Posted on February 25, 2022 in Marketing Thoughts

8 Reasons Why People Say That Chatbots “Suck”

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, ChatBots still have some inherent weaknesses. These weaknesses, very often, provide a poor experience and cause you to lose a potential customer.

I was recently looking at buying an item online and since questions arose, I clicked on the chat tool. It was a simple question, however, 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 have the same experience 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 can’t understand what they 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.

There are several reasons why. Here are a few we will cover:

  • “Buyers are Liars”
  • Stuck Down a Path
  • They Don’t Feel Personal
  • The Goal is to Move During The Session
  • They May Have Multiple Needs
  • People Don’t Have Time to Wait
  • They Are All About YOUR Goals – Not The Visitors
  • Chat Boxes Are Time-Consuming to Program.

“Buyers are Liars”

The idea is buyers are liars initially until they have something that’s of value and intrigues them.  That’s how we all do it right?  When you walk into a store, the first thing you’re going to say is no I’m just looking.

Often you don’t want help because you’ve learned their help takes longer.  So right away, you are going to basically say no I don’t need help, and then you put yourself in the category.

That’s the first problem with chatbots.  When you go to most chatbots you know often you don’t get to ask a question the right way because it doesn’t know how to respond. Then it basically qualifies you “are you looking to buy or are you just looking,” and so your interaction is treated as a retail scenario.

Stuck Down a Path

The second problem is that once you go down that chatbot road, whatever it might be, you know when you find these chat boxes you can’t start over. There is no getting back.  You can’t say “I was wrong and have changed my mind.”  Once you’ve been designated as being on a road there’s no way to engage differently. You can accidentally create your own journey; one that you can’t come back from.

They Don’t Feel Personal

I think you know the next part is it just doesn’t feel personal.  Obviously, people see right through them. They understand that a real person’s not there. Even worse is when you think you are talking to a real person, but halfway through it so quick and automated, you realize you can’t get the response you are looking for.  It’s disheartening and no one buys when they feel let down.

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

The Goal is to Move During The Session

Marketing people like to play with numbers. Their goals are to move the session, your browsing session, whether it’s 30 seconds, a minute or it’s five minutes on the website. The problem when you’re prompting a new website visitor to immediately respond you may change the session time.  They may have turned off the chatbot and won’t be bothered to turn it back on again.  You are not moving anything with a visitor who can’t engage or is frustrated.  Just keeping someone on the line isn’t moving them.

They May Have Multiple Needs

You may have somebody who has multiple things and needs to engage with you quickly, but doesn’t know how to engage a chatbot for more than one item at a time.  The AI on the market can’t handle multiple items and questions.  But any person can tell you about three different types of shoes, multiple colors, and sizes. all from one user-prompted question.  And now your user and your live chat are positioned to ask about pricing and move the sale along.

People Don’t Have Time to Wait

Ultimately, people just don’t have time to wait.  They don’t want or need to understand and learn the technology you are giving them.  They want answers, quickly, on their time.  Just how long it takes to get to the thing, and sometimes people don’t just have one thing they’re looking for, they may need maybe multiple things to get them to the promise.

They Are All About YOUR Goals – Not The Visitors’

Let’s be honest. The reason why companies want to use a chatbot is that it simply allows them to reach more people at scale without them having to do work and/or when they’re not there. But that doesn’t mean that that’s the best experience for the visitor.  And ultimately, I think the visitor if presented with any other scenario,  would choose another scenario.

“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

Chat bots are time-consuming to program.

You may have 5, 15 or 200 different questions, and each needs a response, with multiple variables for syntax and languages.  It can take ages to program correctly and even when done well, it doesn’t match the experience of the human connection. Programming a chatbot can take a considerable investment of time, money and thought and still not get it right.

So if chatbots aren’t the answer, what is?


BirdSeed was built with the knowledge 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 beats chatbots hands down. 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 its leads into a chatbot and crosses their fingers, wondering why they keep losing so many people at various stages.

BirdSeed lets you offer many different ways for the website visitor to engage with you. Let them choose what tool they are most comfortable utilizing AND let them decide WHEN that time is appropriate. Give multiple avenues for your customers to communicate with you.  There is no such thing as over-communicating! You may discover, like many of our clients have, that the best communication is fast and with a real person – the most popular communication channel that many businesses that use our tool is Live Chat.   Although some people prefer not speaking with a human when they have a question, when they do need to communicate with one, your company should be prepared. BirdSeed offers 12 FREE Engagement opportunities, All Built Into ONE powerful tool.
Once you realize how many different tools are needed to engage more website visitors, you’ll see why Birdseed is the solution you’ve always needed and why chatbots still leave much to be desired.

Until Next Time,

Robert Urban – CMO of BirdSeed 

robert urbanCurrent CMO of BirdSeed and best-selling author, Marine veteran and PhD.  Offers expert-level strategy and execution for SAAS and technology business through relationship driven marketing, content and sales while leading and managing people from all different backgrounds. BirdSeed is headquartered in Orlando, Florida.

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