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Ecommerce Blog - Fortune3

Should You Use a Chatbot?


Fortune3-chat-bots-and-personal-marketing-imageHave you heard of, or do you use “chatbots?” Have you ever interacted with one?

It’s another way of automating interactions with customers. A simple messenger app responds to users and questions, taking care of them so you don’t have to.

While convenient for your business, should you use them or not?

Take a look at some of the considerations:

1. One of Your Key Competitive Advantages Versus Big Online Retailers Is…

Your ability to deliver personal customer service. All kinds of machines exist these days. Call your cable TV or satellite company, and you get a computer voice.

Call a company that doesn’t rely on personalized service, and you’ll get a voicemail.

What if you could call and talk to someone who can make a yes-or-no judgment on your question right then and there. You don’t have to wait 15-20 minutes to get through to the right person.

You don’t have to talk to a computer who misunderstands.

This is the first reason I don’t think chat bots are a good idea for small e-commerce companies.

2. Limited Understanding

I don’t know the exact comprehension level of chat bots. But I do know this: they can’t understand what a human does.

Your customers aren’t going to like being dropped or kicked by the wayside because a computer can’t get what they’re saying.

A human can ask clarifying questions and get understanding without causing much inconvenience.

3. Chat Bots Don’t Answer Personal Questions

Let’s say you have a big customer that really wants to get to know you. Instead of you talking, it’s your chat bot.

They ask your chat bot a personal question. They get a bizarre answer, or none at all.

Opportunity wasted!

One of the primary benefits of internet marketing is to deliver a personalized experience. Chat bots suck the life out of that.

I’m not sure it’s a good idea to use anything that makes your customers feel less like people and more like…just customers.

4. Where Chat Bots Might Work Well…

All this said, I don’t think chat bots are completely useless. The one area where they might work well is during off-peak hours where you can’t be available.

For example, during the night at 3 AM.

You could hire your own US-based reps to cover that time. It’s also an area where foreign labor, like hiring people with good English from the Philippines could be an option.

It’s more your judgment call here.

So…that’s my opinion on chat bots. What impact do you think they would make on your business?

Posted in Ecommerce Essentials & Tips, Fortune3 News & Releases, Online Marketing Strategies