If you think chatbots are just nice-to-have features for your business, think again. In the last five years, chatboxes have proliferated at an unprecedented rate – a whopping 92% of brands use these as their customer communications channel.
Both businesses and consumers have embraced this tech talk of the decade. Chatbots have been known to significantly reduce customer support response time to a few seconds, which otherwise took hours or even days.
While chatbots have proven to be a highly useful tool, there are growing instances of chatbot failures, leading to a dip in sales and customer retention.
That said, is your chatbox programmed to carry out specific duties, ask and answer questions, make sales pitches, or resolve basic customer issues? Do they meet customer needs or simply offer them monotonous pre-recorded FAQ-based solutions without adding value? Or do they lead customers to products that are out of stock?
Common Chatbot Mistakes to Avoid
To err is human, but when it comes to machines, the blame falls on.. well, humans. At the end of the day, people design these imperfect chatboxes. Problems may arise while developing chatboxes, so it’s best to set certain parameters and metrics during the development process.
Thankfully, the most common chatbox problems are the easiest to avoid.
1. Designing a chatbot without strategizing
Merely building a chatbot isn’t enough. Making a clear strategy, identifying its purpose, and organizing its function are vital steps before the actual development.
There are over 300,000 chatbots on Facebook, and it takes an excellent strategy and execution for your chatbox to stand out among your competitors.
Here are a number of things you should do to guarantee a smooth customer experience:
- Identify your objectives (e.g. increase sales or customer retention). Design it in such a way that it will achieve those objectives.
- Engage with a chatbot developer to plan and strategize your deployment.
- Remove all redundant or complicated actions.
- Ensure that it adds significant value to your customers. All information must be new, and not something your customers already know or can easily discover.
- Ensure that it engages your customers with ease.
- Test and experiment to find the best optimal strategy. Learn from mistakes.
- Identify potential blockers and dead-ends, then provide solutions that will address them.
2. Offering irrelevant information
If your customers want to read the FAQ, provide them with one. Don’t make your chatbot an FAQ machine or an agent that replies, “I’m sorry, I don’t really understand that.”
Research shows that about 45% of customers feel disappointed when chatbots give irrelevant responses to their queries. Thus, they end up leaving the brand’s platform.
In an era when customer trust is paramount, brands should improve their chatbot performance and functionalities using chat logs that are continuously being trained. The key is to not leave any loose ends.
3. Requiring too many actions from the customers
Chatbots are meant to ease the customer journey, not make it more complicated. These need to get customers’ queries resolved without wasting their time by trying to figure out the complexities of your platform. One of the most common chatbot mistakes is to make the customers work hard just to get answers.
It’s critical to avoid dead-ends, an instance when the bot is unable to proceed further. Moreover, always predefine the next steps, and predict common actions and queries. Use buttons, options, and interactive plugins to help users navigate seamlessly to get their queries resolved or easily enable purchases.
Another option is to simply give clear easy instructions so that users feel comfortable to engage further.
4. Making it seem like the chatbot is a real person
Nothing is more frustrating for a customer than realizing they’re talking to a bot instead of a customer service agent. This may actually lose your customers’ trust. Thus, make it clear from the very beginning that a customer is engaging with a chatbox.
Give your chatbox a persona aligned with the brand’s tone, and create a welcome message that informs your customers that they are speaking to a bot.
Though it’s possible to create chatbots that sound human-like nowadays with impressive AI advancements, it’s not advisable to risk building your market’s trust. These chatbots are still far from perfect, and it’s best to manage your users’ expectations on your customer service’s limitations.
5. Entrusting your chatbot as an extra player in the team
There is no doubt that a chatbox is developed and implemented in a manner so it can handle tasks automatically without much intervention. However, it is critical to optimize and update it from time to time to enhance its efficacy. Even though it can be capable of performing desired tasks, it can still develop errors or become outdated.
Ensure you run A/B tests and perform analytics to see possible bottlenecks and common points of user abandonment.
If you have made any of these chatbox mistakes, it is always a good idea to get back to the drawing board and fix errors. Engage with a chat marketer to understand your users’ journey to identify their pain points and solutions.
Is a Chatbot Really Necessary for Your Business?
Chatbots are increasingly used by digital marketers as a personalized tool in a much more planned approach to generate leads and boost sales. Ride-hailing firm Lyft uses a chatbot that helps customers request a ride from their Facebook Messenger, Alexa smart home device, or even Slack in just two clicks.
Industries like e-commerce, fashion, banking and finance, travel and hospitality, human resources, logistics, supply chain, and EdTech are the frontrunners in using chatbots. Advancements in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and associated novel technologies are making chatbots better, sharper, and faster than ever before.
Companies, on the one hand, use it to reduce customer acquisition costs, improve conversion rates by speeding up sales cycles and lead generation, and increase customer loyalty. Customers, on the other hand, use it for a faster response, better service, and a more personalized connection with the brands they interact with.
According to an industry report, customer preference for AI chatbots is higher (69%) than that of organizations using them (23%).
Market estimates show that by 2024, customer spending from chatbots will cross $140 billion from $2.8 billion in 2019. According to another industry assessment, the use of chatbots in the retail, banking, and healthcare sectors would result in an annual cost savings of $11 billion by 2023, up from $6 billion in 2018.
There is no doubt that the market for chatbots will continue to increase, with roughly 40% of internet users choosing to interact with them.
Therefore, it’s best to develop this function if you want your business to be highly competitive, up-to-date, and efficient. Creating your chatbox correctly builds customer loyalty and enables your business to generate more sales and leads.