You’ve probably heard more than once that robots are the future. But it’s not enough to create a chatbot, more important to do it correctly. Chatbots for websites, social networks, and messengers have become one of the key internet marketing elements that help clients determine which products or services they need. They tell about benefits, describe site abilities, and perform a number of other useful functions of a virtual consultant. A well-designed chatbot for an online store or service can reduce employee workload and increase sales. But not all chatbots are effective by default because mistakes are often made. They can cause the bot to be useless.
The CCW Market Study 2020 showed that more than half of customers are dissatisfied with long wait times for an operator, 40% of respondents complain about channel-to-channel transfers, and 33% of respondents have to repeat information. Many of these problems cannot be solved in an instant, but some can be handled by a chatbot. It is important to pay attention to experience in the market and avoid the popular mistakes shared by companies in the field.
In this article, we will consider the most common mistakes when implementing chatbots and tell you how to avoid them.
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Focusing on Technology Instead of User Experience
When developing a bot, a lot of time is spent on technology, but few people think about design. Some chatbots increase the number of steps or time to complete an action by making the UX awkward. This point is often underestimated, although the design of the chatbot should be fully consistent with the brand, associated with it on an emotional level. Chatbot is, in fact, the brand face. In addition, great design and the right voice are the things that can compensate for some of the technical limitations of using the bot.
First and foremost, spend enough time on research and testing, invest in of quality user interface development, and most importantly, don’t try to copy the sites of successful companies. Instead of copying, it’s better to study your target audience, figure out exactly what they need and how to interact with the bot.
Not Communicating as Your Audience Would
Chatbots are designed to mimic human communication. But that doesn’t mean they have to impersonate humans. Before scripting a chatbot, it is very important to choose the right style of communication. It should not be dry and soulless, but also not overly familiar. The bot must respond to visitors’ questions in succinct, concise, and understandable phrases, keeping the conversation the way people usually do. A dry style of chat-bot communication may scare away those users who do not want to communicate with a soulless machine, so they will choose another store with a live consultant.
For the chatbot to communicate as well as your client, study your target audience in detail and understand exactly how they communicate, what questions they are most likely to ask and so on. So you can identify the characteristics of customer communication and make the chatbot more enjoyable to use. Also, you can make quick responses that the chatbot itself will offer, to speed up the process of communication and understand the audience’s needs.
Not Using Chatbots in a Strategic Way
Most bot launches solve local problems and do not cover the entire business. You need to review the entire funnel and understand exactly where to include communication via messengers, and how it will help achieve the necessary KPIs. Before you create a chatbot, be sure to think about its functionality and clearly define its purpose. Why waste time and resources on a bot if it is created purposelessly? Or do you just see the excitement around new technologies and do not fully understand what you need the bot for?
Start by writing clear goals that you want to achieve. Think through a strategy for how the bot and your potential customers will interact. Answer the questions that interest you. For example, who is the target audience of the chatbot? What are the main functions it should perform? How will it help the audience? And so on.
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Not Directing to an Agent
To facilitate the work of support managers and minimize referrals for tasks, bots try in every way to keep clients from contacting an operator. But do not put all the functions of the support service solely on the chatbot, even if you have spent a lot of money on its development. This is not always appropriate. For example, when the bot can’t solve request or the user doesn’t want to communicate with the digital assistant on principle and asks to be transferred to an operator. If the bot can’t fulfill a specific customer request and doesn’t switch it to an agent in any way, the reaction will be negative.
Switching to an operator can be done in two ways. The first is a direct command on the button, and the second is a phrase whose context will be related to the task of transferring to the agent. In any scenario, the chatbot must request access to a human operator if necessary. It is important to keep this feature in mind during development. Also, when writing a script for the bot, you should prescribe triggers, in which the bot will automatically switch the client to the operator. Or add an initial choice of interlocutor: e.g., dialog with the bot or wait for the operator for a few minutes.
Deploying the Bot Before It’s Ready
You can think of everything in detail… and still, miss the vital points. And release an imperfect chatbot before development is complete. It may not work correctly because you didn’t write the functions right. Or a potential customer may not understand how to interact with bot, because you have not explained the things that seemed clear to you. Or there are features that you forgot about because you thought they weren’t valuable. There’re many reasons why a chatbot can’t be useful to your audience.
Simple testing will help eliminate mistakes. Ask your employees to interact with the chatbot. After that, include potential customers in the experiment. Find out what’s missing, where there are hiccups with work, where the chatbot behaves incorrectly. Perhaps someone can suggest interesting ideas that you’ve overlooked.
Pretending to Be Human
It is better not to deceive visitors by passing off a chatbot as a real consultant. Even the most professional script will not endow a software algorithm with the manner of communication of a live person. If visitors find that your chatbot is just pretending to be a human, they will likely leave the site and never come back.
