Is it possible to work for a brand and not pay an income tax? It is if you’re a chatbot. Never late for work, the bot is digital software hand-crafted to emulate an unfailingly loyal, personal human assistant. It’s mission: help visitors, whatever their needs. Have a question? Need some direction? The resident chatbot is ready to serve.
Increasingly, the chatbot is becoming a familiar fixture on ecommerce sites. But is the ubiquitous bot a plus for brands? Many would say not. In fact, recent research from Acquia, a software services company, revealed that about 45% of website shoppers consider bots an annoyance. Unless remedial measures are implemented, the dissatisfaction will only intensify.
Although the bot is burdened by several problems, the biggest seems to be its limited understanding. But don’t blame the bot -- it’s not all its fault. Often, when messaging a bot (typically with text entries), visitors skip from topic to topic. That’s part of their nature.
But bots don’t get it – they lack the necessary intuitive mechanisms. So, they’re prone to misinterpret – and therefore respond with something way off base. Maybe it returns with info about a travel destination when the user simply wanted a flight schedule. And so forth.
Such situations are common. So is the typical user response – teeth-gritting frustration. To the negligently-served user, the experience was a huge waste of time. Not a good outcome in the age of quick-response smart devices.
Can brands counteract the bot’s built-in limitations? Several options are available to the concerned brand marketer. Upping the bot’s intuitive capabilities is one of them. But that takes snappy engineering and a precious commodity called time.
For the present, the optimum solution is to create quick links to real human assistants … the kind that eat, sleep, and show up late for work, normally with a questionable excuse. When interactions get tangled and snarled, nothing is more welcome than the prompt intercession of an actual person. Like it or not, help on demand is a prerequisite. If the bot can’t deliver, a human presumably can.
If you have questions or comments about chatbots, or about any other brand-related topic, feel free to send them our way.