Chatbots are an exciting technological tool, and while they’ve been around for quite a while, they’re just now garnering mainstream attention. Indeed, chatbots are one of the most exciting tech trends of 2019, and they can prove highly effective under the right circumstances. But what exactly are those circumstances? And how can you guarantee that your chatbots will improve the customer experience? Here, we’ll explain the pros and cons associated with chatbots and help you decide whether or not they’re right for your business.
Advantages of Chatbots
On paper, chatbots are capable of providing many benefits to businesses that use them well. Chatbots are particularly adept at fielding common FAQs that tend to bog down professionals who would otherwise have to deal with them. In an ideal world, chatbots cut down on the time it takes for customers to get answers to their questions, which in turn should improve the customer experience and increase satisfaction across the board. Additionally, well programmed chatbots allow professionals to focus on more pressing or complicated issues.
As useful as some chatbots may be, most people have had a negative interaction with an AI bot at some point in the past. The problem is that some chatbots aren’t equipped to handle difficult or unusual customer queries. Mistakes and miscommunications happen, and chatbots that were designed to streamline customer queries may actually exacerbate the issue. Broken or dysfunctional chatbots may even drive customers away from a site.
Chatbot Best Practices
If your company is considering implementing chatbots on your site, make sure to follow these best practices to ensure customer interactions go smoothly:
- Chatbots should identify themselves –– some chatbots are unclear when they begin interacting with consumers, which can lead to confusion down the line. No one likes to find out they’ve been talking to a robot when they thought they were engaging with a human.
- Set specific targets and keywords –– chatbots are great at answering FAQs –– provided the answers they offer are simple and straightforward. To guarantee chatbots are able to hone in on certain important questions, they need to be programmed to identify pre-selected keywords. The good news is that you can use virtually any keyword you want –– from “96 Well Plates” to “weather in New York” –– to cover customer queries.
- Keep it Simple –– chatbots have become increasingly skilled at mimicking human language, but that doesn’t mean chatbots need to be funny or charming. In fact, chatbots that are “too cute” often irritate customers and fail to answer their most basic questions.
- Let your consumers talk to a human –– the best way to guarantee that chatbots promote positive customer interactions is to allow for humans to get involved if needed. So rather than forcing a consumer to go back and forth with a bot for a half hour, great chatbots send questions they can’t adequately answer up the chain of command and get customers contacted with capable professionals.
Chatbots are an amazing tech innovation, and with a little more polish and some more time, will probably become commonplace within the next few years.