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Sep 2, 2021 8:30:00 AM

Why Most Chatbots Suck (And How to Fix It)


Ever had a frustrating chatbot conversation when trying to get support from customer service?

Being stuck in an endless loop of getting to the same unsatisfying solution over and over again no matter which button you click. 

Or trying to explain your problem with different words, hoping the chatbot would finally understand you. It just sucks.

But not all chatbots are created equal. That’s why the conversational experiences vary vastly. The technical backbone of the chatbot influences the way it’s able to understand the customer's intent and help them. Some chatbots are just designed to fail. But there’s also hope on the horizon.


The Different Kinds of Chatbots


Let’s have a quick look at what’s out there on the chatbot market: While the static decision trees of click-chatbots are limited and often become too complex to handle, dynamic decision trees take context into account and offer solutions that are more reliable and quicker. Clicking a button is faster than typing and people are used to it, thanks to picking up their smartphones multiple times per day and interacting with it based on touches (or clicks). 


But there are also those chatbots that use free text input and are based on Natural Language Processing (NLP). Pure NLP-chatbots come with a price. Because they’re not human, they won't always understand the customer correctly as the human language is full of nuances and ambiguities. The error margin here is quite vast, resulting in misunderstandings or no resolution at all because the chatbot doesn’t get the real intent or the subtleties of the conversation. This just sucks.


Reading recommendation: The Battle of Bots: NLP vs. Multiple-Choice Chatbot

There's More to Chatbots Than You Think


On top of the technologies’ shortcomings, there are some pretty persistent misconceptions floating around in the chatbot space. 


Time to bust these chatbot myths and unlearn previous bad experiences!


Those myths are causing companies to avoid the technology in general, thereby missing out on opportunities to scale their customer service and, as a result, they’re falling behind their competition. It’s very unfortunate, but understandable: Lots of companies got burned when chatbots first entered the markets and word of mouth travels fast in the business community. The technology wasn’t mature, the solution was buggy, ROI wasn’t there and bots could almost never achieve the business results they promised. So now companies might hesitate when considering a chatbot or decide to look for other solutions. 


But there’s some good news:


According to Gartner®, “AI is starting to deliver on its potential and its benefits for businesses are becoming a reality.” [1] 


Customer service chatbots have been around for a while and they’re here to stay. They’re the embodiment of instant communication and key to creating happy customers by providing the great service experience they expect. Why? 


Let’s have a quick look at the most important aspects of a good customer service experience according to the Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report:


      1. Resolve issues quickly
      2. 24/7 support availability, i.e. answers in real time
      3. Friendliness of agent
      4. Contact via desired method
      5. No need to repeat information
      6. Proactive reachout for support
      7. No need to contact a human agent


A chatbot meets all of the criteria above – it can be so much more than just a ticket deflection tool.


Create Frustration-free Chatbot Experiences


It’s time to unlearn your previous chatbot experiences and rethink the potential of conversational AI for customer service. The right kind of chatbot will create a frustration-free zone for your customers – no matter if you’re an eCommerce, financial services or software business or any company with a customer service department. 


The next wave of customer service chatbots is on the rise - and they’re ready to deliver on the broken promises of their kind. So forget all you think you know about chatbots and get ready to find a new perspective with our guide “Beyond the Hype: Chatbot Technology Demystified”.




Source [1] Smarter With Gartner, “2 Megatrends Dominate the Gartner Hype Cycle for Artificial Intelligence, 2020”, 28 September 2020 [https://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/2-megatrends-dominate-the-gartner-hype-cycle-for-artificial-intelligence-2020/] GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission


Karen takes care of Solvemate's content universe as Marketing Communications Manager. When not writing about chatbots, you will find her watching Danish tv series (Dear Netflix, please talk to DR and add some new ones!), doing (aerial) yoga or trying out every recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi.