JeezusBot was introduced to his virtual world on the 15th February 2017 to a limited fanfare; he simply introduced himself. On the 4th March 2017 he had his first interaction with an individual based in Greece; she seemed intrigued, however, after checking if he could speak Greek, asking him ‘why don’t boys love me’ and asking him to ‘talk to her’, she gave up as JB clearly didn’t have the right answer (*or any answer) to any of those questions and couldn’t interact in a more complex conversation.
Lessons learnt by both JB and me from this interaction — he was far too one-dimensional.
JeezusBot was built on the Chatfuel platform as I am a non-techie and it’s easy to construct the Bot structure and conversation blocks (see below); the premise of JB was to introduce people to me — this may sound like narcissism, however, that wasn’t the intention — my thoughts were that it could be used to test the idea of a virtual CV as it would act as an introduction to me as a person, thereby creating a more 3-dimensional view of me as an individual for potential new employers.
With this idea in mind I created specific blocks for ‘Welcome message’ which is a standard part of the structure and then created blocks for Career, University, Blog Posts, Interests (*outside of work) and a Contact me option. Inserting a mixture of images and GIF’s to provide visual content was important as I thought text alone would have people tuning out immediately — much in the same way as CV’s might do now.
After inviting a small group of friends and respected colleagues to JB’s page via Facebook from my own FB page, while also posting to a popular chatbot group called Bots; I asked individuals to interact with JeezusBot and let me know what they think. That was on the 13th March 2017 and by the 14th March 2017 JB had been through 5 interactions;
- 10 conversational responses and a GIF in response
- 8 conversational responses and a compliment in response
- 4 conversational responses and a question — ‘Are you smart?’
- 2 conversational responses
- 12 conversational responses and a question about religion
In addition to posting personally, I paid for a promoted post on Facebook on the 16th March 2017 which was a YouTube video of a street performer playing drums; the idea was to provide JeezusBot with more of an identity through having an interest. The post reached a total of 336 people (308 paid for and 28 organically); this resulted in only 7 post engagements and zero traffic to JeezusBot’s Facebook page.
Through these interactions I drew some observations which are as follows;
- Your target audience(s) need to be defined; create personas for each one you wish to engage with and align the content accordingly
- Learn from each interaction and implement an iterative design process
- Humour increases engagement and interaction (*as long as the Bot knows when to respond with the correct response and not a random “A Zebra” — see above pic)
- If an individual is familiar with you or the brand, they will have a very different expectation in terms of the information they can access; in this case, they will not be satisfied with high-level or introductory information as they’ll seek deeper more meaningful information and data
- Assumptions will be made about your Bot; for example, that it might be able to speak multiple languages, that it can understand contextual conversation, that it has a level of intelligence beyond its actual capacity
- The Bot’s novelty factor may only last as long as one interaction if there is no reason or value in returning for another interaction / conversation
- Not everyone has an interest or can quantify the value of Bot technology at this stage as it perhaps hasn’t penetrated their work or social world
- Allocate a budget and design a plan of activities for promoted marketing material linked to your Bot; one-off promotions don’t drive consistent traffic to our Bot’s site
- Repetition of information reduces the quality of the user experience when an individual interacts with your Bot; users seem to forgive the limited capacity of your Bot on one or maybe two occasions
- Immediate choice is more appealing to the user; a question and decision to make engages the user more quickly than a extended introduction
What next for JeezusBot?
At this stage, I’m planning to reboot JeezusBot taking into account the aforementioned points I have learned and create an extended platform of information that he can offer and access for the individuals that wish to interact with him.
Any constructive and positive suggestions and/or feedback are always welcome.