The chatbot is everywhere. Whether they stick to you with a call from an unknown number, or with a private message, or by opening on a landing page, little changes: these small and intelligent systems are becoming increasingly popular in a multitude of different sectors.
In fact, about 80% of companies hope to get to use chatbots on their sites by 2020.
Just to give you an idea also from the “consumer” side, we did a quick survey in our Web Digital team: three members confirmed that they had interacted with a chatbot in the last 72 hours.
But the volume of interactions does not necessarily indicate that these are successful: many users believe that chatbots distract and ultimately do not help.
If used improperly, these programs can “mess up” the user experience on your site, make it confusing, and even damage the reputation of your brand.
Here, then, is some information about chatbots: the advantages, the disadvantages, how to use them and other things that will help you decide whether to implement them on your site.
What is a chatbot
Generally defined as computer software or a system that imitates human conversation, a chatbot is an artificial intelligence system that invites the consumer to interact with them, or with the mother source, in a certain way.
Generally, these automatic robots are active on apps, live chats, emails or texts and are intended to create a better customer service experience for consumers.
Chatbots are a relatively new phenomenon that landed in the digital world in the late 1990s. Although these robots (like other specialized brothers) are constantly evolving, their purpose has remained the same.
Today, the most effective uses of chatbots can be seen on e-commerce sites and the social media giant, Facebook.
In Web pages, bots are useful for interacting directly with site visitors and for gathering both information and new leads.
On Facebook, they are used in the same way, especially implemented in business profiles. We talked more about it in our article dedicated to the use of chatbot messenger for e-commerce.
What types of chatbots exist
From relatively simple to incredibly complex ones, all chatbots generally fall into two types. Let’s see what they are and what features they have.
Simple chatbots are generally programmed to respond to keywords.
The advantage of simple chatbots is that they can be useful, albeit on a very basic level. Specifically, they can provide limited assistance strictly linked to the recognition of a keyword, entered by the user, who usually looks for specific answers.
This means that simple chatbots are unlikely to be able to assist customers at a deep level unless they are addressed by these very specific words or phrases indexed by their systems.
Many brands and companies are gradually converting to the use of intelligent chatbots, abandoning the simpler ones, to improve the customer experience.
The chatbot smart, or intelligent chatbot, exploit artificial intelligence to respond to requests, and not repeating the keywords with predefined formulas.
As customer conversations are recorded, they help improve their processing and response capabilities, allowing robots to become increasingly “smarter”. This type of AI will continue to be increasingly effective as the evolution of these technologies continues.
Why use a chatbot? Advantages and disadvantages
More and more brands and large companies are now using chatbots: they are doing much more than yesterday and certainly less than tomorrow.
Taking note of their successes and failures can come in handy for any company that is still trying to find their way around why they use chatbots and the advantages and disadvantages they can offer.
But how can you actually understand if it is appropriate to use a chatbot on your site?
Before proceeding with any type of implementation, a company should make sure that chatbots are suitable for the needs of its primary consumer base.
To understand this, it is important to understand how these tools can improve or complicate the user experience.
The advantages of a chatbot
Usually peeking at the bottom right of the screen, chatbots assist customers by providing them with simple or complex answers (depending on the type of bot used).
The advantages of chatbots are more evident when it comes to eCommerce website design or for very large companies with a very significant online presence. These companies can also afford to hire a representative of their brand who takes care of customer service, 24 hours a day, and answers the most complicated questions.
If you own a small company, a chatbot could help meet specific customer needs.
But wait a minute: smaller companies also have good reasons not to use this software.
Here are the following.
Disadvantages of chatbots
Although chatbots are undeniably useful for some companies, they can actually be an obstacle for others.
For small and medium-sized B2B companies it is preferable not to use chatbots. The reason is clear: most of these brands do not have an employee who is responsible for answering customers’ most complex questions 24 hours a day.
Another disadvantage is that a chatbot can often seem to provide the perfect solution to a problem when in reality it is only acting as a palliative remedy. The truth is that it cannot neutralize the biggest underlying problem, most often linked to a confusing site structure and a low-quality user experience.
If customers find it difficult to find information on your site, what you need is not a chatbot: you have to redesign it from top to bottom.
Read our tips on how to improve the user experience on your site.
Once your site has been properly formatted and includes all the necessary information, you can start to re-evaluate the possibility of exploiting the potential of a chatbot.
Some companies adopt a more focused approach on the “quantitative” aspect of their sites, rather than on the qualitative one. The result is that you often come across pages crowded with content, with long loading times and, ultimately, with bad customer experience.
To improve this aspect, we recommend first of all starting from your landing page: get an idea of what a landing page is and find out how to use it to make lead generation. In conclusion, it is useful to reiterate that the usefulness of chatbots, the advantages, and disadvantages of these are always commensurate with the general quality of the site and that, when this is well structured, the former is more than the latter.