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Here’s the problem with chatbots…

The current state of chatbots is making a bad first impression

Chatbots are killing customer service

Live chat has been a revolution for websites.

Websites have transformed from being static and one-way, into communication tools for businesses. Live chat has literally added life to websites all over the world.

We went from this…

Pinocchio is merely a marionette

To this…

Pinocchio is a real boy now!

Live chat enables businesses to be personal

With live chat you can now bring genuine personality to your site, which has helped countless companies both convert more visitors and keep them happy.

At GoSquared we’ve always worked hard to embrace new technologies. Our early adoption of cloud technology (we moved to Amazon Web Services back in 2009) and new programming platforms (we adopted NodeJS early on, among other technologies) has enabled us to build really powerful and exciting new features for our customers with a surprisingly small team.

Before we embrace any new technology or build a new feature, though, we don’t just consider how the experience will be for our customers; we consider how the experience will be for their customers too. As anyone who builds software will know – you have to make hundreds of decisions and judgements everyday, so we have a saying internally: what’s good for our customer’s customers is usually good for our customers.

A great example of this is the GoSquared JavaScript Snippet – the code you use to get GoSquared up and running on your site. The GoSquared Snippet is one of the smallest JavaScript tags in the industry. It means our customers can take all the benefits of GoSquared without slowing down their website and disrupting their customers’ site experience.

The buzz around chatbots

Chatbots have been a hot topic for at least a year now.

We’re asked if we offer chatbot functionality on a regular basis by potential customers.

We firmly believe there’s huge opportunity in the space.

However, we keep coming back to one question. Can chatbots offer a better user experience today than the current alternative?

From a support perspective, cast your mind back to the last time you had to call your bank, or energy company, or phone provider and you’re met with this:

Like me, you’ve probably found yourself in the situation, where the problem you’re looking to resolve doesn’t match up with any of the 10 numbers on your keypad.

Just like when we make a phone call to a business, when we click a live chat widget our natural expectation is that you will talk to someone. You’re looking for a shortcut to get through all the clutter. But what you’re given is a maze.

With chatbots, you’re looking for a shortcut to get through all the clutter. But what you’re given is a maze.

What kind of first impression do you want to make?

If you use a chatbot as a support tool, that suggests support documentation based on what a visitor enters into the chat widget; is that a better alternative than a user just searching your support docs or knowledge base? The frustration is often caused by the feeling of being tricked – you think you’re starting a conversation, but you’re being greeted with automated responses.

From a sales perspective, is making your site’s visitor have a multi-step conversation with a bot to book a meeting with you a better experience than just having them fill in a form? Importantly, let’s not forget that a form on your website is most likely prepopulated with all their contact details as they start to type.

In either scenario, what does this experience make your site’s user think or feel about your business? Does it make them feel that your brand is on the cutting edge and embracing the latest technology? Or does it make them feel you’re prioritising efficiency over good customer service?

The future of chatbots is brighter

No-one can argue with the growing hype around chatbots. Combined with machine learning and AI, the potential for increased automation in customer service and sales chatbots is massive. But we’re not there yet.

While we wait (with baited breath) for that potential to be realised, we’re continuing to focus on giving our customers the most intelligent and effective tools today to help convert more of their site’s visitors to customers – and that involves humans.

Written by
Russell is a sales engineer at GoSquared, focused on helping new customers get up and running with the GoSquared platform.

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