Should I Add a Chatbot to My Website?

Chatbots are a type of artificial intelligence known as Conversational Agents or Dialog Systems that greet and assist prospects and customers. For example, when a website visitor has a question or wants to place an order, the chatbot rises to the occasion by initiating contact, providing information, and walking the customer through the transaction.

From Amtrak to CapitalOne, it seems everyone is utilizing chatbots on their websites. While these tools have the potential to save businesses time and money, they do come with drawbacks.  

First, let’s look at the pros.

  1. Customers are not intimidated by them. Even though people know they are not interacting with a real human being, they are generally comfortable engaging with a chatbot. This is hugely convenient for business owners because it saves them from having to stay connected 24/7, which is not humanly possible anyway. By utilizing a bot to automatically interface with customers, businesses are increasing their customer base and business owners are free to focus on other strategic and operational tasks.
  2. They never expect a paycheck or call in sick. Suffice to say, chatbots give businesses the opportunity to avoid issues that naturally occur with flesh and blood virtual assistants. When you have artificial intelligence working for you, they are there 24/7 without complaint. The money you are saving by using a chatbot can be redirected to other areas of the business or used to hire someone to handle matters that cannot be automated.
  3. Enjoy more free time. It goes without saying that chatbots and other automated tools give business owners more time to do what they love such as creating new products, building relationships, and of course… maybe even taking a little more time off!

Now, let’s examine the cons.

  1. Inability to multitask. Chatbots can only be programmed to handle one or two tasks successfully, so you may need to incorporate more than one bot depending on the type of business you have and the services you offer.
  2. Limited vocabulary. Although some chatbots are capable of learning, their core knowledge is scripted. Communication deficiencies can cause a chatbot to misunderstand a customer’s request. This can be frustrating for people and they may decide to go elsewhere if they cannot speak with a human.    
  3. Professionals are still necessary. Some areas of a business cannot be automated, so there will be times when you or an employee must step in to assist a customer. On the flipside, chatbots need to be updated periodically, so you will need the services of a professional to get yours up to speed. If you decide to purchase or upgrade to a more complex chatbot, be prepared to shell out a bit more money.  

Chatbots have come a long way since the 1990s and are constantly being improved upon. Companies such as Microsoft, Facebook, Google, and Slack are heavily invested in AI tech, and especially chatbots, so now is the time to learn more about how one can help your business grow.  

To get your feet wet, these are the two types of chatbots businesses are using today:

  1. Simple (Scripted) – These chatbots provide pre-programmed responses to questions. While they cannot deviate from their programming, they can achieve simple tasks such as completing a purchase.  
  2. Intelligent – This variety of chatbot is more complex and can assist customers by providing flexible answers that are more tailored to their questions. Another thing that makes these virtual assistants special is because they can learn, which gives them the ability to answer future questions with greater accuracy. 

If you’ve been thinking about adding a chatbot to your business’ website, Higgins Marketing Group can help. Contact us for a pressure-free chat about the initial steppingstones needed to grow your business. Not sure yet, check out our work and let us know when you’re ready.