The Limitations of Chatbots: Do They Outweigh The Benefits?
We live in an era surrounded by chatbots and AI-powered solutions.
Smart home systems, messaging apps, mobile health trackers, and even wearable smartwatches all use AI and bot technology.
Artificial intelligence or machine learning powers many digital technologies making our lives and communication simpler.
A recent study by Hubspot revealed that around 21% of consumers believe that chatbots make communicating with any business easier and faster.
The last five years have been transformational for the chatbot industry as more businesses continue to adopt various forms of chatbot technology for customer engagement, customer support, and lead generation.
However, like everything in life, chatbots have their advantages and disadvantages.
Fortunately, although there are limitations to chatbots, they are easy to overcome, and once you do, that's where the magic happens.
Your customer support is vastly improved, your costs decrease, and your customer satisfaction skyrockets.
If you are an innovative business owner looking to introduce chatbot solutions in your business, you must understand the limitations (and how to alleviate them) of chatbots.
Before we dive into the various limitations of chatbots, let's start by evaluating the multiple benefits of introducing a chatbot solution to your business and clients.
What Are the Advantages of Chatbots?
The adoption of chatbots comes with several advantages, such as faster customer support, seamless customer experience, and better online presence.
Many companies successfully incorporate chatbots in their day-to-day operations for data acquisition and lead generation.
This section will jump into some of the core advantages of chatbots for businesses and users.
Ready? Let's go.
Faster Customer Service
One of the primary goals of chatbots is to help companies offer faster customer service and save time.
And with chatbots programmed with machine learning capabilities, they can answer simple queries, offer instructions, and collate data faster without human assistance.
The beauty of chatbots is that they are available around the clock.
Unlike human customer support agents, bots are always there to respond to queries, perform tasks, and gather data 24/7 without charging their employers for overtime (which, of course, is music to any business owner's ears!).
Therefore, chatbots increase your customer satisfaction rate as your business can tackle any issues quickly and efficiently.
Promotes Conversational Marketing
Nowadays, consumers can be demanding. They expect businesses to be open around the clock and respond to their questions within the first minutes, not days.
However, rather than fill forms, wait on call queues, or scroll endlessly through a business website searching for answers, a chatbot can be programmed to save the day and respond promptly to users' questions without the need for a human customer agent.
As magnificent as chatbots are, they are not human agents, but they can serve as virtual agents until a salesperson is needed.
And with chatbots now powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning abilities, they can directly communicate with customers in a language that matches a brand tone.
Undeniable Limitations of Chatbots
The Global Consumer Customer Service report indicated that 50% of buyers would want to communicate with a chatbot. And if they did, they were more likely to make use of a bot for simple tasks. However, for more complex requests, most buyers prefer to communicate with a human.
However, most of us will agree that chatbots have a rightful place in the world of customer service and digital marketing. Bots are valuable solutions for customer engagement, routine tasks, shopping assistants, and other personal responsibilities.
But, even though some might consider them indispensable, they cannot wholly replace human-to-human assistance when dealing with users (yet!).
Now, let's take a closer look at some of the limitations of chatbot technology and how businesses can overcome them when introducing a chatbot strategy.
Newsflash! Chatbots Aren't Humans
Businesses and individuals looking to adopt a chatbot strategy must come to terms with the apparent fact that chatbots are mere machines and not humans.
While companies can program bots to sound like human beings through natural language processing, the reality is that they can never sound exactly like or completely possess human capabilities (not yet anyway).
Nowadays, it is common for chatbots to have human names with photos to appear like real human agents.
However, users are now savvier and can figure out whether they have spoken to an AI-Powered chatbot or an actual person.
If they feel misled by the business using a human name or a picture, they may feel deceived and take their business elsewhere.
So, how can businesses avoid this issue when implementing a chatbot strategy for their marketing or customer support purposes?
Luckily, you can eliminate this potential pitfall.
First and foremost, companies must own up to their use of chatbots to communicate with their consumers. That way, buyers can decide between chatting with a bot or requesting the support of a human agent.
Furthermore, businesses must empower chatbots and humans to work together and allow users to choose the method they prefer to use. And, there must be an easy transition to a human customer agent in a situation where a bot cannot solve a problem.
While machine learning capabilities power most chatbots, there was a common misunderstanding that they still fail to understand specific customers' queries or behaviors.
Unfortunately, this led to an incorrect belief that chatbots have continued to fail because they cannot understand human conversations.
However, in reality, machine learning is now capable of understanding customer queries and customer behaviors. Furthermore, machines can deal with semantic similarity well, of course, not (yet) perfectly, so understanding texts with similar semantics is no longer a cause for concern.
While machine understanding has come on leaps and bounds, there is one remaining downside. It is still challenging for machines to distinguish between nuances of speech when two sentences are semantically and lexically similar but may convey an entirely different meaning.
Luckily, this issue is not overly concerning as it simply means, for example, understanding metaphors or sarcasm will be complex for a chatbot.
Also, another common misconception is that machine learning systems like chatbots lack a consistent personality because they acquire information from different sources.
This limitation could make it harder for a company to develop a consistent brand identity from a business marketing position.
However, this isn't necessarily true, and it's certainly not true for Hoory.
Many bots, like Hoory, can imitate a personality or character, and they can communicate those traits within their scope and vocabulary.
In fact, this is one of the many areas where the Hoory AI chatbot solution thrives.
With an AI-backed training capability, the Hoory chatbot solution allows businesses to customize their bot answers and arrange questions into intent groups, thereby helping them provide users with more focused answers and a robust knowledge base.
