On one hand, skeptics were wrong about the longevity of chatbot technology, but there are still many common chatbot mistakes in the customer service space.
The hype has not evaporated. Organizations remain fixated on leveraging AI-driven bots within their customer experiences. Technology companies and their backers continue to invest heavily into the chatbot space. The market remains confident in the technology’s potential.
Technology products are supposed to represent solutions. They are supposed to help organizations overcome challenges, improve processes and deliver unprecedented value.
Chatbots do not inherently guarantee these benefits. They do not automatically elevate the customer experience. They may actually hurt the engagement process.
The most obvious “pitch” for self-service chatbots is startlingly similar to that of IVR solutions: they empower customers to solve problems on their own, which reduces the volume (and associated cost) of agent-assisted interactions. The IVR, as organizations know all too well, carries a decidedly negative stigma within the marketplace. Rather than empowering customers, IVR systems often cause frustration.
If applied recklessly or incorrectly, chatbots can spur the same unfortunate outcome.
Skeptics thus deserve the gratitude of the customer contact community. By revealing that a return cannot be taken for granted, they encourage us to think twice before making chatbot investments. They urge us to ensure we are using the technology correctly.
They ask us to ensure our chatbot initiatives pass a “customer-centricity test.”
This blog series reveals the framework for that test. It explores the questions you need to ask—and the steps you need to take—to truly harness the power of chatbot technology.
Common Chatbot Mistakes
The idea of a customer-centricity test is not merely a precaution. It is also a reaction to the issues plaguing many existing chatbot initiatives.
While a handful of early adopters are seeing promising results, many have little or nothing to show for their investment. They are neither markedly elevating the customer experience nor improving the customer contact operation. They may even be hurting overall performance.
Making matters worse, the underwhelming results are not due to limitations in the technology. They are instead the product of mistakes in the implementation process.
These mistakes will bottleneck even the most robust chatbot solution.
No Value for the Customer
Many chatbot initiatives fail to create value for customers. At best, they offer frivolous functionality that does not meaningfully improve the customer experience. At worst, they add friction to the engagement journey.
Unable to naturally “communicate” with customers, they cannot provide relevant, meaningful solutions or information. Rather than offering an alternative to waiting for agent assistance, they merely waste customers’ time.
No Attention To Customer Preference
Some organizations forget that a powerful bot is not necessarily a customer-centric bot.
Confident in the functionality of their bots, these organizations impose the technology on the wrong customers at the wrong moments. Rather than listening to the voice of each customer, they make inside-out decisions about which issues should be handled via bot technology.
No Omnichannel Capability
For all the hype about omnichannel engagement, many organizations are struggling to rise to the occasion. The struggle is particularly evident when it comes to chatbots.
Bots are often introduced exclusively in a live chat or messaging context, which means organizations are not harnessing the AI-driven, conversational technology to support self-service in all channels.
Worse, these bots are not sufficiently connected to other channels, Neither customers nor their data can seamlessly move to agent-assisted environments.
No Agent Empowerment
Organizations surely know that happy, empowered agents create satisfied, loyal customers.
Many forget this connection when implementing chatbots. They neglect the ramifications for the agent experience.
Specifically, they ignore the impact chatbots will have on agent workflow, including changes in the types of issues they will handle. They also overlook opportunities to leverage chatbots to improve agent performance and satisfaction.
No Data Design
The key to most contact center initiatives, data plays a particularly crucial role in the success of a chatbot initiative.
Many organizations underestimate the importance of data, which in turn weakens their chatbot endeavors.
Taking a “plug and play” approach to their bots, some downplay the importance of properly tuning their systems. They do not load them with relevant information about their organizations, its processes and its customers, thus crippling their ability to handle meaningful tasks.
Others fail to appreciate the opportunity to leverage bot data to elevate the overall customer contact operation. Their bots may be successful at supporting customers, but they are not making the optimal contribution to the overall customer experience.
Download our report The State of Chatbots for information on overcoming these common chatbot mistakes and your very own customer-centricity test to evaluate your chatbot.