CEB conducted a study that says transparency is an important factor for consumers in a branded service. Even if you want to pass the Turing Test and make the chatbot look as much human-like as possible, warn users. They should know from the beginning of the dialogue who they are communicating with: an operator or a bot.
Warn users before the dialog that they are not talking to a person, but to a bot. You can give the bot certain human qualities, for example, come up with an original and vivid name. Think about the history of your chatbot and certain traits of his character, catchphrases, etc. For example, the chatbot of the transportation company TFL in the first message introduces itself as a bot and offers its help.
Not Improving the Service Over Time
Chatbots help to attract both potential customers and clients, which leads to increased sales. And artificial intelligence is used in the creation of chatbots. And the thing is, AI is getting smarter all the time. However, some companies don’t see how far technology has evolved. So they have to be willing to tweak the bot over time according to user feedback and technological improvements. In other words, it’s a constant cycle of improvement.
It’s worth establishing a regular frequency to review and revise the bot for improvements and refinements. After all, with bots, you can identify phrase clusters, determine response effectiveness, and opportunities for improvement. Plus, you can update all of your company’s information about each platform the chatbot is on, whether it’s a website, mobile app or social media. It will also ensure consistency across every channel you use. Because technology is constantly changing and improving, so the old chatbot without updates after a while will not work properly.
Too Many Options
Chatbot can perform different functions. For example serve customers, answer questions, check order status. Or promote products. You can create separate chatbots for different stages of sales and connect them to advertising campaigns. Plus, they can enhance basic product features. The bot helps to understand the features and complements them. In this case, it plays the role of a personal manager accompanying the client through all the stages of using the product or service.
But many companies overestimate the capabilities of chatbots and develop them without much understanding of the user’s needs. As a result, bots try to do many tasks at once, but can’t do any of them well. And not all platforms work correctly with “live” language, so not all bots understand even basic user requests.
You can create bot that does one task well. If you are going to introduce bot on the site sections and features, then there is no need to load it with detailed information on the technical nuances of your products or services. For example, the American supermarket chain Whole Foods made a bot that offers recipes from foods you already have.
Everyone agrees that the most important thing is information. Every time user interacts with bot, it gives you a wealth of information about who they are and what they want. But instead of just communicating with and helping potential customers, chatbots literally spam chat, giving no time for the person to respond. If the chatbot bores customers with blocks of text, they are likely to either switch to a live operator or leave the site.
Don’t activate the bot thinking it will take care of itself. Create a fully specific plan of use and purpose for the bot. Explore opportunities to improve online support and personalize the user experience. Because personalizing the customer experience minimizes the likelihood of information overload. There is the option of giving the user commands and buttons to use throughout the conversation. The commands will allow the user to switch between topics or learn more specific information about something.
Misunderstanding the Conversational Context
As mentioned earlier, chatbots automate communication with potential clients. That’s why you should study target audience carefully and explore difficulties they face, what questions they have when using your product. People communicate in messengers in a rather specific way, such as not separating thoughts with punctuation marks, splitting the question into several messages, referring to previous phrases, and so on. A bot is often unable to cope with a flood of phrases and thoughts, even if it has been trained to handle such requests. Instead of solving the problem quickly, the client takes a long time to find the right reference for the bot to understand the question. Chatbots without certain artificial intelligence technology are unable to analyze context. That is why they cannot remember information a user just told them and ask a lot of unnecessary and inappropriate questions.
Study your customers’ habits to understand where they most often spend their time and how they communicate with each other. There are various ways to determine what your customers need. Also, system should bring the client back to single-valued messages. Part of this can be achieved with the help of quick answers offered by the chatbot itself.
Chatbot Knows Nothing About the Customer
Companies collect huge databases about their users, such as phone numbers, participation in loyalty programs, order statuses, and purchase history. It’s good when the chatbot can already know something before communicating with the user, but in reality, the user has to constantly duplicate information. This is because different departments in companies use solutions from different vendors. So the chatbot is created in an isolated ecosystem and can solve only a limited range of tasks.
At the initial stage of implementing a chatbot, take care of its integration with existing systems and databases. And when transferring the dialog to the operator, he should have access to the history of communication with the bot and information about the client. Integration is especially important if you create a chatbot for multiple channels, such as WhatsApp, Live Chat, Facebook Messenger.
As you can see, most of the problems are associated with lack of information about customers and target audience unexplored. However, such problems can easily be avoided by following the recommendations and common sense. You can also seek help from companies that specialize in creating chatbots.
For those who want to achieve maximum efficiency when using the bot and are interested in developing a customized solution, we provide the appropriate services. Leave your request and we’ll be sure to find the right solution for you!
You can also see some of our chatbot projects in our portfolio.