Should Your Company Use Chatbots In Its Website?

We are rapidly approaching a time when the Turing test, a test designed in the 1950s that would gauge how well artificial intelligence could fool someone into thinking it was human.  Alan Turing probably wasn’t thinking in terms of customer service when he developed the test, but yet many of the chatbots used in WordPress and some CRM software can fool some people into thinking they are human.  However, most people can tell when they are communicating with a chatbot. Knowing that your customer is aware they are dealing with an AI, the question is, do they mind? Let’s take a look at some of the ups and downs of using an AI to handle customer service on your website.

Why Chatbots Work

Don’t Require a Salary or Insurance

It may seem an obvious point, but chatbots do what you want for free. Once you have the software, you control the AI.  That means no sick days, no vacation time, no breaks, no asking for a raise; chatbots do their job 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  This fact makes them invaluable to a company just on the employee savings alone.

Don’t Give Incorrect Information

When a customer interacts with a chatbot the get instant answers to their questions. With a live agent, they may have to wait while the agent looks up the answer, or until regular business hours. Chatbots are fast and accurate, and they never have to ask a superior about a question. They are always interested in what you have to say and are always polite.

Chatbots Can Save Your Sales Reps Time

A chatbot can be programmed to spot specific keywords and phrases that make a customer a qualified lead. Once they identify a qualified lead, they can then forward the information to a sales rep who can follow up with the customer.  At the same time, it can steer away customers who are unlikely to purchase a company’s goods or services. This feature lets your sales reps focus on closing sales instead of trying to read the tea leaves on which leads are the best.

Why Chatbots May Not Work

Not Everyone Likes Chatbots

Some people may have a question outside of an AI’s programmed parameters which means there will not be an answer. Understandably, when a question can’t be answered, a customer will get frustrated. Some Chatbot software has an option to transfer to a live agent. Staffing one or two live agents who a chatbot can transfer to could alleviate some of the possible headaches.

Some people just don’t like talking to an AI, which for them may conjure thoughts of HAL 9000 or Skynet.  Even some Millennials prefer to speak to humans over chatbots, so it may be wise to keep a few live agents on hand for customers who are adverse to AI.

Can’t Qualify Every Customer

If your business is in a very specialized and nuanced field, a chatbot may not be able to discern what is a qualified lead, and what isn’t.  Some leads may need to be qualified through face to face consultations, and they do not have that level of sophistication at this time.

It really depends on the type of business you have if you want to use chatbots.  Some clientele is more demanding and expects human interaction. The real question is, will your customers realize they are not speaking with a human if you use an AI? Is it ethical to not inform a customer they are communicating with an AI? That is a question your company will have to answer. What is apparent is that chatbots can be very useful in getting customers fast, accurate information and spotting possible leads. Chatbots are becoming more popular every day and are likely to continue being so.

Let MosierData help with all your website needs or Chatbot questions.

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About the Author

Though his chief ambition is to one day control the entire Internet, Jim busies himself in the meantime running our little web development and marketing agency. He's a certified super nerd who ranks coding in old, outdated languages and watching Star Trek reruns just a bit too high on his list of fun things to do.Outside of work, Jim enjoys Hockey (Tampa Bay Lighning, to be specific), more genres of music than most people realize exist, riding his Harley (he calls it "two wheel therapy") and exploring the world through travel.