Author: Marit Smits
Web Editor at Crossphase
Published on 8 March 2019

Chatbots are becoming a more important part in the sales and service departments of large Dutch organisations. At the same time, it has become harder to find people to work in these development teams. Who are ‘conversation designers’? Are they content managers? Are they web editors? Or are they an entirely different species?

I was lucky enough to have been part of a chatbot development team at a corporate client. As a web editor, writing responses for a chatbot sounded like a fun new challenge to me. But I soon discovered writing is not the only thing conversation designers do. That takes up about 10 percent of your time.

A conversation designer is a jack of all trades

So what do you do all day long? Well, chatbots thrive on data. Lots of data. A conversation designer is a jack of all trades. Here’s a brief overview of everything you do:

  • You design flows (scenario’s) keeping the related customer questions in mind
  • You check how these flows relate to each other in an enormous web of intents, topics and categories
  • You build flows in the CMS and analyse hundreds of variations on an intent
  • You write the chatbot’s answers based on the chatbot persona and the writing style guide
  • You test the intents and variations and connect new variations to existing intents

And then I haven’t even talked about the questions about topics that the chatbot doesn’t have answers to. Or managing the expectations of the client about how helpful the chatbot is going to be right after launch.

Loves data analysis

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about how I would describe the ideal candidate for a conversation design position. I think it’s someone who:

  • Thinks in data and loves to analyse.
  • Loves solving puzzles and creating connections in content.
  • Is able to convey branding through copy and can work with a set tone-of-voice. They should have affinity with languages and be very creative.

Content Manager or Web Editor?

So are the qualities I described above mostly found in Content Managers or Web Editors? I think Conversation Designer is the combination of these two worlds. It will be hard for companies to find these rare all-rounders. Though it will become easier in the long run, if content managers and web editors are open to learning about this interesting new field of expertise.

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