There’s a newer edition of the research this blog post was about — and a newer blog post you might want to read instead of this one.



Chatbots have a bad reputation, and it’s well deserved — most of them disappoint. As one expert humorously put it when I interviewed him as part of my research about how to design effective chatbots:

“In the early days, a lot of people thought ‘any idiot could put together a chatbot’ — and unfortunately they did.” (LivePerson’s Jon Altschuler, senior director of creative services, enterprise bot solutions)

Yes, creating an effective chatbot turns out to be harder that it looks. For your organization’s chatbot to delight customers, employees, and partners instead of disappointing them, you need to master conversation design, a new discipline for experiences based on conversational AI.

If you’re interested in learning more, check out my research stream on the subject — the first three reports in the series just went live today (and there will be more coming soon):

  • Design Better Chatbots. This report explains the challenges and how to make your chatbot effective — whether you already have one or have just begun to consider creating one.
  • Design What Your Chatbot Does. This report is about identifying and prioritizing intents: what users want that your chatbot must provide — whether it’s information or a transaction.
  • Design Who Your Chatbot Is. This report explains the essentials of designing a chatbot’s overall tone and behaviors and deciding whether and how to assign it a name and/or gender.

If you’re a Forrester client and you’d like to speak with me about my research, let’s schedule a time (here). And if you’re open to me interviewing you about chatbot design (whether you’re a provider of technology or services or you’re an organization creating a chatbot for your own customers, employees, and/or partners) connect with me (here), and let’s find a time to talk.

I’m grateful to all the helpful experts I interviewed for this research at big tech providers — like Amazon and Google — and smaller providers of technology and services — like Cognigy, Kasisto, Work & Co, and Blink UX — and especially to companies developing chatbots for their own users — like L.L.Bean, Alight Solutions, BBVA, PacSun, and HSBC. And an extra-special thanks to Rebecca Evanhoe, coauthor (with Diana Deibel) of “Conversations with Things,” a deeply insightful book about designing automated natural language conversations.

Let’s design better chatbots!