With an AI-Powered bot like Hoory, proper management, and regular bot updates, you can train it to understand your customers and develop a consistent tone.
Chatbots and Decision-Making
One of the primary reasons consumers reach out to customer support agents is to aid their decision-making process when buying a particular product or service.
While innovative technologies have helped make purchases more straightforward in the retail industry, such as 360-degree product views, virtual inspection, and even reviews from past customers, consumers still feel insecure when buying items online.
Almost everyone at some point in their life has contacted a customer agent to help them make the right choice. For many buyers, speaking to a human being about their buying choices increases their confidence in purchasing.
So, how can we overcome this limitation when incorporating chatbot solutions into our business?
The answer is simple.
The role of a bot in today's business world goes beyond helping customers make a buying decision. When used in combination with helping customers during their buying decision journey, chatbots can help consumers contact brand representatives in real-time and assist in the decision-making process.
Personalized or Emotive
Chatbots are excellent for collating data and providing users with information from multiple sources.
But, they can never create that special human bond with customers, which is crucial for any business.
A study published in the Harvard Business Review revealed that customers who have an emotional attachment with a business purpose are more important than those who are satisfied.
While AI experts have been able to program chatbots to reflect empathy during conversations with users, many consumers still find it weird for machines or bots to express emotions.
Retaining clients is the goal of every business. For most companies, client retention is easier and cheaper than marketing strategies to entice new customers to purchase products.
However, easy access to technology has made it more straightforward for consumers to explore other alternatives or different brands.
As competition for buyers continues to increase, it's more important than ever for business owners to retain and delight their existing clients.
And one easy way for brands to increase their customer retention number is by providing consumers with individualized services both with and without chatbots.
According to recent findings by Salesforce, 66% of customers say they're likely to stop a purchase if they feel a brand treats them like stats, and not as a person.
Speaking to a human agent or a personalized chatbot allows customers to express their fears, likes, and dislikes about different issues and receive highly personal answers.
Recent chatbot solutions like Hoory have provided users and businesses with a more personalized experience thanks to its AI and machine learning capabilities.
For most consumers, having a brand representative or a personalized chatbot, like Hoory, respond to their queries and needs improves their confidence in a brand.
Limited Research Skills
Another incorrect belief about chatbots is that chatbots' research skills are virtually non-existent.
Sure, many chatbots are pre-programmed to respond to only specific queries in their system, meaning they cannot research topics that are not included in their database.
In this instance, a bot that focuses on telling what the weather will be like in Atlanta may have difficulty providing users with answers when asked for the weather in other states.
This limitation affects the versatility of bots when it comes to holding conversations with customers. Additionally, it can negatively impact customer satisfaction due to unsolved queries.
While businesses must involve human agents in more complex research queries, AI-Powered chatbots like Hoory solve this limitation. One of Hoory's most remarkable features is its Knowledge Base.
Thanks to this capability, the Hoory chatbot can quickly scan a website and provide users with well-researched answers based on the data or conservations stored in its knowledge base.
More importantly, with regular updates and management of the bot, you can train it to resolve an ever-increasing number of customer questions.
Lack of Training Data
There is a general misconception that chatbots and machine learning systems can function without the input of human supervision. Just like it is expected of humans to craft each word and response concerning the question asked, this also applies to machine learning systems. Chatbot technology requires human effort to collect, select, and process every piece of received data.
In a recent survey by Dimension Research, 81% of respondents indicated that the process of training AI-Powered chatbots with data was more challenging than they expected.
For businesses with not enough test data readily available, programming a conversational AI chatbot solution may become an expensive and time-consuming adventure. An easy way to avoid this is by taking advantage of Hoory's clustering feature.
The clustering feature allows Hoory chatbot to learn as she communicates with users, collates questions asked by users, analyzes them, and groups them into specialized intent groups.
One of the upsides to this Hoory feature is that it helps businesses understand the product or service consumers want and enables them to provide the chatbot with the correct information for specific queries.
Summing Up: Do the Benefits of Chatbots Outweigh the Limitations?
Short answer - yes.
Technology has changed the way businesses communicate their offerings to their end-users.
For the average consumer, shopping habits and their way of living have become a lot easier. While for the average company, access to customer data, lead engagement, increased efficiency, and ease of communication is the main focus.
With the increasingly straightforward way of life and methods for doing business that innovation brings, some believe that technological solutions solve every problem.
AI and chatbot technologies are the next big thing in marketing and customer support.
Not only will they save your business money, but they will also offer a superior customer service experience that delights your customers.
The key to the successful adoption of chatbots is to ensure bots and humans play nicely together.
If you want to incorporate chatbot and artificial intelligence solutions into your business marketing strategy, the first step is to synchronize chatbot technology and human input.
Businesses must deploy a system that allows both solutions to work hand-in-hand. While this is still a challenge for most companies deploying AI chatbot solutions, Hoory chatbot provides a lasting solution to this issue. With the Hoory AI chatbot solution, users can easily switch to a human support agent while interacting with a company's website.
Save staff time and costs using chatbots for basic conversations.
However, also have a transition process that allows for an easy transfer of queries to human brand ambassadors that understand your business vision and language. For example, businesses can take advantage of the inbox feature at Hoory. The Hoory inbox feature allows firms to address users' queries directly and record conversations for future purposes.
If you master the connection between a bot and a human, your business can scale, your profits will increase, and your customers will thank you.