Do’s and Don’ts

 

Questions And Answers

1. Focus On The Customer’s Personal Needs From The Get-Go

The first question of your assistant is the most important as it decides whether the end-user will engage or not.

 

DO

start your assistant with a question that focuses on the benefits or different uses of your product from the customer’s perspective. Make it personal.

Examples: What describes you best..? Where do you want to use …? Who is the … for?

 

DON'T

start your assistant with a question that focuses solely on your company, your products, and technical features. Don’t make it about you.

Examples:
How did you find us? Are you looking for a product from our collection A or B?

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Figure 1: Example for “Do” by Kiddies Kingdom

2. Start Broad And Gradually Increase The Complexity

“Elimination by Aspects” is a model that is commonly used to describe how people make decisions: they evaluate one option at a time and typically start with requirements that are most important to them.

 

DO

arrange questions in a logical order that reflects the end-user’s hierarchy of importance. Create questions around aspects that are most important to them first to keep customers engaged and inclined to continue the conversation.

This is a commonly used sequence:

  1. Demographic – Who will use it?
  2. Habits and Preferences – How will it be used?
  3. Location - Where will it be used?
  4. Frequency of use - How often or when will it be used?
  5. Look – How should it look like?

However, try to put yourself in the shoes of your customers to develop a logical sequence that works and makes sense to them.

 

DON'T

arrange questions in an order that seems random or use questions that are too difficult to answer.

Users are most engaged during the initial steps of digital assistants. Whenever you use questions that are not easy to answer or not immediately clear, you risk either overwhelming or boring your users, which will result in higher bounce rates.

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Figure 2: Example for “Do” by Asics

3. Always Bear In Mind That Your Customer May Not Be An Expert

Although the purpose of some product features might seem obvious to you, it might not be fully understandable for your customer.

The questions and answers in your assistant should help your customers, not confuse them. Your digital assistants should serve to guide the customers and help them find what they need, not to re-raise doubts.

 

DO

try to get to know the customer and their needs and expectations.  Use a conversational tone and terms that are easy to understand.

 

DON'T

use terms that are either ambiguous or overly technical. By asking a technical and complex question you’re taking a risk of losing their interest quickly. Also, don’t be too wordy when crafting questions.

4. Ask The Right Questions

If you want to help your customers decide and provide suitable recommendations, you have to ask the right questions. These are questions that help you understand more about them - their situation, their needs, what they are trying to achieve and how your products fit in their world.

A good assistant is not defined by the number of questions (see chapter 5) but by how good the questions are and how natural the conversation flow feels.

It should be your aim to create a dialogue that makes users feels completely understood and respected. Take a shoe assistant for example. Asking a customer who has indicated that she is looking for a casual sports shoe about her preferred heel size in one of the follow-up questions, will not make for a satisfying experience. It can lead to confusion and distrust of the recommendation.

 

DO

define different paths for different user personas and adapt the conversation flow dynamically based on previous answers. Digital assistants are dynamic interactive applications after all.

 

DON'T

create a digital assistant that feels like a static script!

Below, you can find an example of a dynamic flow. Customers who need a printer for home use are presented with follow up questions that differ from the questions shown to customers who need a printer for their office.

In both cases, the assistant dynamically adapts the question flow to display only relevant questions that reflect the user’s context.

TIP

zoovu’s conversation builder allows you to quickly define dynamic conversation flows to help you create a digital assistant that is personal and adaptive.

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Figure 3: Example by Canon USA – Users can define where they want to use the printer

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Figure 4: Users who need a printer at home are asked this follow up question…

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Figure 5: … while users who need a printer for their office will see this

5. The Perfect Number Of Questions?

These are some of the most interesting questions we receive quite often:

  • How long should the digital assistant be?
  • How many questions should I ask?
  • How many answer options should I provide?
  • How does the length of the assistant impact the conversion rate or drop-off rate?

Unfortunately, there aren’t standard answers to these questions, as the optimal assistant length depends on several factors such as:

  • The familiarity of your customers with a product domain
  • The customer’s expectations
  • The complexity of the product

However, there is one fast and hard rule you can apply:

TIP

Ask as many questions as necessary to get the customer through your assistant

  1. As quickly as possible.
  2. While still providing credible, trustworthy and relevant recommendations.


How to find the perfect number?

To figure out the optimal number of questions, use zoovu’s Insight and Multivariate Testing capabilities to evaluate how your customers respond to different assistant variations.

Analyze at which point users drop-off and how different assistant lengths impact the conversion rate. This information will help you make incremental improvements to your digital assistant.

What we found through Multivariate Testing:

  • Long processes (more than 5 questions) work well in complex product domains with many aspects to consider (e.g. home appliances, laptops, cars, insurances…).
  • On the other hand, using shorter processes (less than 5 questions) in complex product domains can lead users to not considering the assistant as being credible and will impact trust in the generated recommendations.

Our advice: test, test, test. The results from your test might even surprise you and will certainly help you make your assistant better for your customers.

Design And Experience

1. A Good Picture Speaks 1,000 Words

People are visual. The human brain processes images much faster than words.

By integrating compelling pictures in your digital assistant you are able to create a positive first impression and increase the number of customers who will want to use it.

 

DO

use images that aid the understanding of the assistant’s question and answer options. By using visual cues, you help your customers process the information faster, making their experience with the assistant more fluid.

Stock photos can be either really awkward or absolutely great. Make sure that the images you use fit into the overall look and feel of your brand and align with your audience.

Crop images to display them all in the same size and style for a more consistent experience.

Remember the scale and integrate your images in a larger size. In a constantly changing digital landscape, the emergence of more retina displays makes it necessary for your images to be usable regardless of the device your customers use. Built it large and then scale down.

 

DON'T

use low resolution or blurry images as they don’t add value. If you don’t have amazing pictures at your disposal, better don’t use any. Don’t use images for the sake of using images.

Don’t use generic images that do not add context and do nothing more than confuse.

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Figure 6: Example for “Do” by T-Mobile USA

 

7 sites to get free stock images

  1. Makerbook
  2. Pixabay
  3. Pexels
  4. Unsplash
  5. Pic Jumbo
  6. Gratisography
  7. StockSnap

Customer education is an important element in your customer’s decision-making process. By using your assistants to educate them and share relevant information, you will be able to increase their trust in the recommendations and help them make more informed, more confident decisions.

2. Use Your Chance To Educate

You can integrate additional information in the form of pop-up info texts that show up on hover or make relevant and related video and audio content readily available.

The main benefits of educative content within your assistant are

  • Explaining the benefits of certain features and functionalities
  • Generating interest in newly introduced products
  • Highlighting reasons why certain feature are optimal options
  • Providing simple details to help users understand their options
 

DO

display information that adds value from the user’s perspective. Integrate it where they are contextually relevant.

 

DON'T

make the information too long or overly complicated.

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Figure 7: Example for “Do” by Kelty

 

The Result

“We found the perfect product for you…!”

Finally, the result! This is the point at which you will be able to find out how beneficial your digital assistant really was to the decision-making process of your customers.

Users who land on the last page of your assistant expect to be rewarded for their effort.

 

DO

make sure that the result makes sense. Testing your assistant is inevitable.

Display meaningful details that help your customers understand how a recommendation relates to their needs. Help them understand why you recommended certain options to increase their decision-confidence.

Whenever there is no exact match display alternative results to prevent frustrating experiences.

 

DON'T

display zero results if the user’s needs cannot be fulfilled completely.

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Figure 8: Example for “Do” by Evans Cycle

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