It’s been forever since the first chatbot saw the light in 1966, changing digital communication once and for all.
More and more businesses bet on chatbots to design conversational experiences for their consumers. Back in 2018, there were 300,000+ chatbots on Facebook alone! And experts predict that the global chatbot market size will reach $1,25 billion by 2025.
The benefits of chatbots for business are many: better engagement between a brand and consumers, instant response, 24×7 availability — all this provides personalized service to customers and serves as an extra sales channel for brands.
Above all those benefits, chatbot scalability stays:
According to the data from Juniper Research, chatbot technology helps reduce business costs by up to $8 billion, and it will save businesses 2,5 billion customer service hours by 2023. Chatbot growth has been phenomenal in the last few years, with 87% of consumers reporting neutral to positive experiences interacting with this tech.
Despite all the benefits and promising statistics, myths and prejudices about chatbot technology are still alive in the business world. It’s time to debunk them once and for all, don’t you agree?
In this post, you will find seven myths about chatbots, with argumentative messages on why these preconceptions are not what they seem to be.
Let’s dive in!
#1: Chatbots will replace people
Yes, the first and foremost benefit of chatbots is that they can work round-the-clock and provide instant responses to consumers even outside operation hours, therefore satisfying those who don’t want to wait.
Plus, a business doesn’t have to hire dozens of agents to answer customer queries 24/7. One chatbot can address hundreds of consumers simultaneously; so, people wouldn’t wait in line for an answer. By automating this process, brands save cost and time.
An easy call seems to fire all the agents and let chatbots do all the job, right?
And second, the features of most ready-made platforms for creating chatbots still can’t make this technology super intellectual and close to human beings. Today’s AI is still unable to lead a consumer through the whole sales funnel template, not to mention that only large companies can afford the development of such systems.
So, don’t hurry up to replace your support agents with chatbots. Let AI deal with common queries where canned responses and minimal personalization are enough for a positive user experience. And your agents can instead focus on more individual cases and strategic activities.
#2: Chatbots go for a whole sales funnel
Some still consider chatbots a magic button: Just push it — and sales will start going through the roof. But the reality is that the more complex product we have, the more factors will influence its promotion and sales, and the more complicated this system will be.
Yes, a chatbot can serve as the link between the Interest and Desire stages of the AIDA model.
If selling an ABC product to an audience who’s already interested in it, a few steps can be enough:
- Invite them to a messenger.
- Answer several questions with a chatbot.
- Share a payment link.
But speaking of complex work with more complicated products, chatbots won’t be enough to move a consumer to action. The process will require several tools, platforms, services, and people; plus, you’ll need to test regularly, supplement, and correct every stage to boost conversion.
The automatization of some stages in the sales funnel is worth your efforts by all means, as it will save your time and budget. But it’s not reasonable to expect that chatbots can automate everything so much that you won’t have to do anything else.
It’s more reasonable to suggest that chatbots will help improve engagement, reduce the number of missed clients, enhance customer experience, and gain a competitive advantage.
Consider your chatbot a permanent participant in the process rather than the only instrument your business needs to hit the market.
#3: A few standard messages are enough
Here goes one of the most common misconceptions about chatbots for business:
Three to five canned messages are enough for a consumer to rid the mind of doubt and give you money.
Sure thing, a business doesn’t have to craft cumbersome systems or complex scripts for a chatbot, especially if it’s their first automatization attempt. The bare fact that the audience from social networks comes to a messenger for answers will help improve lead generation.
But rather than sit and hope that a few standard chatbot messages will bring you qualitative leads, it would help focus on customer segmentation by interests and needs.
With this information ready at hand, you can prescribe a few different chatbot scenarios for different audience segments, therefore offering a personalized solution for each.
