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Chatbots on Your Website: The Good, The Bad, The Consensus

posted May 24th 2019, 1:25 pm by Maddy Strange

In the age of Siri and Alexa, we are used to talking to technology. We can tell Siri "I love you," and it'll spit out sassy responses right back to us. Alexa tells us the time, weather, and answers to your Google searches if we ask nicely. Similar to these responsive technologies, you can utilize chatbots on your website to communicate with users.

Using technology to communicate with people is a mixed bag—stuffed full of pros and cons. Chatbots on your website communicate directly with the users. Scripted questions and responses engage the user in conversation. To use chatbots on your website all you need is your own data for the chatbot to draw from. Chatbots access your data and use it by conversing with your website users. While some chatbots help in communication, some uses harm the user's experience.

The Good

Chatbots are multipurpose.

On your website, chatbots communicate with customers about supplies and inventory. Instead of a confusing website page or an email chain, the customer can pull up the chatbot on their phone or laptop and ask a question effortlessly. Chatbots also help when updating customers about order fulfillment and delivery. They answer a quick customer question right away with information and updates pulled from your company's data.

Chatbots provide a human touch to your website.

Users identify with chatbots because they employ a question and answer structure, much like human conversation. This conversational relationship makes users feel heard and feel at home. As a result, when welcomed to a website with "Hi, how can I help you?" popping up, users feel noticed and appreciated. It allows users to quickly get their questions answered without having to search around and possibly lose interest in the website.

Chatbots engage with your customers directly.

Chatbots allow users and your company to get things figured out seamlessly. Since chatbots use conversational tactics, they improve your website's user engagement. If, on a FAQ page, the user has the chance to directly speak with a representative of the company (even an automated representative), the user is pulled in. This is because users ask questions casually without searching a confusing FAQ page. Users feel they are talking with the company, engaging in real-time.

Chatbots improve the curb appeal of your website.

Highly personalized websites are becoming more respected and even expected. Websites that engage with us and respond to us are on the rise. Consequently, in this responsive culture, you want your website to present as current and technologically up-to-date. A responsive chatbot shows that your company is current with technology.

The Bad

Chatbots can be a turnoff.

Users occasionally don't like chatbots. Some people are turned off because they aren't used to technology that talks back, so communicating with an automated bot can be uncomfortable. Unfortunately, this awkwardness either leads to the user leaving the website or (hopefully) just closing out the chatbot but still staying on your site.

Chatbots are not people.

Simply put, chatbots are still bots. Even though automation often helps, it harms when dealing with emotions. Chatbots are emotionless, so they can't understand emotion or empathize with your users.

Chatbots are scripted.

With a specific number of responses that the bot can use, misunderstanding happens. A user who furiously types the same question over and over hoping for a different response exits annoyed and unanswered. This frustration comes with the use of chatbots because chatbots bridge the gap between technology and people—a difficult divide in communication.

Consensus

So, what about chatbots—do we love them or hate them? Are they a silly way to trick users into chatting with robots or are they a helpful tool for confused customers? When used with their benefits in mind, chatbots assist your company by creating a strong connection with users. They engage in human-like conversation to reach the humanity of your audience.

Want to discuss this further? Don't hesitate to reach out to us here with any questions.