Chatbot platforms with integrated Natural Language Processing have the ability to understand both the customers’ intent and context. This allows for a more complex personality to be created for the chatbots, one that is either comparable to Bus Uncle who speaks Singlish and helps you with your bus route, or equal to Rose who is a 37 years old female and has a life story to tell.
As fun as such characters seem, creating such a character can be overly technical for a marketer. A marketer’s role usually revolves around creating collaterals to communicate the brand’s message with their customers. They are not necessarily experts with language structures. Similarly, chatbot developers are basically software developers who are familiar with integrating chatbots with an organisations’ backend system. This creates a gap between the expectations of the chatbot developers and the marketers, with each party expecting the other to possess the expertise of developing the bot’s personality.
The development of chatbot personalities is a creative process, not dissimilar to the process of character development commonly found in video games and movies. I will need to define the character’s personality and attach a believable background story. Specific to chatbot development, I will need to script out how the bot speaks by getting in-character to craft out the bot’s personality. This process inevitably increases the cost of developing the chatbot.
In Singapore, organisations understand chatbots through the bots deployed by government and banking websites. The deployed bots are the end-results of developments which do not provide these organisations with the visibility of the project management process, the budget and the challenges that happened during the development process. As a result, most organisations have little understanding of the factors affecting the budget, the engagement processes with the developer and the conceptualisation process behind the development of a chatbot. This is in contrast to the more widely understood project management processes for developing mobile apps.
Hence the short answer to the question is that there are not enough examples of chatbots being developed with personalities that are solving an organisation’s pain points. This makes it difficult for organisations who are just starting out, to justify the spending of additional cost to create personalities in the chatbots.