How to name your chatbot for maximum business impact

Natalie Smithson
AI enthusiast | Tea addict | Focused on using AI assistants to win the working week
A woman stands at a laptop with an AI assistant close by, surrounded by a heart symbol, a

Since you can name your customer support chatbot whatever you like, deciding what to call it can be a daunting task. We’ve seen AI assistants called everything from Shockwave to Suiii and Vic to Vee.

Where do you start?

To make choosing a name for your AI chatbot quick and painless, we share all the things you need to consider, what to avoid, and reveal all the ways you can make sure you pick a good one.

TL;DR

  • You want customers to become familiar with your chatbot and form a bond, so use a name that best expresses your brand identity and personality
  • Say the name out loud to test it out, make sure it’s not already trademarked, then check for any cultural differences that could create an issue
  • Don’t try to disguise your AI chatbot as a human, and we recommend not including the word “bot” as this can have negative connotations
  • Do check the name is easy to say and that it’s short enough to read and digest
  • Involve your teams and even turn it into a competition for coming up with the best name; you could turn it into a public vote too or get your customers involved

Important things to know about chatbot names

You’re familiar with the power of a great name in the business world ― just look at the furore when a team on The Apprentice picks a wrong’n. Whether it’s a team, a project, a product, a service, or the name of your business, what you call it matters. Here are some of the things you’ll need to think about before you start drawing up a list of potential names, so you can effortlessly make a good choice:

1. Forming a bond

Giving your chatbot a name prompts an emotional reaction from your customers because it instantly makes it more personal and familiar.

2. Familiarity

Names designed to be memorable and relatable encourage more customers to interact with your chatbot, and your teams to create positive associations.

3. Expressing your brand personality

Your chatbot should match up with your brand values, tone and style, helping customers deepen their connection with your business. It’s worth involving your marketing team or anyone responsible for branding from day one of the naming process.

4. Testing out your name

Your chatbot name will be used a lot by customers and your own teams. Saying the name out loud and using it in context will help you decide if it works well.

5. Cultural diversity

Our advanced next-gen AI chatbots can speak in more than 100 languages, so it’s worth sense checking across all your key markets for any cultural differences in the name that might impact what it means in different places.

6. Legal considerations

Under UK law, names can’t be copyrighted, but specific trademarks can exist to protect well-established brands. These are often specific to a region or sector, and it’s common sense not to use them. A small leisure business can’t name their AI assistant Nike or Adidas, for example, and claim it’s just a name.

Essential dos and don’ts when choosing a chatbot name

Once you’ve considered all of the above, always come back to these four hard and fast rules:

DON’T try and disguise your chatbot as a human

It can be fun to use a human name for your AI chatbot, especially if it complements your brand identity, but a made-up name or obvious spin on your business name can help customers recognise a chatbot for what it is and readily accept it. Gartner projects one in 10 interactions will be automated by 2026, so there’s no need to try and pass your chatbot off as a human member of your team.

DON’T include “bot” in the name

Chatbots are quickly being displaced by more advanced AI assistants like ours, and “bot” can have negative connotations with spammers and trolls across all digital channels.

DO check the name is easy to say

You want the name to be easy to read and pronounce, so make sure you ask others to spell it or say it out loud to check they don’t struggle.

DO make sure the name’s short enough to read and digest

Team members don’t want to type out a long-drawn-out name every time they make meeting notes, mention it in an email, or include it in marketing copy or legal Terms.

4 easy ways to name your chatbot (and create a buzz)

Deciding on a name shouldn’t slow down your chatbot launch. It’s easier than you might think to quickly come up with a list of choices. Here are four ideas you can try today:

1. Run a ‘name the chatbot’ session

Nobody knows your customers better than your support teams, so why not bring them into the process and dedicate some time to brainstorming. Looking internally for ideas is an easy way to get a bigger list of names to choose from. Team members don’t have to be marketers, the name could be a simple spin on your business name, industry focus, greater purpose, or be inspired by your brand colours or values.

2. Turn a brainstorm into a competition

Create a buzz in the office or have a virtual competition to come up with name ideas for your AI chatbot – that’s how Coventry City Council chose Basil (inspired by the architect who designed Coventry’s famous cathedral). You could incentivise the task to make it interesting, offering a prize for the best suggestions and to generate excitement around the task.

