3 chatbot pitfalls to avoid

Whether you’re looking at using a chatbot for your business, or attempting to develop one yourself, the road to a great chatbot can seem like a minefield. Used right, chatbots can revolutionise your customer service. Used wrong, they can alienate your customers and damage your brand.

So, what are the chatbot pitfalls to be avoided? We outline the top mistakes that people make when implementing chatbots, and share our best practice tips.

 

1. Forgetting that bots are babies

When they talk about chatbots, many brands fall into the trap of describing a perfect finished article. Chatbots are commonly hailed as the future, so it’s easy to see why many people forget that they’re still embryonic.

As a technology, chatbots are very much in their infancy. Artificial intelligence and natural language processing are being explored and advanced every day, and we’re only just beginning to see the potential opportunities ahead.

So, to start, don’t believe that chatbots are flawless. Deploy only with care and caution: not as a quick cost-cutting tactic. After all, you only need look at Microsoft’s Tay to see just how destructive a foolhardy chatbot launch can be.

 

2. Failing to integrate agents and bots

A chatbot, at its core, is precisely what is says on the tin: a robot that your customers can talk to. But this doesn’t mean that they can replace human workers. This isn’t the big robot uprising that popular sci-fi dystopias like to warn us about. (…Yet.)

Humans are social creatures, and we like talking to each other (sometimes). In the first instance, that means you should never try to pass off a chatbot as a human agent. Your customers will always be able to tell, and they won’t appreciate the pretence.

Beyond that, you need to have human employees on hand to take over a conversation when the chatbot can’t sufficiently handle a customer’s request or query. Think of a chatbot as an interactive FAQ: an engaging resource for customers who have quick questions. It’s not a substitute for service. Rather than a bot takeover, aim to create a time-saving tag-team between agents and bots.

 

3. Overextending your reach

So, when isn’t the chatbot sufficient?

Does the customer’s task involve dealing with a frequently asked question, categorical data or anything routine? Great, enter chatbot.

What about a frustrated customer with a complaint to report, or a high-profile prospect enquiring about a sizeable purchase? Allow your agents to step in.

It’s important to remember that a chatbot is a tool with specific functions. Chatbots cannot yet do everything, but they’ll cut through your routine, repetitive customer service tasks. In the meantime, your employees can spend their time tackling the jobs that need complex thought or compromise.

 

Make no mistake about it: bots are an exciting innovation. They’re already driving enormous boosts in efficiency, which can only increase as they advance. But don’t fall into these common chatbot pitfalls.

Now, what are you waiting for? Research the best type of chatbot for your business, and step into the future of customer service.

 

Useful links

The WhosOn chatbot

Chatbots: the good, the bad and the ugly 

Chatbots: what are they good for?