Digital Assistants can protentially make our lives easier. Users have lots of expectations for digital assistants like Amazon Alexa, Apple’s Siri, and Microsoft’s Cortana. Consumers ask for information, reminders, the weather report and expect the digital assistant to be reliable and trustworthy.

Enterprise users also expect the digital assistant to have these same qualities so they can complete very important tasks in an enterprise environment. If users don’t trust the digital assistant, they won’t use it. If they won’t use the digital assistant, support costs go up and customer satisfaction goes down.

Good conversational design gives users a positive feeling from using the digital assistant. An effective digital assistant:


Just like when people first meet strangers, it takes time for users to build trust with a digital assistant. Conversations usually start out as transactional. The user asks the digital assistant to do something and expects it to perform. With each successful interaction, trust between users and the digital assistant improves. Conversation design can take users to more complex, proactive conversations.

  • Introduce the digital assistant to the user.
  • Let the user know that the digital assistant is a bot, not a live  human agent.
  • Tell the user what the digital assistant’s capabilities are.
  • Set clear expectations for the digital assistant.
  • Suggest topics for the user to learn about.


Onboarding users when they first interact with a digital assistant is very important in building trust. As trust improves, users are more comfortable interacting with the digital assistant. As with a human relationship, it’s important that the digital assistant tells users how information and knowledge is used, so they can maintain and build trust.

  • Make the digital assistant visible and easy to access in your product or on your website.
  • Introduce the digital asssistant and what types of questions it can answer.
  • Be sure the digital assistant easy to use, intuitive. If it’s easy to use, people will use it.
  • Digital Assistant should load quickly and understand what users are saying.
  • Give users a seamless experience.


Ever had a friend who says I’ll pick you up in 5 minutes and comes late or not at all? Do you have a go-to friend who you know you can rely on in an emergency? These aren’t qualkities we want in a good friend. Users expect the reliability from digital assistants. They want the digital assistant to be consistent and reliable. No one likes an unreliable friend!

  • Make every interaction consistent, so that the user feels comfortable in the digital assistant’s skills.
  • Keep a consistent tone and voice that matches your company branding.
  • Digital assistants should know and understand customers.
  • Let users feel successful when using the digital assistant to complete their tasks.
  • Give users the information they need without sales pressure.


When we have friendships, we’d like to know that we can trust them. If they lie to us or say they will do something and don’t fulfill their promise, we don’t have a good relationship. Or we aren’t friends anymore. Same goes for digital assistants. Users expect digital assistants to be consistent and reliable. No one likes an unreliable friend!

  • Give users a satisfactory experience every time, so users want to come back.
  • Be honest with users about how you can help them (and how you can’t).
  • Use some small talk to help users feel at ease.
  • The digital assistant’s conversations should be natural,  not robotic. Like the user is talking to a friend or colleague.
  • If the digital assistant can’t answer the user’s questions, let them know how to contact customer support (live chat, email, phone).