To remain competitive and meet the demanding needs of customers who now expect businesses to provide a round-the-clock service, companies need to implement chatbots into their strategies.
Chatbots can offer some amazing benefits, but they are an extremely new concept. This means that companies are likely to make mistakes along the way. To help you avoid some of these common pitfalls, here are 12 crucial chatbot mistakes you need to avoid:
- You haven’t developed a chatbot marketing strategy
- You didn’t test your chatbot before you set it live
- You haven’t made it clear what your bot can and can’t do
- You don’t have someone managing your chatbot
- Your chatbot features on every website page
- Your chatbot’s greeting message isn’t reassuring enough
- You haven’t adjusted your chatbot for different buyer personas
- Your chatbot is invisible
- You aren’t analysing your chatbot’s results
- Your chatbot is no different from the rest
- Your chatbot’s conversation flow is unstructured
- You haven’t got a contingency plan in place
1. You haven’t developed a chatbot marketing strategy
Every successful idea starts with a well-devised strategy. The same principle goes for your chatbot. You need to map out the ultimate goal of your chatbot and what your company hopes to achieve from using one on your website.
Your chatbot’s strategy will be the pinnacle to its success. You need to know who your chatbot will be targeting. Is it there to increase sales or solely be used as a customer support mechanism?
Once you know the answers to these questions, you can then ensure that your chatbot is built correctly. This is the first stage of implementing a successful chatbot. However, before you set it live, it’s essential than you run a set number of tests.
For more information on how to develop a promising chatbot strategy, check out our blog here.
2. You didn’t test your chatbot before you set it live
Whenever you’re developing a product, it’s vital that you run rigorous tests before you make it available to your customers. It’s more than likely that bugs and other unexpected issues will arise which will need to be detected and ironed out sooner rather than later.
According to statistics, 73% of people wouldn’t use a chatbot again if the experience they encountered was negative. These statistics are pretty powerful and prove that there is a massive need to test your chatbot extensively before you make it live.
So what should you test? Consider areas such as:
- Positive and negative conversation flows.
- Intent matching between the user and your bot.
- The navigation of your bot.
For more information on how to test your bot, check out this blog from Medium.
3. You haven’t made it clear what your bot can and can’t do
You should outline the capabilities of your bot as soon as the user clicks onto it. This sets clear expectations and reduces the chance of the user becoming frustrated with your bot further down the line.
A vague description of what your bot can and can’t do could make the user feel distrustful. Therefore, always list the bot’s functionality straight away to make the customer feel comfortable and prompt them to engage.
This ties into point six and the fact that your greeting message may not be reassuring enough. Tone of voice is crucial and can be the make-or-break of the success of a chatbot. (Don’t worry - we’ll discuss how you can nail your chatbot’s tone of voice later on in this blog.)
4. You don’t have a person managing your bot
Never leave your customers hanging. This can have catastrophic consequences on your brand's reputation. Statistics show that 95% of people will usually tell at least one other person about a bad customer experience with a company.
Word of mouth is extremely powerful. If people complain about a brand to someone else then they will usually put the other person off using this brand in the future. It’s a vicious cycle which companies don’t want to find themselves in.
Therefore, to avoid the occurrences where your bot may not respond, you should always have at least one member of staff regularly monitoring your chatbot.
Always remember, the key role of a bot is to make the customer service experience as blissful as possible for your customers. We’ve written a blog which explains some impressive ways a chatbot can enhance your customer service. Check it out here.
5. Your chatbot features on every website page
Your chatbot shouldn’t feature on every page on your website. This can be seen as intrusive and slightly irritating. Inbound marketing is all about creating valuable experiences which have a positive impact on people. Being intrusive and annoying is the complete opposite.
There are certain pages on your website which are believed to be the most appropriate for a chatbot to feature on. These include:
- High-intent pages (Positive)
- High-intent pages (Negative)
- High-traffic pages
- Blog pages
In order to be able to understand the difference between the above, you’ll need to know how your website’s performing. Here are a few tips from HubSpot explaining how to analyse performance for website pages and blog posts.
