Chatbots have gained popularity among consumers for the right reasons. They are easy to use, provide quicker resolution, and have proven to drive customer engagement like never before. According to Gartner, by 2020, around 85% of our interactions will be handled by bots instead of humans. While chatbots can be a fantastic addition to achieve your strategic goals, it is easy to make mistakes when undertaking such an important implementation project. In the age of the internet and social media, a bad user experience can cost businesses millions. In this post, let's look at some of the most common chatbot mistakes. 10 (+ 1 bonus)mistakes to avoid when building a chatbot. Lack of a strategic goal for your chatbotThe chatbot doesn’t provide the right informationThe chatbot gives too much informationChoose the right type of ChatbotThe chatbot lacks personalityThe chatbot doesn’t allow an easy exit optionThe chatbot is pushyIssue escalation to a Human-agent is not optimalLack of extensive bot testing before launchingNot enough continuous improvementsBonus: Choose the right platform and team for Chatbot implementation Lack of a strategic goal for your chatbot. First things first, do you know why your business needs a chatbot? Understanding why and how your virtual agent will benefit your business and your customers is the number one step. When deciding the goal of the project, ensure every stakeholder is involved in the process. Is a chatbot supporting your customer service teams? Is it driving sales through conversational marketing? Or is it helping online retailers support their customers’ buying experience? Where will this chatbot be? A landing page or an FAQ page As your team analyzes and understands the current process, the goal must be to find gaps. Without a clear understanding of deficiencies in your business activities, a chatbot cannot serve its true purpose. Ensure that you know the whys, whats, and hows of the project and have the right metrics to decide the success of your implementation. The chatbot doesn’t provide the right information. While implementing a chatbot, it is of utmost importance to know what your customers are looking for. One of the key steps in designing a chatbot is to define and understand your business’s frequently asked questions (FAQ). With a definitive and comprehensive list of FAQs to start with, it is easier to visualize the flow of the chatbot Once you know the structure of your chatbot, do not forget to ensure that your chatbot provides accurate information every time. Everyone appreciates transparency. As your business scales, it can seem difficult to keep track of the data. But inaccurate information can cost you dearly. Some companies also make the mistake of always redirecting their visitors to another faq page instead of giving some real information. This is also a common chatbot fail. Make sure your chatbots disseminate reliable information to your customers to improve customer satisfaction. The chatbot gives too much information. A conversation is a two-way dialogue, and the same applies to a chatbot. Engaging in conversation with tonnes of information is a bad user experience. Chatbots are designed to speed up seeking help, make sure that the user’s intent is deciphered and delivered while keeping the interest alive. It is always a good idea to be mindful of the overall length of your chatbot messages and the levels of the “decision tree.” A complex conversation flow can result in higher drop-off rates and disengaged users. While the chatbots must slowly narrow each conversation until the visitor is happy with the answer, the goal must be to engage the chatbot user with crisp and precise information. Choose the right type of Chatbot. Choosing the right type of chatbot is as important as the information it provides. Chatbots can broadly be divided into a Decision Tree type chatbot or a Natural Language Processing (NLP) type chatbot. While a decision tree uses a series of predefined rules to drive visitor conversation, an NLP chatbot makes sense of pattern interpretation rather than fixed buttons and a flow. While some businesses might find a pure Rule-based chatbot most helpful, some companies prefer to give their chatbot users the liberty to search questions using free text messaging. While each has its own benefits, a hybrid approach is a fan favorite. Ensure that you understand the intricacies of each type of chatbot and choose what works best for your business and its specific use case. The chatbot lacks personality. To ensure that your chatbots are more than just a “machine”, do not forget to add a personality to it and humanize the chatbot experience for your user To do so, the first step is to understand the intent of the chatbot. How is it making your customer’s lives easier? The next step is to understand the persona of your target audience. Next up is the tone. Is your chatbot chatty or is it matter-of-fact? Adding emojis or adding an element of empathy can also enhance customer satisfaction by a great deal. When trying to mimic a real person, a chatbot can take your customer experience to the next level. But do not fall into the trap of making it seem “too human”. Learn more about ways to humanize your chatbot to your advantage. The chatbot doesn’t allow an easy exit option. One of the biggest blunders companies can make is not allowing easy exit for a chatbot use. While it is essential to keep users engaged with your content and conversation, not allowing a way out can make them frustrated quickl This also can lead them to not trying your chatbot again or dropping off without reaching the very end. The key is to maintain the balance between offering a step to go further while also a step to end the chat if necessary. An optimal toggle to go back and forth has also proven to keep customers engaged in case they chose the wrong flow or if they want to go back and look for more information. The chatbot is pushy. While chatbots must strive for higher customer engagement and user retention, there must be a conscious effort to not try too hard to collect data or to over-sell a product or service. Overdone promotions, lack of the unsubscribe command, and information overload can turn off customers and make them feel “insecure” Another way customers can be tipped over the edge is by engaging with spammy chatbots. When done right, people can truly enjoy a chatbot as they play a vital role in moving people through your sales cycle or service with pointed advice. Persistent bots often ruin customer experience so keep in mind to avoid sending unsolicited messages to your users and let them go when they want to. If you’re looking for inspiration, check out our blog on 8 Chatbot Ideas to Grow Your Online Business in 2021. Issue escalation to a Human-agent is not optimal. One of the biggest goals of the chatbot is to deflect tickets and reduce human intervention. But achieving this by removing access to human agents altogether, is a recipe for disaster It is true that today’s chatbots can truly hold a human-like conversation and impersonate a human using artificial intelligence and machine learning. But sometimes all a chatbot visitor wants is to have real-time human interaction. While designing your bot, try to include the human handover functionality at the right places with complete visibility to both agents and chatbot users. Being cognizant of the right time to include that can help your agents de-escalate issues rather quickly. Lack of extensive bot testing before launching. User testing is a crucial part of a successful chatbot launch. Often overlooked, testing is as important as the design and development of a chatbot. The more you test before the launch, the more likely will it perform well Ensure you have a team of willing users and stakeholders to comprehensively and rigorously test the chatbot and to provide feedback before Go-Live. This feedback is essential to make the necessary changes and to fine-tune the chatbot before you make it available to your real-life users. Not enough continuous improvements. The success of a chatbot is not determined just by a successful launch. While testing is an invaluable step, some things will be encountered and learned only after some conversations with real-life customers. Chatbot updates and improvement is a continuous process and deserves regular tweaking for it to reach its optimal potential. Ensure that your stakeholders are tracking the right Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), analyzing chat transcripts, collecting surveys and user feedback, and making the right alterations to understand the visitors' needs better. Another important aspect of continuous improvement is the regular “training” of your chatbots. The more your artificial intelligence-backed chatbot engages (“gets trained”) in real conversations, the more accurate results it will provide to your customers. Bonus: Choose the right platform and team for Chatbot implementation. So you’ve decided to add a virtual assistant to your team. Now the question is whether to develop a chatbot from scratch or to use powerful software like HappyFox Chatbots, to do the heavy lifting for you without any compromise on the quality of the experience. With a trusted partner, you’d be surprised how much you can improve your customer interaction by leveraging chatbots. When done right, automation of customer support using conversational AI can prove to be a competitive advantage for your company. Speak to one of our agents today to see how HappyFox can help you fundamentally change the nature of your business-customer interaction.