Can your bot provide true business value to your company?
- Posted on September 14, 2018
- Estimated reading time 2 minutes
Chatbots are the new and trending topic. But before you hit #chatbot in your next project, you should consider this: Not all chatbots succeed in the real world.
Chatbots are programmed internet solutions capable of having text conversations. They work through a set of structured and repetitive tasks to engage in a simple to complex fluent conversations with internet services, programs, and humans. The ultimate goal is to enhance user experiences with conversations that provide relevant solutions for them based on their stated needs.
Chatbots are not meant to replace full websites or mobile applications. They are just one more tool at our disposal that can help us to better communicate with users.
So, why do chatbots fail? The most common reasons have to do with the design process.
Reason #1 Scripting: When you are working on this technology, it is essential to understand that the first interaction will be through a scripted conversation. That’s when the user engages with the bot.
Advice: Ensure your bot is not a jerk. This character represents your company or product. As a general rule, chatbots should be polite, helpful, and efficient. You should use basic etiquette. Make sure you always reply to hello, goodbye, and general greetings.
Reason #2 Technology: There is an extensive set of tools you can use to develop and support this speaking technology, but most of them have only linear intelligence. Most of the chatbots on the market are not highly intelligent. They work with simple logic connections to receive a simple answer content and don’t have useful interactive elements to enrich the conversation. The truly “intelligent bots” are costly and require a complicated learning process to provide a pleasant experience.
Advice: Understand any technical limitations of the bot tool you are using. Identify the elements available to create an enjoyable chat. As these are new technologies, we must be patient about the technical capacity. Don’t expect to develop more creative conversational interfaces than the tool you are using can deliver.
Reason #3 Purpose: Want people to use your chatbot? Then make sure it has a clear purpose and benefit to the humans talking about it. It can be tempting to develop a chatbot for no other reason than to build a chatbot. These are rarely successful because they do not have a clear purpose. People will not use a chatbot merely because it is a chatbot. They may even be annoyed by it.
Advice: Chatbots are a powerful communicative tool as long as we give them a valuable purpose. Ensure your efforts creating a bot will resolve a real need. If you don’t have clear your ideas, maybe is not the time to develop one.
Reason #4: Forgetting chatbots aren’t humans: Chatting with a bot is not the same as engaging in dialogue with an actual human being. There are multiple of limitations that will leave users to feel upset and annoyed if they wanted to have a conversation with a live person, the bot is presented as such, and then fails them. Bots can’t resolve issues in the same way as humans, especially if there is an emotional component to a conversation.
Advice: Be transparent with your users, let them know they are working with a bot and not with a human. Users who understand this will moderate their conversation to adjust questions and tasks.
Of course, my suggestions are intended as initial consideration for those interested in creating a successful chatbot. I also urge you to get more insight into how Avanade approaches AI for our clients.