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Chatbot persona: What it is + how to create one

A chatbot persona is a bot's human-like characteristics and personality. Learn how to create a unique chatbot persona to match your brand and level up your CX.

By Hannah Wren, Staff Writer

Last updated October 23, 2023

What is a chatbot persona?

A chatbot persona is a chatbot’s personality, including its voice, tone, and behavior. A chatbot persona is an extension of a brand’s identity and can transform the chatbot experience from boring and robotic to exciting and engaging.

A chatbot without a chatbot persona is like a car without a radio. Sure, it may be able to get you to your destination, but it won’t be as memorable or as enjoyable of an experience.

In this guide, we’ll break down the benefits of using a chatbot persona, its key components, where to use it, popular examples, and how to create one that fits your brand.

An image showcases the definition of a chatbot persona

Benefits of using chatbot personas

Whether you’re interviewing potential new hires, going on a first date, or making small talk at the airport, a stand-out personality can go a long way. The same goes for chatbots for businesses. Follow along to learn more about the benefits of using a chatbot persona to level up your customer service.

An image depicts three reasons for creating a chatbot persona.

Improves customer experience

Even though chatbots are known for providing fast, 24/7 support, it doesn’t mean you want your customers to feel like they’re talking to a robot. Implementing a chatbot persona can produce more natural-sounding conversations, adding personality and a feeling of emotional connection between your customers and your business, ultimately helping to improve the customer experience (CX).

Additionally, consumers are excited about AI-powered chatbots. According to the Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report 2023, 73 percent of people believe that AI will improve customer service quality.

Extends brand identity

Chatbot personas extend your brand identity, allowing you to provide consistent, quality AI customer service across channels. By implementing a bot persona, your chatbot will reinforce your brand identity—whether answering a customer question or initiating the conversation through proactive customer service.

Additionally, chatbot personas can help extend your brand identity across the globe. For example, Zendesk chatbots use artificial intelligence to understand customer support questions in nearly two dozen languages, allowing your chatbot to be a global ambassador for your brand and its identity.

Saves admin and agent hours

While you may think the benefits of AI chatbots are most noticeable for customers, implementing a chatbot persona can also save your admins and agents time. Setting a standard chatbot persona for all conversations eliminates the time-consuming process of manually inputting how you want your chatbot to behave during different types of interactions.

For example, with Zendesk, admins can automatically apply a consistent persona across all bot-generated responses, whether it’s a welcome message or a technical FAQ. Additionally, admins can do this without coding, making it the quickest way to implement a bot persona.

“Zendesk makes it easy to build bots and create dynamic conversation flows that guide customers to a resolution. There is no coding or developers needed, so you can build a bot in minutes.”
Lauren Hakim, Group Product Marketing Manager at Zendesk

Key components of a chatbot persona

An image depicts five things to consider when creating a chatbot persona.

While the personality of a chatbot can vary greatly depending on the company it represents, most chatbot personas follow a similar recipe for success. To ensure your chatbot personality has all of the necessary ingredients, keep these key components in mind:

  • Name: When naming your chatbot, select a name that is memorable and a good fit for your brand.
  • Visual representation: Whether your chatbot is a ticket-resolving cartoon dog or a robot in a tuxedo, adding a visual representation can help your customers experience an emotional connection.
  • Tone of voice: Depending on what your business does, you may have your chatbot sound professional, playful, or friendly. In any event, be sure your chatbot represents your brand by using the right tone of voice.
  • Backstory: Adding a backstory and meaning to your chatbot can help make your chatbot relatable and unforgettable. For example, you can make your chatbot for an educational supply store a retired history teacher who is equally as experienced as they are lovable.
  • Behavior: Enabling your chatbot to utilize customer and contextual data to provide personalized customer service can help make the experience more engaging for your customers. For example, your chatbot can greet the customer by name and use existing data to ask them relevant questions about a recent order.

By including these key components, you can put your best foot forward and create a chatbot that provides your customers with an enjoyable customer service experience.