6. Your chatbot’s greeting message isn’t reassuring enough
This ties in closely with point three and outlining the capabilities of your bot. Although it’s important to explain what the bot can and can’t do, the tone of voice that your bot talks in is also something which you need to think about carefully.
Your greeting message is the perfect opportunity to create a strong first impression with the user. Your bot needs to speak with authority but not sound too serious. Be friendly but don’t smother your customers. As you can see, there’s a lot to take into consideration.
Although the task of getting your chatbot’s tone of voice sounds quite daunting, there are plenty of companies which are getting it right. Here are nine examples of big brands which have nailed their chatbots.
7. You haven’t adjusted your chatbot for different buyer personas
Your buyer personas are your holy grail. You should be referring to them whenever you’re creating any piece of marketing content. If you haven’t adjusted your chatbot so that it can communicate with all of your buyer personas, it’s more than likely that issues will start to arise.
A buyer persona is there to help a business understand and empathise with their customers so that they can do a better job of acquiring and serving them. Your chatbot is there to make sure that this empathy is actually happening.
By creating a range of buyer personas for your business, you’ve got a greater chance of your chatbot being a success. Check out our blog here to find out more about buyer personas and how they can boost your conversions.
8. Your chatbot is invisible
You should aim to make your bot visible to as many people as possible. This can be done by listing your bot in a chatbot directory for absolutely free. By doing so, you will be able to reach out to more people.
In many cases, people don’t shout about their chatbot enough. Channels such as social media and your newsletter are the perfect way to make your customers are aware that you have a chatbot which is there to assist them 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Need some guidance on where to find out more about chatbot directories? Why not check out this really helpful article?
9. You aren’t analysing your chatbot’s results
If you don’t analyse your chatbot’s results, you’ll never know which areas of it need to be improved. However, analysing the results of a conversation can be a lot more difficult than other types of marketing such as emails and landing pages.
A chatbot session usually includes three steps:
- The customer states their desired result.
- The chatbot then absorbs the data and (hopefully) generates an appropriate response.
- The conversation is completed and the customer leaves your website happy.
Therefore, the metrics which you could consider looking at are the time it takes for the chatbot to respond to the desired result, or how many conversations were positively competed over a certain period of time.
This blog from Search Customer Experience discusses four key chatbot metrics to always to keep an eye on.
10. Your chatbot is no different from the rest
Chatbots are the same as any kind of new concept. Large amounts of companies have quickly jumped on-board with the idea and now it’s extremely difficult to offer something different from everybody else.
In most cases, your chatbot is destined to fail if you can’t establish a unique selling point. You will struggle to get it to rank in the search engines if it’s really generic and doesn’t stand out from the busy crowd.
Factors, such as a unique name, unique icon and detailed description, could be the difference between your chatbot killing the game and not being able to take off.
11. Your chatbot’s conversation flow is too unstructured
It’s absolutely crucial that you nail the mechanisms of your chatbot in order to make sure it’s well-structured and every conversation flows correctly. Each response needs to be relevant and offer some kind of value to the user.
To get this right, you need to have an understanding of the following:
- Pattern matchers.
- Text classifications.
- Natural language processing.
- Artificial neural networks.
These different elements aren’t straight forward. They’re pretty technical and require some level of understanding about computer science. We’ve written a blog which discusses the back-end of chatbots and how all the technical stuff really works.
12. You haven’t got a contingency plan in place
The wants and needs of customers are always going to change. One minute someone may be happy with the service your chatbot offers, but two years down the line, they may expect something completely different.
You need to ensure that you’re constantly adapting and devising new ideas so that you can be sure to have a plan when the need for change becomes apparent. This can only be done if you remain proactive by undertaking constant analysis and research.
Here are five communication patterns which you need to be aware of for the remainder of the year and moving into 2020.
Master the art of conversational marketing with our brand new playbook
From chatbot performance analysis to buyer persona consideration, there’s a lot to take into account when it comes to ensuring your chatbot is a success. However, it’s important not to forget about elements such as conversational design and keeping up to date with best practices.
In order to help you become an expert in HubSpot conversations, we’ve put together a playbook which covers everything you need to know about the tool. Download your free copy now using the link below.