Why Give your Chatbot an Avatar?

An avatar could be defined as both a physical and a psychological representation of a person. In the film Ready Player One, the characters’ avatars adjust their personality and current mood to better interact with others. A principle that clearly inspired Snapchat’s Bitmoji Deluxe feature. Chatbots, too, can be provided with an avatar in order to become more effective, embody the company’s brand and improve the user experience. In this article, we take a closer look at the topic!

The advantages of a chatbot avatar

In 2017, 150,000 virtual assistants were launched (1). In other words, your bot is just a drop in the digital ocean. The key to differentiating it? Personalization: giving your chatbot a physical appearance so that it fully embodies your company and your brand.

Energized social relations

The more digitalized things become, the more consumers crave human relations: 79 percent of all clients prefer a physical representative over a machine (1)! An avatar helps respond to this need, compensating for the absence of humans by lending a social dynamic to the relationship between brands and their clients.
In short, giving your chatbot a face helps ensure the continuity of the human-to-human dialogue. But without the user forgetting that he or she is speaking to a virtual assistant.

A virtual incarnation of the company

When endowed with an avatar, your chatbot ceases to be a simple tool. In effect, it becomes a full-fledged employee, taking the form of a regular team member. Everything is configurable: its appearance (man or woman, robot or animal, etc.), its clothing, its personality, the values it conveys, the sound of its voice and more.
Dress it in the uniform worn by your salesforce, and your bot becomes a virtual sales rep. Make it look like one of your customer service representatives, and your assistant becomes a digitalized consultant—like Elsa, the bot implemented by ÉS Énergies Strasbourg. In any case, a chatbot endowed with an avatar embodies your company more than ever!

See also: Why Give your Chatbot a Voice?

A powerful branding mechanism

An avatar helps make your chatbot more real. This leads to more personalized relationships with users. And to a genuine rapport, to the point where your bot gains stronger acceptance by its users. As a result, your bot is transformed into a powerful branding mechanism. By visually embodying your brand, it allows you to convey strong messages that make an impact.
But keep in mind that, while an avatar should be humanized, don’t go overboard. Users shouldn’t forget that they’re speaking to a chatbot. So your choice of avatar is a determining factor.

The SNCF Vbot: more than a chatbot—a travel companion

The “Vbot” implemented in 2016 by France’s national state-owned railway company, the SNCF, is one of the company’s most conclusive chatbot trials, with more than 21,000 users.

Based on Natural Language Processing technology, it enables internet users to book train tickets through a conversation on Messenger. With a sun-inspired avatar, this tool energized and rejuvenated the SNCF brand image at the same time as the service changed its name from voyages-sncf to OUI.sncf.

Choosing your chatbot’s avatar wisely: an essential prerequisite

A chatbot’s avatar makes it possible to create a true social dynamic around the brand. The key is knowing how to choose the appearance of your bot!
Here, nothing should be left to chance. Your chatbot’s avatar must fulfil two basic criteria: it must be relevant to your brand image and it must ensure the quality of the user experience. Ask yourself the following:

  • What is the anticipated goal of your chatbot? Detail the reasons behind endowing your bot with an avatar. Is it to embody the employer brand? To convey your company’s values? To personalize your customer relations?
  • What is your bot’s target audience? Just like the design of your website or mobile app, the appearance of your chatbot must be adapted to your target audience. For example, for interactions with millennials or Gen Z, a fun, entertaining representation would be most appropriate.
  • What is your virtual assistant’s position? Choose your avatar based on the image it should portray: serious, dynamic, friendly, humorous, expert, etc. For example, a Looney Tunes avatar wouldn’t be a particularly suitable choice for an insurance broker!

Answering these questions will help you choose the most appropriate avatar for your chatbot. And thereby multiply the effectiveness of its interactions!

Also, discover the 3 Qualities a Chatbot Needs for Humanized Customer Relations

Give your chatbot a face with the help of an avatar and make the user experience more dynamic, vivid and relevant. But don’t give it just any face: find the one that best embodies your brand and your values, while also encouraging natural, social interactions. Living Actor is known for its expertise in avatar creation, so don’t hesitate to contact us for support and guidance in this undertaking!

(1) Smart tribune, Comment humaniser la relation client à l’ère du digital (How to Humanize Customer Relations in the Digital Age), in French

Photo credit: Unsplash / JJ Ying