Are Chatbots as Effective as They Should Be?

Chatbot conversation on smartphone screen app interface with artificial intelligence technology providing virtual assistant customer support and information, person hand holding mobile phone

Since their invention, chatbots have provided a customer service solution that we never knew we needed. Chatbots work to reduce the amount of customer waiting time while giving more efficient service. The most distinct advantage is the lack of need for human service; these bots solve customer issues through their programming.

But what do you do when your customers don’t like the new chatbot that you just embedded on your site? In some cases, customers prefer human-to-human interaction when they encounter problems, because they believe it to be better than a chatbot. The reasoning behind it is that the human will have more experience and use expertise to solve the issue. For a business, however, these questions can become repetitive, and may only require a simple answer.

This argument is valid. Regardless of how well a company programs their chatbot, it will never have the human touch that customers sometimes crave. As a matter of fact, research has shown that 60% of consumers will stop using a brand after a few not so good experiences, even if they love it.

The Beauty in Automation

However, many brands believe that automation is not only appealing but helps to ensure that everyone is catered to, especially when many customers require attention at the same time. Chatbots are made, however, on the basis of decision-tree logic, so they only use a few keywords given by the user to generate an answer. This can make complicated issues more difficult to resolve.

Chatbot Efficiency

Sometimes, bots are not necessary, or are unable to answer certain questions on their own.  Chatbots also fail to understand the context at times, because unlike humans, they lack social cues and therefore they cannot detect sarcasm or read between the lines.

When a chatbot is unable to provide a solution to a customer, they often cannot bring in human help because most of them lack the sense of escalation workflow that would make them realize that a human is needed to take over. This can lead to customers getting frustrated.

Just as effective as they need to be

So exactly how effective are chatbots? Just as effective as they need to be. When people research, all they want is to get the information they need as fast as possible. It is for this reason that most people follow the companies they like on social media. A chatbot is able to provide the most direct line between the consumer’s problem and a solution.

Thanks to the help of messaging apps, chatbots solve customers’ problems regardless of their location or device. This has also helped to do away with waiting for the next available customer care provider. Automated tasks are faster and more efficient, both for companies and consumers.

Even though chatbots still have a long way to go, they serve their purpose so far, and apart from a few dissatisfied customers here and there, everybody wins. Essentially, some chatbots are more effective than others – it just depends on how much value their service provider gives them.