Where to apply a chatbot persona

Now that you know what a chatbot persona is and how it can positively impact your business, you may wonder where to use one. Simply put, you can apply a chatbot personality anywhere a chatbot is present. Common examples of where to apply a chatbot persona include:

  • Customer support: Using a chatbot can help your business provide 24/7 live chat, answering customer questions and freeing your agents to tackle more important issues. Whether you want your chatbot to be playful, friendly, or professional, applying a persona can help your business deliver support in a voice and tone that matches your brand.
  • Internal communication: Not only can AI chatbots help your customers, but also your employees. With employee experience software like Zendesk, employees can engage with a chatbot to quickly surface relevant information to help provide fast resolutions for customers. By keeping your chatbot personality consistent for internal and external use, your business can provide a cohesive communication experience for everyone.
  • Social media: If your business has a social media presence, you’ll also want to deploy your chatbot (and its persona) there. With a customer service solution like Zendesk, businesses can connect their chatbots to Facebook and X (formerly known as Twitter) using Messenger for business and X Business. By setting up these connections, your chatbot can extend your brand identity across social media, helping your customers from their platform of choice.
  • Sales and marketing: You’ll also want to implement a chatbot persona when you use an AI chatbot for sales. Chatbots can proactively interact with customers as they enter the sales funnel, asking questions and capturing information to help generate leads. By applying the desired chatbot persona, you can help ensure your chatbot is an effective and helpful asset to your sales team.

“Bots can help you get ahead of customer asks by reaching out with meaningful, timely, and personalized interactions that drive engagement and retention and increase sales and conversion rates.”
Lauren Hakim, Group Product Marketing Manager at Zendesk

No matter your chatbot use case, applying a persona can help take your chatbot experience to the next level, making communication and collaboration fun, engaging, and aligned with your overall brand.

How to create a chatbot persona

An image depicts five steps for creating a chatbot persona.

With an understanding of what an AI persona is and how it can benefit your business, it’s time to give your chatbot a makeover. Follow these step-by-step instructions to help you create the perfect persona for your business and customers.

1. Identify your audience

First, you’ll want to identify who your chatbot will be communicating with. To help determine the demographic of your audience, you might consider asking yourself the following questions:

  • How old are my customers?

  • Where do they live?

  • What do they do for a living?

  • What are their needs?

  • What are their problems?

  • What are their goals?

By answering these questions, you can tailor your chatbot’s personality to better resonate with your audience and boost customer engagement.

For example, if your business sells party supplies to parents, your chatbot might be fun, friendly, and upbeat. On the other hand, if you sell accounting software to business executives, you may want your chatbot to sound more professional.

2. Consider your brand values

In addition to your audience, consider your brand values when creating your chatbot persona. Much like hiring a new customer service representative, you’ll want to select a persona that aligns with your brand. If your company’s core values include kindness and positivity, you’ll want your chatbot to behave accordingly.

That way, whether a customer is speaking to a live agent or a chatbot, you know they are experiencing your brand’s values firsthand. If your chatbot does not fit your brand persona, it may make chatbot communication a less cohesive experience for your customers.

3. Establish a name and identity

To take your bot personality to the next level, you’ll want to create a name and an identity to add a human touch and help your chatbot stand out from the crowd. For example, the visual identity of your chatbot could be an avatar or mascot that matches your brand image.

Keeping a consistent visual identity and name wherever you deploy your chatbot, will make it easier for your target audience to know when they are talking to your chatbot—and where to find it on your page. On top of that, a name and visual identity can add to the user experience and make your customers feel like they are emotionally connecting with your chatbot.

4. Create a unique voice

Next, you’ll want to make sure your chatbot’s tone and voice fit your brand. That way, when users speak with your chatbot, it sounds like an extension of your customer service team rather than a bland, personality-less robot. This will help make chatbot conversations more engaging and let your chatbot stand out.

To do this, you’ll want to focus specifically on:

  • Vocabulary

  • Phrasing

  • Tone

When creating a unique voice for your chatbot, make sure you match other aspects of your brand, such as your website, marketing materials, and how your support and sales team talks about your products or services. This can ensure your customers experience a seamless conversational experience if a conversation moves from your chatbot to a live agent.

5. Develop personalized interactions

According to our CX Trends Report, 59 percent of consumers believe businesses should use customer data to deliver personalized customer support interactions.

By developing a chatbot persona that uses customer data to help enhance the communication experience, you can deliver engaging and personalized interactions that can help your customers emotionally connect with your chatbot and, in turn, your business.