Thus, you can segment the audience by the following attributes:
- Product preference (looks for a green TV but ignores refrigerators; wants to study web design, not copywriting; needs a divorce, not a criminal lawyer)
- Readiness to buy (looks around and chooses; ready to buy right now; potentially interested but not sure if he needs it)
- Motivation (out of boredom, it’s trendy, an urgent need, as a gift)
These attributes may be different for each specific business, and you can (and should) combine them for a more accurate understanding of consumers’ motivation and case. Your chatbot’s messages and calls to action to each audience segment will depend on that.
#4: With chatbots, you don’t need email marketing
Sometimes, marketers oppose chatbots to email marketing, giving arguments like, “people don’t check their inboxes and don’t open all the emails there, but they read all the direct messages on social media.”
Sounds like it makes sense, but there’s a small catch:
Unread messages on social media annoy people more than unread emails because they check inboxes less often. So they might open a message to get rid of that red flag distracting them from scrolling a news feed, but it doesn’t mean they’ll read it.
Besides, given that social media networks are more private than email, marketers need to be doubly careful and monitor user reaction to messages, therefore adjusting the frequency of interaction with their target audience.
As for the opposition of chatbots to email marketing, these two channels do not contradict but complement each other:
- First, you let a user choose a communication channel with our brand. If they prefer messengers — okay, but there are also chances they’ll choose email.
- Second, the features of messenger platforms aren’t as developed as that of email platforms, which doesn’t allow marketers to automate all processes.
- Third, both a chatbot and an email can play their role in the sales process: while email is perfect for transactional messengers, chatbots are for fast communication when a user wants to get feedback right here and now.
#5: Chatbots ensure lead generation
Another popular myth about chatbots in messengers is that it’s enough to create and launch one for your business so it would start generating leads.
Sure thing, it doesn’t work this way.
A chatbot won’t crawl the internet searching for people who want to buy your product. To make it work and bring results, marketers first need to attract targets to messengers, using standard lead-generation tools.
If you can’t do it yourself, you can always ask for help from experts who will assist you in bringing in customers from the internet.
It may be via PPC or targeted ads, CRM, email, all the benefits of SEO for small businesses, corresponding widgets on your website, or even going offline and inviting people with QR-codes.
#6: Chatbots don’t need “Unsubscribe” buttons
When training their chatbots to send promos, news, or special offers in messengers, some specialists “forget” about an unsubscribe button. Two reasons:
- They don’t know about this feature.
- They are afraid of losing subscribers.
But it stands to reason that retaining your followers like that won’t lead to any positive results.
Users unwilling to receive more messages from you will simply ban your account, which is not that great for business reputation. So your info chatbot should always provide an opportunity to unsubscribe.
Each messenger platform implements unsubscribe methods differently: It can be through a link, a button, or a keyword.
#7: Chatbots don’t work
This myth comes from chatbot tech’s disadvantages. Yes, despite their growth and assisting businesses to run 24/7 with no human error, chatbots still have challenges and are not as perfect as we expect them to be.
A considerable challenge for chatbot customization is the limits of NLP (Natural Language Processing):
While a chatbot can understand words and phrases, it still can’t analyze their every possible meaning. So when a person writes to a chatbot using words that can have multiple meanings, irrelevant answers may come, driving some to conclude that chatbots don’t work.
Plus, as already mentioned, most consumers still prefer human assistance. In so doing, users make business owners and marketers wonder if it’s worth spending resources on chatbot technology.
But this myth is easy to debunk if you use chatbots right and don’t expect them to do all the lead generation and customer service for you.
For that, make your chatbot:
- Work with followers and customers only
- Allow users to unsubscribe
- Segment the audience and send the relevant content to each group
- Go easy on the number and frequency of messages it sends
Also, try not to give chatbots more responsibility than they can handle. And train your customer agents to take up the communication in messengers upon a user’s request.
The growth of chatbot technology is hard to deny, given all its benefits for businesses to save cost but enhance customer experience.
Yes, chatbots still have some challenges and disadvantages, thereby raising myths, prejudices, and doubts in those new to this technology. But with a fully managed chatbot platform at hand, you’ll build an engaging instrument to automate chat communication and grow your business with a personalized approach to every customer.