3. Get your customers involved

Running a competition for customers is another fail-proof way of getting them engaged ― who knows what they’ll come up with. At the same time, you get real insight into how they experience your brand or how they feel about it, so it’s a win-win situation. It’s a great teaser for the launch of your AI chatbot too, and helps customers feel familiar with it right from the off.

4. Run a public vote

We all know what happened with the Boaty McBoatface public vote, but you don’t have to take it that far unless you want the PR. Simply pull together a shortlist of potential chatbot names you like best and ask people to vote from those. You can run a poll for free using Survey Monkey, LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp and/or any other channel you choose.

Something people don’t always think about is using a gender neutral name. As our societal norms change, keeping an AI assistant’s name neutral helps avoid gender stereotyping and bias, keeps things inclusive, and reduces the likelihood of your AI assistant ever being misconstrued as a human.” ~ Katie Mokrani, Content and User Experience Consultant at EBI.AI

Why a versatile name will maximise your chatbot's potential

It’s important to recognise the most advanced AI assistants can go on to do more than answer customer service queries on your website. They can be fully integrated into your business and become a crucial part of your operations.

An advanced chatbot can live on any channel

Your one chatbot can appear in many places, from mobile apps and smart speakers to messaging services like WhatsApp, so don’t restrict its versatility by giving it a name that only relates to one channel.

Your AI chatbot can expand within your business

Your chatbot can help multiple departments (Barking & Dagenham Council expanded theirs to six departments in nine months) and take on any new task, so try to avoid something overtly customer service related like “CS Sally”.

Next-gen chatbots speak in many languages

Our advanced AI assistants are multilingual, speaking more than 100 languages, so keep your chatbot name clear and simple to understand and easy to say in case you branch out to new areas.

AN EXAMPLE

Our oldest AI assistant Stina (for Stena Line ferries) is a great example of a versatile chatbot name.

Stina’s been flying the flag for artificial intelligence since 2015 and has helped Stena Line customers via Facebook messenger, on their mobile app, on their website, and was even turned into a hologram to serve passengers on board. Internally, the AI chatbot helped Stena Line teams with cost-analysis systems.

The name Stina has been a real winner because it’s:

  • Practical
    Easily associated with the company “Stena Line”
  • Simple
    Short and sweet
  • Sensory
    Playful to pronounce
  • Fun
    Oodles of personality
  • Ambiguous
    Avoids any controversy

Supercharge your customer experience with a well-named chatbot

Ultimately, the name isn’t the most important element of a chatbot or advanced AI assistant, it just adds to the overall experience of using one. Once you launch, the biggest win is radically transforming the way you serve your customers.

Once you’ve got a name for your chatbot, start focusing your attention on how to launch it successfully, ready to cut your call volumes, reduce waiting times, boost morale among your support teams, and skyrocket customer satisfaction.

You can launch a chatbot in 10 minutes using only your website URL. Now you know how to name it too, you can transform your customer experience in no time at all.

FAQs

Why does the name of a chatbot matter?
The name of a chatbot can create a personal and familiar connection with customers. A well-chosen name encourages more customer interaction and creates positive associations. The name should match your brand's values, tone, and style to deepen the connection with your brand.
What are the dos and don'ts for choosing a chatbot name?
Don't try to disguise your chatbot as a human. Using a made-up name or an obvious spin on a business name helps customers recognise it's not pretending to be human. Avoid including the term 'bot' in the name too, as it can have negative connotations associated with spammers and trolls. Check the name is easy to say and understand, making sure it's not overly long or difficult to pronounce.
What are some ways to come up with a chatbot name?
Consider creating a dedicated day for brainstorming with your support teams to come up with a list of names. You can turn the brainstorming session into a competition if you like, incentivising participation and generating excitement. You could also involve your customers by running a competition to gather name suggestions, gaining valuable insights into their perception of your brand. Or create a shortlist of names you like and ask the public to vote for their favourite.
Why is it important to choose a versatile chatbot name?
Advanced AI assistants can perform various tasks beyond customer service and be integrated into multiple channels. Choosing a name not overtly tied to customer service means the chatbot can adapt and support different departments and tasks.