ChatBots: The Good and the Bad

Implementing a ChatBot for your business can seem like a great idea, but like any other tool, it has its major pros and major cons.

Working in marketing or customer service can quickly become exhausting. You want to make each individual customer feel valued, heard, and understood. Your worst nightmare is leaving a customer hanging when it comes to a question or concern, but there are only so many hours in the day to deal with clients when you’re also trying to create products or services for them.

Enter ChatBots.

In the past few years, ChatBots have become quite popular. When a client logs onto your website, a small screen appears like an old-fashioned instant messenger system, asking if you need anything. It’s like greeting a customer personally, only through a robot. ChatBots can also work through text messages or Facebook Messenger.

On one hand, ChatBots seem like a great solution. Although they come with an up-front cost, they then become an employee you don’t have to pay that can solve issues for customers. They can save actual employees time and money by not having to answer questions that can be handled simply by technology. They can still be personal, since you can send specialized messages with the right type of coding. For instance, Fandango has a Facebook Messenger bot that will send movie times for theaters near the user. ChatBots can also take data from customers and file them away, creating a type of survey that you don’t need to send through e-mail.

At the same time, ChatBots can only handle a certain type of questions with today’s state of technology. More complicated issues will need to be dealt with by a human, and although the hope is that ChatBots can weed out the simpler vs. the more complicated, it may frustrate website viewers to not have their questions answered by a human immediately. It can also cause your brand to lose that human-to-human touch that can only come from a real, live Customer Service representative. Furthermore, ChatBots tend to come with a hefty fee—hiring a developer to create a bot for you will most likely cost a pretty penny, and it will need regular updates to stay in the loop with your company and actually be effective.

Are ChatBots worth investing in? It all comes down to your company’s priorities. If you’d rather spend less time handling customer concerns and more time doing your actual work, they could be a worthwhile investment. But if client interaction is the bread and butter of your business, you may be better off waiting for technology to catch up.