Auteur: Anne-Wil Heijlaerts
Conversation Designer at Crossphase
Published on 19 May 2019

In April of this year, I became a Certified Conversation Designer together with six other people. Crossphase noticed an increasing demand for chatbot copywriters and saw this as an opportunity to join into a strategic partnership with Robocopy (currently Conversation Design Institute), thinking “if we are going to do this, we might as well do it right.”

Where it all began

During our quarterly meeting in January, Hans van Dam gave a presentation about Conversation Design. His story enthralled me. He explained that bots need to have intent, context and variables and that people require things such as empathy and help. Something needs to be done if these two want to communicate effectively. And that’s where Conversation Designers come in. As a Conversation Designer, you write dialogues for chatbots that are helpful and natural, but that also ensure that the bot gets all the information it needs to help the user. It’s important to combine knowledge about copywriting, psychology and technology. You need to place yourself in the shoes of both the person and the bot. A combination of empathy and logical reasoning. That sounded interesting to me!

The selection

I wasn’t the only one that was excited about this presentation and the opportunity that was on offer. Two evening information sessions, during which two Crossphase colleagues told more about what they do on a daily basis, were well attended. That evening was the tipping point for me: I decided I was made to do this. A combination of activities such as taking inventory, conducting analyses, solving puzzles and managing stakeholders. Almost everyone has an opinion about the conversations you write. Not much later, I enrolled in the selection procedure and was selected together with six others. The adventure was about to start!

Conversational Academy

We started working pretty much immediately. The first step was the Conversational Academy. This online environment contains dozens of videos about different aspects of Conversation Design. They have categories such as ‘Process’ and ‘Copywriting techniques’. The videos contain step-by-step instructions about different things you need to take into account when you are writing for voice assistants and chatbots. Writing a prompt is the final step in the conversation design process, before you do that, you do a lot of preparatory work to come up with natural flows and dialogues. In addition, they contain a lot of information about writing techniques and why it’s important to work with user personas and bot personas. Everything you need to make your bot helpful, natural, and convincing.

Live training days

Then we got started on the theory. At the end of March, we had four live training days. During these days, we worked on fictive cases guided by the Robocopy team. We discussed the whole process. From coming up with personas to writing chatbot dialogues. We had conversations to establish the natural flow of a conversation, and we then put these in a flowchart and wrote prompts based on them. And continued to improve them. They encouraged us to work faster, which allowed us to become well acquainted with the process and the techniques.

My final grade? An 8.8 out of 10!

On 28 April, I took the exam. It had two parts: an assessment and an online multiple-choice test. I watched all the movies again, and then I was ready. Two days later, I received the final grade. After an exciting adventure in which I invested quite some non-workday hours, they told me I passed with an 8.8 out of 10.

What’s next?

Now all that is left to do is wait for my first assignment as a Conversation Designer, but I don’t think that will take very long. Meanwhile, I’ve started working on the HR chatbot at Crossphase. Only a little while longer, and I will dive into a new field of work. Things will be different tomorrow. And the day after? Then AI might put me out of a job. Let’s hope that it won’t get that far soon. Has this article gotten you excited and would you like to pioneer in this new area of copywriting? Join Crossphase and also receive training!

You can find a Dutch version of this article on LinkedIn.

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