What Makes a Good Chatbot? Nine Must-Have Features

Trying to get a question answered by a basic, keyword-based chatbot that can’t understand what we need is frustrating—but it doesn’t have to be that way.

“Sorry, I didn’t get that. How can I help you?” 

“Sorry, I don’t understand. Do you have a question about an existing order?” 

“Sorry…”

Great conversational AI can superpower a customer service team and deliver personalized, intelligent customer interactions. The features that a chat widget offers give you clues about the quality of its AI technology.

So, what makes a good chatbot?

Here’s our list of nine useful features that a chatbot should have if you want to give your customers the best user experience.

Imagine:

You open the homepage of your favorite ecommerce site. You have a question and need to speak with customer support. There’s a chat button in the bottom right corner, and you click it. A chat box opens up.

1. It fits the brand’s visuals and tone of voice.

It’s clear that the chat is integrated with the company’s website and online presence. This is a strong sign that everything is working together to give you a smooth experience.

2. It speaks your language(s).

You can write in whatever language you want, and you’ll get the answers you need–even if you change languages mid-chat. It’s a relief to get information you can easily understand, especially when you have an urgent matter to handle.

3. It doesn’t mind your spelling mistakes.

Old-fashioned chatbots are keyword-based. This means they can only answer your questions if you type the keyword exactly as it appears in their response database. The best chatbots use conversational AI recognizes your question regardless of spelling, phrasing, or grammar.

4. It gives you clear answers without overwhelming you.

Conversational AI is perfect for common questions with direct, consistent answers. The best AI chatbots also break down long answers into manageable pieces for you. 

5. It proposes solutions.

If you have a question with multiple possible answers, the chatbot asks you for clarification. This is a useful feature because the AI chatbot doesn’t have to guess what you’re asking. Through some quick exchanges, the chatbot can identify your core issue.

To see how effective AI chatbots can be, even for companies that don’t use live chat, check out our Chatbots Work—Even without Chat blog post.

6. It gathers information from multiple sources (so you don’t have to).

Everything gets resolved in one place. For example, you can ask for package tracking updates from the delivery partner and see them directly in the chat.

7. It makes sure you’re getting the help you were actually looking for.

After receiving an answer, you’re automatically asked for feedback to make sure you got the service you wanted. This continuous feedback loop lets the AI learn, building and improving the chatbot over time. 

And if you’re not satisfied with the help you received, the chat can be escalated to a human team member.

8. It knows when to transfer you to a human being.

Some situations need empathy and creative problem solving. When you ask a question that doesn’t have a clear answer, the chat is directly handed off to a human customer service agent. You don’t need to pick up the phone, send an email, or open a new chat window.

9. It assists human customer service agents with helpful information and suggestions.

When the chat gets handed over to an agent, they’ll need the right information at their fingertips to get started. The conversational AI asks for key details like your name, order number, and email address so an agent doesn’t have to. AI can also support human agents by making product suggestions based on your preferences.

What features should a chatbot have?

Good chatbots are ones that seamlessly combine all these features in a way that comes across as natural, direct, and useful. The best AI chatbots save agents’ time, satisfy customers, and positively impact revenues.