5 Common Chatbot Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs

Smart bots are commonly used to conduct a variety of tasks in modern marketing, and their full potential is just being explored. With experimentation come mistakes, and at the moment there are numerous examples of campaigns that failed due to easily preventable miscalculations or omissions. While it’s understandable that early adopters might sometimes struggle to get the full value from their chat bot implementations, very often a simple solution is within reach.

To help marketers shorten the adaptation period and profit from their investment in conversational marketing, we listed some commonly encountered mistakes related to the use of smart chat bots.

Mistake #1 – Failure to properly set objectives

A chat bot requires clear instructions in order to deliver strong results and should always be deployed in a carefully defined role. Adding a chat bot just for the sake of having it makes no sense, especially considering how versatile and multifunctional this technology is. The process of setting up a chat bot begins with some strategic decisions that should guide the programming process, including a set of measurable goals. Having clear objectives is the precondition for aligning certain responses with the preferred outcomes, which is at the core of conversational marketing. Defining a clear role for the bot also allows for objective evaluation of the results, which mean nothing in a vacuum.

Mistake #2 – Not giving bot a clear personality

Each bot should be distinctive and use a communication style that’s instantly recognisable and closely associated with the basic brand identity. For example, a bot could use slang-based terminology and occasionally engage in light-hearted joking, or could communicate in a more reserved manner. Consistency is very important, as a chat bot is expected to act as an extension of the brand and its virtual voice. People who interact with the software multiple times will expect some continuity from one session to another. That’s why designing a likeable and memorable personality for the bot should be high on the priority list of any organisation looking to adopt chat bots.

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“Personality creates a richer understanding of the bot’s end goal, and how it will communicate through choice of language and tone. Whether you like it or not, people will still assign a personality to your bot if one hasn’t been clearly designed.” Explained Ryan Dearlove, a chatbot developer at Chit Chat Agency.

Mistake #3 – Relying only on text to communicate

Written communication is the first thing that comes to mind when we think about chatting, but there is no reason to limit the conversation to a purely textual exchange. Using visual elements within the flow of the conversation is a good way to engage the user and increase the likelihood of getting a response. Clickable links, call-to-action buttons, and other interactive elements should be a part of the mix as well, especially if the goal of the campaign is to boost sales. Chat is a very dynamic medium that allows for a lot of creativity, and making a dull conversational campaign is a cardinal sin.

Mistake #4 – Bad message formatting

Understanding the specific nature of chat communication is essential for programming your bots the right way. They need to use the language and style that is well suited for informal exchanges that people normally associate chat services with. Sending messages that are too long or consist of formal sentences with no separation are poorly suited for this mode of communication and may turn some users away. The same is true for answers that arrive literally the same moment an inquiry is sent – leaving a period of a few seconds will make the interaction more natural. Mistakes of this kind are easy to fix once you notice them, so the key is to get as much feedback as possible.

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Mistake #5 – Pretending to be a real person

Perhaps the worst thing you can do when using chatbots is failing to acknowledge that the conversations are automated. Chat bots can be very convincing and almost pass as humans, but there is simply no reason to mislead people into thinking they are communicating with an actual employee. Once the ruse is discovered, users might feel betrayed and develop a negative relationship towards a brand that attempted this kind of trickery. On the other hand, users that are aware they are chatting with an AI might come out impressed by its linguistic capacity and reasoning. Transparency is actually helping this technology to be truly appreciated, and may increase its effectiveness.

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