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Do Buyers Appreciate Chatbots?

Gabriela Crothers  /  June 3, 2021  /  
Do Buyers Appreciate Chatbots?

These days most online sites use chatbots to help with customer inquiries. Chatbots are like computerized assistants and are being increasingly used in the digital world. With advancements in IT, Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Generation are being integrated into chatbots to improve their customer-care service. So, the real question is- do the customers who visit the sites, and actually have to interact with these bots, appreciate them?

Chatbot Appreciation Varies Demographically

“In my experience, both from customer feedback and using chatbots, it seems clear that some people don't mind using chatbots while others will do anything to speak to a real person, preferably on the phone, but over IM as well.” says Trevor Larson, the CEO of Nectar HR, an employee recognition and rewards software developer, “This seems to be a demographic distinction, with older users preferring human-to-human customer service and troubleshooting with younger generations more comfortable with AI. The one thing that seems to be universally disliked, however, is chatbots that try to pass themselves off as human beings. Some CRM and UX theory extols the virtues of creating the most life-like chat AI possible with an emphasis on conversational and informal speech patterns, but I think you will find most people find this deceptive and affected. Personally, these kinds of chatbots damage my impression of a company.”

Useful for the Business, But not The Customers

CEO Alex Magnin doesn’t feel chatbots can be appreciated from the customers’ point of view, “The most brutal answer is no. Chatbots are incredible because they deal with so much for the staff and streamline the process. A query a customer has can potentially be resolved in seconds based on previous queries and, if not, they can be redirected to a member of the team. These all sound like great things, but this is from the lens of the business. As a customer, they feel like they are not getting the answers they truly want. Even if the answer would still be the same, knowing that it is a chatbot giving the answer makes them less trustworthy.”

Chatbots are Limited

“In my opinion, buyers do not appreciate chatbots. The reason for this is because chatboxes are pretty limited in how they respond to customers. For instance, if you ask a certain question that the chatbox isn't programmed to answer, then they will not be able to respond correctly.” says Professional Travel and Food Blogger, and Owner of The Daily Tourist; Thanh (Wayne) Dang who is also of the opinion that chatbots operating the customer service chatboxes are untrustworthy,Not only that, but you are also talking straight to a robot, so there is almost no connection between you and the other party. It feels like a lack of trust and responsibility since the other party doesn't want to even bother having a real person talk to you. And one of the worst things that chatboxes do is when you ask a question, and they just constantly pop up a series of boxes for you to click. Most of these boxes take you to nowhere or even a place that is irrelevant to your question. It just wastes time. So all in all, in my opinion, I think chatboxes are no good.”

Chatbots Make Customer Experience more Efficient

“The short answer to the question of whether or not customers appreciate a live chatbot option on a website is, oh, yeah! One of the main concerns about chatbots is that they are, well, not human. However, according to Business Insider, 45% of consumers don’t care if they interact with a live agent or a chatbot, as long as the service is effective, accurate and fast.” says Natalya Bucuy, Content Marketer at LiveHelpNow, who holds the view chatbots are appreciated by customers, “Chatbots can answer simple, basic questions and solve quick self-service customer inquiries (resetting a password, helping a customer log in, or find specific information, for example). They can also direct a more complex customer inquiry to the right department within an agency. In doing these tasks, chatbots make customer experience more efficient and free up human resources to deal with more complex customer service issues. Additionally, chatbots can help personalize customer experience. Chatbot triggers can offer a website visitor a discount code or suggest a similar service or product. They can direct customers to specific pages that can make their overall customer experience better. And customers, of course, love that.”

Chatbots Save Time

“Yes, most customers appreciate chatbots.” says Carley, the Head of Social and Customer Care at Friendly Turtle, “We implemented chatbots in our firm because we realized that most customers prefer chatbots over human customer services since they save much of their time. The primary reasons why customers prefer chatbots include faster responses, convenient access, and the fact that they are always on.”

Artificial Intelligence Advancements in Chatbots have Tipped the Scales

“When chatbots first appeared, they weren't popular at all. In fact, most people would complain about how difficult it was to do anything through a chatbot, and how the lack of human interaction was a turn-off for them. This happened because we didn't have the Artificial Intelligence we have nowadays in terms of chatbots. Capabilities like Natural Language Understanding have made chatbots change the game and most importantly, change customer experience.” says Mikkel Andreassen, Customer Experience Manager at Dixa. He feels chatbots today are on an entirely new level than before, “Nowadays, customers can interact with chatbots and not even realize they aren't talking to a real person. As they don't have to wait for a real person to answer in ‘human speed’, the whole marketing and selling process is much quicker and more profitable. Just as today, the amount of money made by chatbot sales is around 7.3 billion dollars and it's expected to be at least doubled in the next 2 years. According to a Salesforce commissioned study, around 58% of customers say chatbots and voice assistants are changing their experiences with companies. They even describe the chatbots with positive adjectives such as Nice, Great, Friendly, Easy to follow, Quick and Comfortable.”

Chatbots are Best as a Complement

“Buyers appreciate chatbots when companies use them as a complement to their customer service initiative rather than as a primary solution. Without a doubt, AI can seriously augment your internal support system.” says Brian Turner, Chief Technology Officer at ConvertBinary, but at the same time he states they can’t act as a stand-alone system, “However, it's important to recognize that the personability of human communication is virtually irreplaceable. If companies offer nothing more than a chatbot to customers, your clientele will quickly grow frustrated - especially when their problems are highly complex. Sometimes, people would rather talk to people, and it's vital that you give them that option. The best solution is to create a service funnel starting with chatbots and ending with a human customer service representative. That way, the chatbot can direct users towards solutions for simpler problems, and those with more involved issues can be passed along to humans, who can handle the complicated issues an AI might not have the answers for.”

Karl Hughes, Founder of Draft.dev, is of the opinion that while chatbots are of significant use in customer service, they cannot be expected to handle all customer discussions, “According to IBM, chatbots can answer about 80% of all standard questions that customers might have. The trick is recognizing that bots do have their limits, even with natural language processing behind the wheel. They should be used for basic requests, and most initial discussions, but anything advanced should be passed on to a human rep. Moreover, people don’t respond positively when bots pretend that they’re human, or when they’re not explicitly informed they’re talking to a bot- no matter how obvious it is. Trialing a bot is the best way to see how your customers respond to one, and it can also provide valuable insights on how to make the service more useful.”

Chatbots are Appreciated if They Don’t Interfere with Customer Experience

Akram Assaf Co-Founder & Chief Technology Officer at Bayt.com also believes in using chatbots up to a certain limit, allowing them to aid in customer service without ruining it, “Chatbots are still a new technology in the realm of customer service, which is why the success of this feature depends mainly on its implementations. I've had my fair share of experimentation with chatbots, and my conclusion is that customers either simply love it or hate it. If you want to implement a chatbot on your website, you need to be very careful about it. For starters, chatbots should never be annoying and intrusive to the customer experience. It should be a feature that CAN be used optionally. Also, designing and implementing a smart chatbot that adds value is a process that can take some time to get perfect. Buyers appreciate trending features such as chatbots as long as they do not mess with their experience. They don't want to be pressured into asking questions or buying, but they do want to be able to explore the feature if they wish to do so. Chatbots are a great addition to any website if they are well-designed and technologically advance to provide a good customer experience.”

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