From chat to voice

If you're thinking about converting part of your chatbot into a voice bot, make sure to read through these useful tips before you do so.‌

Convert all visible and clickable elements

Since your users can’t see or click anything, you'll need to convert such elements into sonic info. For example, instead of showing a clickable URL, your bot can ask if it can text the URL to the user’s phone so they can click it there.‌

Shorten your copy as much as you can

A human can read up to 300 words a minute, but can only speak 150. This means that the cognitive load is much higher for speaking and listening. To make it easier for your user, you’ll need to break long pieces of information into separate blocks and add enough pauses.‌

You can also use follow-up questions like “Do you want to hear more about X?” to give the user a break from listening. Or, after describing a few options, the bot can ask “Do you want to hear more about option X or Y?” instead of explaining both options.‌

Increase the number of expressions

When writing, people usually tend to use shorter sentences than when they're speaking. They also tend to repeat parts of the question, which makes it easier to train your bot. But when people are talking to a voice assistant, they tend to talk for much longer and use longer sentences too. They add more context to their requests. Make sure your voice assistant can understand the user by adding more expressions (and longer ones too).‌

Use more confirmations

With no visual support, the customer cannot scroll back in the conversation to retrieve or check information, so your bot will need to be a bit more hands-on and confirm or repeat (important) information.‌

Anticipate silences

If it takes a few seconds for your bot to retrieve information from a backend system, or call up an API, make sure the bot lets the user know that there will be a short silence. Otherwise, the user might think the call is over. Simply have the bot say "One moment please" or "Let me look that up for you. It's a small thing but it goes a very long way when it comes to delivering a great user experience.‌

For example: if someone wants to upgrade their subscription, the bot has to go into that person's data and see which subscription they have right now, which options can be added exactly, what the requirements are to do so, etc. These kinds of API calls are gonna take a while, so here you could add a confirmation message that fills up the time it takes for the bot to pull the right data.‌

After the user has stated they want to upgrade their subscription, instead of asking “what’s your current subscription?” you can buy some time by saying "Okay, so you’d like to upgrade your subscription, right?” and once the user confirms, the bot can say something like “Great, I can help you with that. What’s your current subscription?”. By the time these questions are asked and answered, the bot has pulled the info it needs to seamlessly continue the conversation.

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