Ah, the chatbots. Why talk to a human being when you can send countless messages into the void and receive canned responses in return? Due in part to the convenience and potential for free engagement, we’ve supported iterations of this unnatural evolution of the automated call center in the past; however, there are a few reasons why chatbots may never fully catch on.
The main difference between a chatbot (e.g., the kind of automated message you may find on a tech support site) and something like Siri is that chatbots, for all their portrayed eagerness, don’t do much outside of addressing specific questions with specific answers.
Where a true AI suite like Siri or Alexa can learn and respond accordingly, chatbots are doomed to stay within their glorified voicemail-esque confines.
Of course, the main incentive behind using a chatbot is to simplify your resulting interaction with a customer: if the chatbot is able to identify the main concern or query on the customer’s behalf, it saves you time and mutual frustration. In theory.
Unfortunately, customers are statistically more likely to click off of your page or service before they even receive a second message from the chatbot than they are to follow through.
Chatbots can also be extremely confusing to navigate, making them tedious and clunky to “talk” to, and their limited responses can quickly aggravate hurried or less-tech-savvy clients.
Whether you’re using a chatbot to automate the filtering process or simply gather some more information, you can assume that the chatbot isn’t always saving you as much time as it’s costing other people.
Ultimately, it seems that chatbots aren’t saving you time, aren’t providing a hospitable environment for customers, and aren’t contributing much in the way of useful analytics — so why are we still using them?
Frankly, a multiple choice form or a blank text box in the middle of your website’s landing page might better serve inbound customers; giving folks a few choices and an option to explain in further detail their problem will give you all the same information with the added benefit of not having a confused, angry client to deal with at the end of the process.
Beep boop bye.