Why Chatbots Can Annoy Your Customers

Is Your Chatbot Annoying Your Website Visitors?

One of the biggest tech-based trends in both marketing and customer service these days is also, unfortunately, one of the ones that is also commonly misused.

For those unfamiliar, a chatbot is exactly what it sounds like – a computer program designed specifically to simulate conversation with human users over the Internet. In many cases, a business will put a chatbot on its website so that its customers always have someone to “talk to” to get answers to important questions or to address any concerns that they may have.

And sadly, in a lot of cases, they’re not just a little annoying…they’re really annoying!

None of this is to say that chatbots don’t have their place, as they certainly do. It’s just that if you’re not careful, they can actually hurt the relationship you’re trying to build with your customers, not help it.

The Issues With Chatbots: Breaking Things Down

they’re “fooling” absolutely nobody

While it’s absolutely true that artificial intelligence and natural language processing has come a long way over the last few years, there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done. This leads to maybe the biggest issue with the way chatbots are commonly used these days – they’re “fooling” absolutely nobody.

Nearly all customers today know that there isn’t a living, breathing human on the other end of that text exchange on your website. More often than not, they’re simply trying to figure out how to get around the chatbot to get to an employee; this can lead to a frustrating experience for many right off the bat. No matter how much AI has improved, people still know that they’re communicating with a robot. And knowing this, they might assume that you’re too busy to have a real person answer.

This cold, impersonal impression is the last thing you want to create, but it may be exactly what you’re doing without even realizing it.

Of course, there are other issues with the common uses of chatbots, too, particularly in terms of something like Facebook Messenger. In today’s politicized world, a lot of people are turned off by Facebook in general because they don’t like how the social media giant is getting in the way of freedom of speech. Because of that, you’re also not doing yourself any favors by forcing people to use a communication channel that they may not feel comfortable with just to get some type of interaction with your brand.

Along the same lines, chatbots also create an immediate issue of trust that you would also do well to avoid at all costs. Even though it’s absolutely true that payments are safe within a chatbot, a lot of people still don’t trust them due to the perception that fraud may be present. Obviously, you know that your brand is trustworthy and you wouldn’t do anything to knowingly take advantage of your customers or put their personal (and financial) information in jeopardy in any way. But many times people will begin to immediately question this when a chatbot is present, which is again something you would want to go out of your way to avoid.

The Inherent Limitations of Chatbots

chatbots always slow down your page’s speed

Even going beyond all of this, there are two very big limitations associated with chatbots that could cause problems for your business in more ways than one. First: chatbots almost always end up slowing down your page’s loading speed, especially the ones that begin automatically soon after someone arrives.

Remember that in the majority of situations, if your site takes longer than just three seconds to load, all you’re doing is giving someone an excuse to hit the “Back” button on their browser and never return. Slow page speeds that contribute to high bounce rates also negatively impact your search engine rankings, often in a way that is difficult to quickly recover from.

But maybe the number one problem with the way that chatbots are commonly used comes down to the fact that most people don’t program them properly in the first place.

In a lot of situations, people don’t program enough questions and answers (or create enough potential options) for consumers to easily get the information they’re looking for. At that point, you’re creating a very frustrating situation for someone who either A) gets no answers, or B) gets stuck in a kind of irritating feedback loop.

That Human Element Still Matters

When people spend big money, they want first-rate service

In the end, chatbots really work well for younger generations of consumers because they’re naturally more receptive to this type of technology. They understand the limitations of the technology and they know right away whether they’re going to get what they’re looking for or whether they have to take an alternative communication channel.

Older and especially higher net-worth customers, on the other hand, are quickly left with a cold feeling about the experience – thus causing them to balk at larger transactions in particular. When people spend big money, they want first-rate service and, at least right now, a chatbot just isn’t going to be able to provide that.

So while it’s absolutely fair to say that chatbots are ultimately good and any seasoned social media professional will back that up, the general public still isn’t quite as educated about the topic as they need to be. Rather than looking at a chatbot as an opportunity to potentially replace your human employees, you need to see it for what it really is: a way to support and empower them. Let the chatbot handle those simple, mundane questions so that your actual employees can devote more attention to those matters that really need them. They’ll be able to help create a far better experience when interacting with members of your target audience, which may very well be the most important benefit of all.

If you’d like to find out more information about the many ways in which a chatbot will annoy the heck out of your customers, or if you have any additional questions you’d like to discuss with someone in a bit more detail, please don’t delay – contact us today.

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