When it comes to chatbots, likeability matters. We’ve come to expect AI to go beyond simple tasks and hold an engaging conversation. Virtual assistants are quick to deploy dad jokes. Alexa can even use Samuel L. Jackson’s voice to roast you. (It’s worth mentioning that you can censor Jackson, but that would ruin the fun.) It clearly pays to humanize your chatbot, especially in areas where emotional connection is important. Millennials are especially attuned to this social relationship with AI, according to a study titled, “Millennials’ attitude toward chatbots: an experimental study in a social relationship perspective” by Roberta De Cicco, Susana Costa e Silva, and Francesca Romana Alparone.
The study discusses an experiment on 193 millennials. Users interacted with one of four different chatbots. These were focused on either social interactions or task completion. Some were presented with a chatbot with an avatar while others were not. The experiment was designed to explore “social presence,” which is the degree to which the chatbot is perceived as a person. Essentially, the researchers hoped to find out how social presence changed the users’ impression of the bot.
According to the study, more socially-oriented interactions produced better results. Social presence resulted in increases in perceived enjoyment as well as trust. The upshot of this is that a friendlier, more casual interaction between a person and a chatbot will be more rewarding for the user. As a result, these chats are more likely to result in conversions.
Why are millennials more likely to engage with chatbots?
Why are millennials more likely to engage with chatbots? One factor is the fact that many millennials are digital natives. It’s worth mentioning that some millennials will turn 40 this year, and some members of that generation weren’t immersed in social media as soon as they could hold a phone. However, many still had access to the internet from a young age. This often means they are more comfortable interacting with new technology. It’s easier to have fun with a bot when you aren’t struggling to accomplish simple tasks.
Socially-oriented chatbots are especially useful in spheres where friendly relationships are essential. Decisions that require a significant investment of time or money benefit from chatbots. Prospective customers need a way to ask questions and get information. Chatbots provide a way for prospects to reach out any time with no fear of judgement. Boosting the personality of your AI beyond a typical button-based bot can pay dividends.
Millennials tend to have a stronger relationship with technology than previous generations. This study shows their affinity for relational chatbots, but those benefits of a socially-focused bot likely extend to everyone. A more sociable interaction brings the user more positive feelings about their experience in a chat. As a result, they’ll feel more connected to your brand.