A chatbot is a way of talking to a computer, using either text or speech, to get something done.
Why would you want to do that? Because talking is so much more engaging than scrolling through text and filling in forms.
To illustrate my point, I want to show you the same use case implemented as a Chatbot and as a Google form.
The use case builds on my earlier post where I talked about Andre, a chatbot coach that guides people through a short reflective exercise for an experience they’ve just had (e.g. a meeting with an important client). Here is a short clip of me using the Chatbot version, which lives in our Slack environment:
Here is the same thing, but implemented using a Google Form:
I spend a lot of time talking to people over text using tools like WhatsApp, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Slack and I find it an effective way to communicate. I’m so used to text based conversations that when I am talking to a well designed chatbot, it feels comfortable; I know I am talking to a bot, but it feels like we’re in dialogue and I get a sense that the chatbot is there to help me. [The corollary to this is talking to a badly designed chatbot, which is super frustrating, but that’s for a different post].
I have never felt this way about filling out a form. It feels one-way, tedious, and I generally can’t wait for the experience to be over. I will fill them in, as a means to end, but it certainly doesn’t feel anything like a collaborative exercise.
When you are asking someone to reflect on their personal experience, they have to be engaged, and motivated to do so. This is why I think that the chatbot version is far superior even though they functionally do the same thing. I see a form and my heart sinks, when I see a bot, I am in a more neutral mindset, and more likely to engage in the exercise rather than just endure it.