By Jared Atchison, co-founder of WPForms

In the last few years, many business leaders have chosen to invest in personalized, conversational chatbots to take the place of human agents. And why wouldn't they? Bots have the ability to perform customer service solutions, conduct product purchasing, act as shopping assistants, recommend various products and services, and much more.

Chatbots can improve the user experience by reducing and sometimes eliminating the need for human assistance by allowing artificial intelligence (AI) to take over and solve problems. If your business is going to succeed, you need to ensure your customers are happy and your brand image is positive. So, to ensure visitors still see your business in a positive light when interacting with a chatbot, you need to build that chatbot with the ability to connect with them on a level where they feel understood, listened to and accommodated.

A research study by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology found that a chatbot with a human personality not only improves the user experience but also positively affects the user's perception. The more personalized and tailored the experience, the better. This technology helps businesses grow, receive positive feedback and build a satisfied customer base.

If you're trying to figure out how to give your chatbot more human-like qualities, here are five ways to get started.

1. Character Creation

A popular way that companies humanize their brands is by creating characters that represent them. This allows customers to recognize the brand from anywhere and puts a face to a name so they feel comfortable buying. By giving your chatbot a name and personality, you eliminate the cold connection users normally experience where each response feels computerized and robotic.

My company has some products set up with live chat that features characters with names and personalities. This helps our users feel further connected to our brand and helps humanize the overall experience of interacting with us.

But remember, you can't create a character until you've mapped out your brand identity. Make sure it matches your brand image so users can distinguish you from the competition.

2. Visual Expression

When you chat with someone online or via text message, it's common to use different types of media to express yourself. Chatbots can do this, too, in the form of GIFs, images, videos or emojis. When words simply aren't enough, using visual content helps to convey emotion and meaning. It also keeps a friendly connection brewing and shows the user that they can relate to the bot and, therefore, trust it. It's all about programming your bot to your advantage so that users feel you're a credible business they can depend on.

3. Colloquial Language

When programming your chatbot to be more lifelike, consider how realistic you want them to be speaking to visitors. If they're too formal, it'll come off as impersonal and void of feeling. If your bot is going to substitute the spot of an actual human being, it should speak like one. Users need to relate to whoever is on the other side of their screen if they're going to feel comfortable enough to convert. Create a conversational user interface for your chatbot and have it address users by name and offer casual greetings to make visitors feel like they're talking to an old friend.

4. Emotional Responses

Building a bot that can process conversational speech is one thing, but how about understanding emotion? Emotional AI uses voice, tone and eye movement to determine how the user is feeling so it knows how to respond next. Alongside colloquial language and being spoken to as a friend, if bots were able to showcase empathy for users, it could go a long way. A study conducted by Stanford University found that adding emotional embedding into chatbots generates positive responses from users.

5. Filler Words

It's common when we have conversations with others to subconsciously utter things like "hm" and "um." It's a natural way of expressing ourselves and collecting our thoughts before we're ready to process an entire sentence. If your chatbot does this, it will further humanize the experience and make the customer feel comfortable doing business with you.

Wrapping Up

Humanizing your chatbot for your website brings about tremendous benefits for business. It creates an emotional connection between user and bot through use of language. There are so many ways humans express themselves. When designing and programming your bot, study the ways people converse with one another and mimic those qualities and characteristics in your chatbot. The more human-like features you add, the better it will connect with customers.

Jared Atchison is the co-founder of WPForms, a drag & drop form builder for WordPress that's being used on over 400,000 websites.

Published on: Mar 20, 2019
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