3 Reasons You May Want To Reconsider Using Chatbots For Your Business
Let’s face it. Chatbots that are capable of answering a prospective client’s questions 24/7 is an attractive idea for your business. Imagine all the extra time you could have if you set up a robot to take all those questions from your website visitors and keep them happy. However, as we are heading near the end of 2018, ChatBots still have some inherent weaknesses. These weaknesses, very often, are providing a poor experience and causing you to lose a potential customer.
I was recently looking at buying an item online. I had a couple of questions and clicked on the chat tool. I asked a simple question and the answer didn’t make sense. I realized immediately I had been duped into thinking I was communicating with a real person and instead it was a chatbot. Many people are like me and get frustrated when they have a question or concern and think it is being addressed by a human only to find out it is a chatbot that doesn’t understand what it is we are asking.
Chatbots were once heralded as the next best thing for business owners like you and me, but as of right now, they aren’t.
Here are three reasons why:
- Conversation is too fluid for chatbots to keep up with
- Chatbots are impersonal and provide no relationship value
- Variations in the customer journey are too complex to be fully defined by some flow chart and if/then statements
Conversations, written or verbal, are fluid because language is complex. Communication is not a question and answer like Quora or some FAQ page. (I believe it is a good practice to have an area on your website for questions like that) Conversations include jargon, euphemisms, similes, metaphors, cultural references, different syntax structure, dialect and accent. The best chatbot in the world can’t replace human comprehension in the way that we process syntax, tone, inflection, sarcasm and intent. Simply put, language is constantly evolving and is too complex for a chatbot to keep up.
People want to feel like they matter, because they do. No robot can express sincere empathy, sympathy, compassion, and confidence. A person who is engaging with your company has some sort of roadblock- a question, a concern, a frustration. This is a critical moment for any business where the person is at the teetering point. Does the person move down the sales cycle/ conversion path or do they exit the entire experience and move to your competitor? This is often determined by how much of a relationship and trust they have developed so far. A human-to-human connection is much more personal, authentic, and more likely to keep the website visitor headed toward your desired action than a chatbot interaction.
Here is a seasonal analogy. A Salvation Army website asks you to donate money to a good cause. You decide that you don’t want to and click “no”. Relatively easy. A person interacts and engages with you as you exit the store and asks you, person to person. You may still say “no”, however, the decision is much more difficult for you to say no. Why? Because human interaction holds more value. Although there are generational preferences, very often, people still want to talk to a human – not a robot.
“Even as artificial intelligence becomes embedded in everyday interactions, human conversation remains the primary way people make complex purchases or emotional decisions.” – Harvard Business Review
The first thing a chatbot asks you is a question to identify what your issue is. Immediately, you are qualified as a lead and the chatbot leads you down a path. This is called a flowchart based chatbot and how 99 percent of chatbots are built. The customer is not some statistical likelihood. Every customer is on different points of their customer journey and since their experiences and preferences and stage are unique to them, treating them, all the same, provides for a poor experience. Chatbots assume the user’s intent, often either incorrectly or at least not understanding the clear, complete picture. This leads to a repetitive and frustrating interaction and like that the website visitor you spent so many resources just getting to that step is now gone.
INC magazine wrote an incredibly popular article titled “Yes, Chat Bots Are Incredibly Efficient. But Your Customers Hate Them
“Your customers don’t view service as a repetitive task. New research out today shows customers want more humanity and less automation, especially when something goes wrong. They want their experience with your brand to be personalized–not cookie-cutter.” – INC Magazine
So if chatbots aren’t the answer, what is?
I built BirdSeed understanding that people have different communication preferences and are in different buying cycles. Because of their communication preferences, buying cycle stage, and your ability (or lack thereof) to respond in real-time, you need a blend of tools to engage them more, make them want to stay longer, and come back later. Live chat hands down beat chatbots. However, we understand as powerful as live chat, sometimes people don’t like to talk so we also offer additional engagement tools that help you interact with the website visitor in multiple ways- their choice. BirdSeed lets them communicate when and how they want to with your brand.
True conversions from a prospect to a qualified lead, to a client, to long-term loyalty, take trust, experience, a true evaluation of needs, and positive engagement. Therefore, generating an online sale is an ongoing process, not a singular event. Losing a lead, however, is a singular event, and once your prospect has lost trust in your company, the road to lead them back is long and hard. Don’t lose the leads to your website. Build long-term trust with real conversations and other engagement tools. Turn those conversations into conversions that will build long-term sales. Your company now has an edge over every other company out there that funnels their leads into a chatbot and hopes it works, wondering why they keep losing so many people at various stages.
Learn more about how BirdSeed can help your business today by contacting us- when and how you prefer- by clicking on the box on the right of this page.