The Importance of Context in a Chatbot Conversation

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In a relay race, one of the most important moments takes place when the two runners exchange the baton. If the handoff is clumsy and they drop the baton, the race is potentially lost. However, if the handoff is successful, then the transition from one runner to the next will appear smooth and effortless, and (hopefully) lead to a victory.  

Successfully passing the baton relies on a seamless exchange that if it’s executed flawlessly, the casual observer won’t even notice how it led to the positive result. Similarly, a positive and frictionless experience in a chatbot conversation relies on moments that often go unnoticed by the consumer.

For a positive and seamless chatbot experience, there are a variety of factors that need to come together. Obviously, one of the most important components is accurately responding to intents, but there are also unseen features that ensure the conversation feels natural, effortless, and personalized. 

And one of those unseen components is context. 

What is Context?

Context is the driving force for personalization on Loyal’s chatbot platform, Guide. Without context, the chatbot wouldn’t have the knowledge for when it is appropriate to personalize the conversation. Depending on the page URL that the user is on, the dialog and templates, or pre-populated calls to action located within the chatbot window, will automatically adjust to reflect that specific page. 

For instance, If the healthcare consumer moves to a Bill Pay page, then the templates will automatically reflect Bill Pay questions. If they move to a Location page, then the dialog response will provide information for that specific location. 

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So, why is context vital to a seamless experience?   

Applying Context in a Chatbot Environment  

If a stranger asks for directions to the hospital, the answer they receive depends on where they’re located. If they’re south of the hospital, the answer will be to travel north. If they’re north, it will be to travel south. In other words, context dictates the response. 

In a chatbot conversation, response accuracy is one thing, but surfacing responses based on the context of the consumers’ question is critical to a frictionless conversation. By understanding what page the user is on, the chatbot can structure a more accurate response based on that information. 

For example, if an online visitor is on the homepage of a health system website with multiple locations and they ask, “Where can I find parking?”, the chatbot will require clarification on which location. The response makes sense, after all, without context the chatbot can’t provide the most accurate response without understanding which location. 

However, by referencing the URL the user is on for context, the chatbot will have the knowledge of which location the user needs information and tailor a response that reflects parking information for that specific location. Understanding the context of the question ensures the chatbot conversation is seamless and smooth, without wasting time asking for clarification.  

Essentially, context is the chatbot saying, “I know what you’re looking for, I know what page you’re on, therefore I know a more accurate response to what you’re searching for.”

Context and a Tailored Experience

Every health system differs in size - from a single location to a network spanning an entire region. For large health systems with multiple locations, ensuring the Screen Shot 2019-07-25 at 4.23.42 PM.pnginformation a consumer receives is accurate is vital to the overall digital patient experience. After all, if a patient schedules an appointment for the wrong location because the location pages only provide a generic response, then not only is the patient left frustrated but the health system loses revenue due to the missed appointment. 

Additionally, if locations or hospitals within a health system have different branding, the chatbot adjusts its appearance, templates, and dialog responses to reflect the differences. Context ensures a personalized and tailored experience, instead of providing the same consumer experience across the entire website. 

Seamless Conversation Equals a Positive Experience 

When consumers have a positive digital patient experience with their healthcare provider they’re likely to remain loyal to that organization. Incorporating a chatbot platform that utilizes context as a solution for healthcare consumers to receive immediate answers leads to an overall positive and seamless experience.