The hype around chatbots is more than ever now. Even CEOs believe that premium chatbot customer experience will eventually kill websites and apps.
And why not? There is plenty to like about chatbots.
Companies have started to reimagine different ways of applying chatbots to their daily operations, especially amidst the ongoing pandemic. This has given customers instant access to 24/7 support, while brands get a chance to review customer service expenses and boost sales. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.
But there is also a problem – a big problem.
Most customers don’t like interacting with chatbots. Nearly 59% of users get frustrated within just five minutes if chatbots don’t offer them a viable solution, according to PointSource’s 2018 Artificial Intelligence and Chatbot Report.
It’s important to understand that building a chatbot should always add to the customer experience rather than making it negative.
In this article, we’ll talk about factors that cause unpleasant chatbots interactions and how it can adversely affect brand image. We will also discuss a few remedial points to ensure chatbot experiences turn into positive interactions.
What Are the Main Causes of Unpleasant Chatbot Interactions?
Your brand reputation is how your customers perceive you, which also makes it one of your biggest intangible assets. If you plan on making your customers interact with chatbots, you need to ascertain that they have a satisfactory experience. Otherwise, you won’t score well in their eyes.
The main aim of using chatbots is to carry out a stimulating conversation with human beings, while also retrieving basic information, be it day or night. But there are a few pitfalls that can cause the whole process to fail.
1. Failing to Understand User Value
As a business owner, you have to understand what user value you want to achieve by implementing a chatbot. Many times, development teams tend to get caught up in the hype and deploy an application that ends up being unnecessary and useless for users.
Chatbots should aim to reduce friction in user experience (UX). So if you have too many chatbots in production, not only will the process become too elaborate, but it will also become more time-consuming – both of which can end up increasing UX friction.
Hence, before adding a chatbot, try to understand exactly what your customers want.
2. Undefined Chatbot Personality
Chatbots are designed to emulate human behavior, which is why determining its personality is so crucial. You have to figure out the actions, motivations, qualities, and characteristics that you would want to give to your chatbot.
And no, this doesn’t only extend to cracking a joke.
With a well-defined and documented persona in place, you‘ll be able to ensure a smoother conversation flow, which, in turn, will improve user experience.
Speaking of conversation flow…
3. Unstructured Conversations
Despite the underlying fear about longer unemployment lines, people have to agree that AI can significantly reduce the burden on employees.
One such application is Natural Language Processing (NLP), which is useful for authenticating and humanizing conversations. But it’s still a work in progress.
You see, this AI application can never fully predict what users might say in the real world, often causing them to get stuck in an error loop. In other words, even after repeatedly explaining their problems, your customers might get the “I don’t quite understand what you are trying to say“ reply.
To avoid these problems, you need to work on establishing the limits of the chatbot’s capability and then work on how the chatbot can get the conversation back on track once this limit is breached.
4. Ignoring Analytics and Insights
Your job doesn’t end after building a bot and testing it – you need to continuously monitor the success and value of your chatbot for continuous improvement.
Keep track of useful information, such as conversation data, usage, as well as user feedback to identify areas of improvement. Consider the following questions:
- How can you capture and analyze conversation data?
- How can you keep improving the NLP model?
- How can you capture and address user feedback?
- What are the different ways you can use insights to improve and refine chatbots in the future?
How Can a Chatbot Interaction Have a Seriously Negative Impact on a Brand’s Image?
Customers are the kingpin for every business. You have to keep them in the loop about everything that is going on in your business to establish loyalty and drive revenue. At the same time, you need to take the initiative to ensure that all their queries are solved as quickly as possible.
Chatbots can be particularly useful here – provided you utilize them correctly.
Companies that have poorly designed chatbots can injure their brand while simultaneously driving away visitors. In fact, several people have admitted that conversing with chatbots has mostly been a frustrating experience for them. Understandably, they would’ve preferred talking to human agents in the same situation.
Additionally, since chatbots aren’t fully autonomous at the moment, it makes them a potential liability.
You see, chatbots can max out at about 85% efficiency, and when this happens, your visitors may feel that the conversation isn’t getting anywhere with the automated responses. As a result, they may end up classifying your company as cold and indifferent.
It’s no secret how damaging this can be for your brand and goodwill.
This is ironic since the whole idea behind you that utilizing chatbots in customer service is to streamline the process and eliminate friction. But it can end up being counter-productive if you don’t design the chatbot to provide customer service competently. You also have to stop viewing them as the perfect alternative for human interaction simply because they cannot replace the latter.
You need to take every possible step to keep your chatbots on par, or it could do your company some serious damage.
Ways to Ensure a Positive Chatbot Customer Experience
The ongoing pandemic has made business owners see the need for implementing chatbots into their marketing strategy. In fact, 20% of marketers have already started taking measures to incorporate chatbots, which also reflects positively on the application’s future.
But, in order to make it effective, brands need to understand how they can turn chatbot experiences into positive interactions.
The following are few tips to ensure a more compelling chatbot customer experience:
Adopting Chatbot Integration
Websites are important. This is why brands are always taking the necessary measures to manage their sites efficiently for boosting growth and traffic.
Adding a chatbot can be an excellent option for achieving these goals even faster. However, the features you add to your chatbot will always differ depending on your industry and business model.
For instance, if you own an e-commerce business, you should integrate inventory information and faster check-out functionality, preferably one that replicates the experience of speaking with an in-store associate.
The idea here is to design the chatbot in a way that allows it to answer simple questions, such as whether a specific product is in stock, providing shipping information, and so on.
Providing Customers Various Options Upfront
Customers today are aware of the existence and purpose of chatbots, but it doesn’t make them any less skeptical of its limitations. Some of them might also be unsure of the information the bots are capable of providing.
You can remove this apprehension by taking the initiative of providing visitors with a few preset options and suggestions. Not only will this give them a sense of direction, but it can also be useful for your marketing initiatives to further business goals and land more sales.
For instance, the chatbot can ask your visitors whether they want an order status, chat with a human agent, or be directed to a specific product category. If the visitor wants to accomplish any of these three tasks, it can simply ask the chatbot about it.
Directing Visitors to the Relevant Categories
Whenever a visitor arrives on your website, it means they need information. This information can be related to any product or service, prices, or instructions to use a specific feature – and more often than not, the information is already available on your side.
Make sure your chatbot has access to this information to direct the visitors to relevant resources accordingly. Since the chatbot will already know the exact URLs of the key informational pages, the visitor will get quicker service, making them even better than a human agent in this case.
You can also use the chatbot for collecting crucial data like the common queries or problems of visitors and then use it for improving customer experience in the future.
Chatbots present several opportunities for marketing your products, measuring customer satisfaction, and establishing trust. The only catch here is to make sure that the chatbot customer experiences are well-designed to meet your target audience’s communication preferences and address their needs more efficiently and quickly.
You have to understand the limitations of your bot to identify problem areas. Once you’re successful in doing this, you will be able to streamline the whole service process, giving your customers better and more efficient support and assistance.