You can think of this as the cashier at your favorite bagel shop. As soon as you walk in, they greet you by name and ask if you want your usual order. In the same way, a chatbot can use existing data to know the customer’s name, order history, and previous pain points without asking the customer time-consuming questions.

Simplify customer service with a chatbot

With Zendesk, businesses can deploy a chatbot with their desired persona in minutes, simplifying, scaling, and improving their customer service experience.

Chatbot persona examples

With popular AI tools like ChatGPT and Bard making headlines, many popular businesses are beginning to implement AI chatbots to stay up to date and improve their CX.

And consumers are ready for it, with 73 percent expecting more interactions with AI in their everyday lives, according to our CX Trends Report. With personas ranging from friendly to playful to professional, let’s look at some popular chatbots and their unique personality traits.

Lush’s NA Bot

Lush is a cosmetics retailer that specializes in fresh handmade cosmetics. To help answer customer questions with ease, Lush provided its customers with its friendly Lush NA Bot. The Lush NA Bot is immediately available when you enter the Lush website, allowing customers to ask questions after clicking on the Lush NA Bot icon on the bottom right corner of the page.

Key trait: The helpful Lush NA Bot is visually represented by a smiling chat
bubble icon.

Key trait: The helpful Lush NA Bot is visually represented by a smiling chat bubble icon.

Capital.com’s chatbot

Capital.com is an online trading platform for investors. Ready to answer any customer questions is Capital.com’s bot. The chatbot that is eager to solve customer questions. To summon it, investors can click on the chat bubble icon on the bottom right corner of the website.

Key trait: Capital’s chatbot can use emojis in its correspondence, making for a personalized experience.

Best practices for maintaining a chatbot persona

An image depicts three tips for implementing a chatbot persona.

Now that you’ve developed the perfect chatbot sidekick for your business, the next step is maintaining it. Like most things, your business can change over time. To help your chatbot keep up with the evolution of your brand, follow these chatbot persona maintenance best practices.

Stay consistent

When it comes to your chatbot persona, consistency is key. To maintain consistency, set guidelines for your chatbot’s tone, voice, behavior, and visual identity, no matter the use case. That way, whether your customers are learning about your chatbot through marketing materials or are engaging with it for the tenth time, they know what to expect.

Adapt to user feedback

While consistency is important, it doesn’t mean your chatbot persona is set in stone. For example, if your customers say your chatbot’s visual identity is unappealing, you’ll want to fix it. Additionally, if your customers say your chatbot is too playful, you might consider adjusting to a more formal tone. With Zendesk, you can automatically transform the tone of your chatbot using Tone Shift, allowing you to make the change once and reap the benefits anywhere your chatbot is used.

To better meet customer needs and understand what your customers think about your chatbot, be sure to offer opportunities for your customers to leave feedback to help you refine your chatbot experience.

Perform regular updates

With valuable data and customer feedback, it’s time to perform regular updates to ensure your chatbot is evolving with your business. If your company rebrands and adopts a more playful brand identity, you want your chatbot to do the same.

Additionally, if your company begins offering new products or services, be sure your chatbot is kept up to speed, just as you would with a member of your sales or support team. This can help ensure your customers receive the most up-to-date information, whether they’re browsing your website, talking to a customer support agent, or chatting with your chatbot.

Prioritize AI ethics

While implementing a chatbot persona, you’ll want to prioritize the ethics of AI in CX. And much of this starts with the team training your AI. For instance, hiring diverse teams to provide varying perspectives when implementing and testing your chatbot. Additionally, assess the data your AI technology feeds off of to ensure it isn’t regurgitating any biased information that could lead to an unsatisfactory experience for your customers.

Frequently asked questions

Are you still scratching your head about chatbot personas? Read along to learn the answers to some common questions about chatbot personalities.

Build a chatbot for your business with Zendesk

Like the perfect playlist for a long road trip, chatbot personas can take your chatbot experience to the next level, whether striking a playful, friendly, or professional tone. With Zendesk, you can deploy a chatbot for customer service with your desired persona in minutes and automatically apply the persona to all chatbot communication, from personalized greetings to generative replies.

This allows your business to quickly and easily provide consistent and meaningful conversational AI support across channels—no coding required.

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