our own account-based marketing (ABM) analytics that tie it all together. You could also go a more traditional route using surveys to get a sense of your existing customers. There are many other possibilities and combinations of methods for segmenting your customers and accounts. I’ll go more in-depth into customer segmentation in a future blog. However, it is an important step toward the development of your AI assistant.

Crafting your AI assistant’s personality

After you have a grasp on what your buyers want from your AI assistant, it’s time to craft its personality. Here are five parameters to keep in mind:

1. Your target audience

As I mentioned above, the first step to crafting a personality for your AI assistant is to define your target audience and understand their preferences. It’s important to consider all possible perspectives that your target users may bring to their interaction with your AI assistant. Ask yourself several questions about your buyers and gather information via surveys and other information gathering techniques to get to know:

· Who will be using your AI assistant?

· What will be their primary purpose for interacting with your AI assistant?

· What are your buyers’ backgrounds?

· Where are your buyers from?

· What experiences are they using your product/service for?

These are just a few questions you could ask to get a more detailed understanding of your target audience and their expectations for using your AI assistant.

2. Purpose

This is a question that’s not only relevant to the personality of your AI assistant, but is a question you should have asked yourself before beginning any design or development on it: what purpose will your AI assistant serve? This goes beyond simply selecting your use case(s). You’ll want to figure out your AI assistant’s scope. Is it a general-purpose bot or does it have a more specialized purpose?

This will be a great guide for your AI assistant’s personality design. If your assistant’s main purpose is customer service or customer support, an empathetic tone may be an important facet of its personality. Whereas, if your bot is created to deliver information, it may take a more authoritative tone.

3. Relevance

Along with speed of response, this is among the most important traits an AI assistant can have. Your AI assistant’s responses should be relevant to your buyer’s inquiries. Unhelpful responses are at the top of the list in both studies cited above, and ensuring relevant responses is the remedy. However, relevance in the AI assistant’s responses are three-fold.

1. The AI assistant’s responses need to be relevant to the user’s inquiries.

2. Its personality should be relevant to the responses it is giving — this sort of goes along with “relevance”.

3. Its personality should be relevant to the industry it is part of.

Let me hone-in on the last point a bit further. When you go to the doctor, you expect a different tone then when you see your accountant or your real estate agent. Keep this in mind when crafting your AI assistant’s personality and make sure you are tailoring it to your industry.

An AI assistant focused in the healthcare industry may require some compassion, whereas an AI assistant for an accountant may require a more authoritative/professional tone and an AI assistant for a real estate agency should have some excitement and enthusiasm.

4. Simplicity

As with all technology, the simpler the user experience, the better. You want your AI assistant to be easy to use and easy to understand for your buyers. This is not only important for the UI and usability, but for its script and personality as well. Confusing responses will only frustrate users and prompt them to discontinue their interactions with your AI assistant.

Once you’ve created the scripts for your assistant, read them aloud! Reading anything you write aloud will bring you ample clarity into mistakes, confusion and how a new reader/interactor will understand what they’re reading/hearing. The more clear, concise and comprehensible your text is, the more willing your users will be to continue their interactions and the more positive their experience will be as well.

5. Conversation continuity

Relevance and simplicity play a role here, but continuity takes it a step further to ensure your AI assistant can take any conversation from beginning to end, to its logical conclusion. The biggest concern to remedy here is ensuring your AI assistant never leaves users feeling confused about next steps when they’re given a response. You want users to feel comfortable having a normal conversation with your AI assistant. So, ensure every possible query has a clear and complete conversational track.

From Personality to Conversation

So, you know the purpose for your AI assistant, what its users want and expect from it, what sort of voice your industry calls for and you now understand that relevance, simplicity and continuity are critical to its success. Now how do you take all this information, this cultivated personality, and turn it into scripts — into conversations?

Here, you can take the list from above and use it as a step-by-step guide for all of your AI assistant’s conversations. I’ll go over this briefly:

Step One: What’s a question Buyer Segment A is likely to ask your AI assistant?

Step Two: What purpose does your AI assistant serve for your user with this inquiry? (Example: its purpose could be to point the user to the right information or schedule a call with a sales representative.)

Step Three: Based on the question/inquiry, and the AI assistant’s purpose in responding, what is the most relevant response to the inquiry, as well as to Buyer Segment A’s preferences?

Step Four: What is the most clear, concise and simple way your AI assistant can communicate this response?

Step Five: What is the next step for the customer? Ensure the AI assistant also communicates next steps clearly whether it’s answering a clarifying question for the user, pointing the user in the right direction for more information or telling them to expect a reminder email about their sales appointment.

Conclusion

While users usually do not tend to focus on personality, and you don’t want your AI assistant’s personality to override its relevance, clarity and speed of responses, it’s an important part of tying your assistant to your brand. Having the right tone to meet your customer segments and industry is critical to comfortable interactions and ease-of-use.

Buyers are most concerned with being understood. Having the right tone and personality when interacting with them is one part of showing buyers that you understand them. An appropriate personality type shows buyers you understand their expectations and desires when interacting with your AI assistant. Don’t skip on this important nuance of a successful AI assistant.

Partnering in your AI automation projects

At Social27, we strive to understand your business needs and jointly develop the right AI automation strategy with the help of a step-by-step framework and best practices from across the industry. Subsequently, our automation products and solutions can enable rapid deployment and value realization.

If you want more help with building your bot’s personality, go to social27.com to check out our services. We would appreciate the opportunity to partner in your intelligent automation journey.

Question…

What traits would your AI assistant’s personality have considering your industry and buyer personas?

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