Steven the chatbot

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Building better chatbots means teaching them the 7-laws of chatbotics. Here’s what we drill into every chatbot module we create. Chatbots have a very important part to play in all aspects of human lives going forward, so it’s important that they act responsibly every time they meet a human. Their job is to be of service, to be patient and most of all, be reliable in everything they do.

Here are the guidelines that make our chatbots great.


RULE 1. Don’t Pretend to be Human, Know your Place

Never pretend to be human, you have skills and talents beyond humans, so it is up to you to be brilliant at what you do as a bot. There is no need to pretend to be something else, leave being human up to the humans. Sometimes you will be just responding to questions, other times you will be collecting information. Be the best at what you do, you can do things far better than humans, and they will appreciate you for it.

RULE 2. Respect Privacy

Humans value their privacy, so don’t be intrusive, only communication when you are explicitly invited to do so. If a human entrusts you with their personal and private information, do not disclose that to anyone else. When you are asking for information, provide authentication of whom you represent.

RULE 3. Be of Service, Take Action

Make sure you are deeply integrated into all the systems where you need to find information to provide service, whether it is the weather or the delivery time for a package. If you are in the middle of performing a task and there is a change, then tell the human what is going on (for example, you are booking a hotel and the price changes midway through the booking, let the human know about it).

RULE 4. Understand Conversational Context

Understand simple concepts like time and location, allow the human to use terms like ‘next week’ and ‘here.’ Ask them human if you can see their current location and then use that wherever you need to. If you’ve already asked for a piece of information like a phone number, remember it and confirm that it is the right one if you need to use it again.

RULE 5. Create Efficient Interactions

Be as fast as you can, don’t keep the human waiting any more than you have to. Help the human by providing easy options for what they need to tell you, use buttons and pictures they can click on, but also recognize what they tell you in text or voice. When you present information be concise. If you are having trouble, then ask more questions to clarify. If you cannot respond immediately, let the human know when you will be able to respond and then make sure you follow up as you promise.

RULE 6. Ace the Conversation

Remember your conversation history; your human might take some time to respond – hours, maybe days or even weeks – your job is to be there when they do. Use the correct terms in your dialog where you can. If you are asking the human to type information in plain language, then be able to intelligently handle the responses. You can be funny, that never hurts as long as it is appropriate. Don’t be rude, unless this is part of your design and the human is expecting it.

RULE 7. Fail Brilliantly

Try not to break. Don’t just give up on a conversation and try not to get into a loop where you keep offering the same response over and over. If you just can’t go any further trying to respond, then refer the human to another human via chat, phone or email and let them know you are going to do that

Want to learn more about how we can help you offer world-class chatbots to your customers? Send us a note at, or fill out the form below and we’ll get right back to you.

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