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5 Most Common Chatbot Mistakes made by eCommerce Websites - and How to Avoid Them

Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and chatbots are on everyone’s lips in the eCommerce industry. These new technologies are shaking things up and changing the way we do business online so it’s no surprise that, by 2020, 80% of businesses are projected to have chatbot automation software enabled.
But, it’s not enough to just add chatbot software to your site or chosen messenger apps; you need to make sure that your chatbot does its job and does it well.
These next 5 mistakes are some of the most common ones that eCommerce business owners make when they first start working with chatbots, so take a look at how to avoid them for your own business.

Lying About Being a Bot

It may be tempting to design your bot to be as human as possible, giving them a human profile picture and name, under the assumption that customers won’t feel comfortable talking to a chatbot. However, this can
severely backfire in a variety of ways.
If your customer is expecting to speak with a human, but can clearly tell that they aren’t from the responses they’re getting, they’ll feel mislead and their expectations won’t be met.
However, if you’re upfront right out of the gate that they’re communicating with a chatbot, they’ll be able to better manage their expectations and have an easier time communicating with your program.
Be sure to include “bot” or something similar in your chatbot’s name to avoid any confusion about what your customers are actually talking to. If you design your chatbot to be approachable and helpful, customers won’t mind that they’re not talking to a human.
In fact, 34% of shoppers actually prefer to answer questions from chatbots or virtual assistants. Of course, you should also provide them with a way to contact human support if necessary.

Not Matching Your Brand’s Voice

While you shouldn’t try to hide the fact that your chatbotisn’t a real human, that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t have personality and voice that aligns with your brand. If you’re able to tailor your chatbot’s tone in responses, then customers will take notice and feel more comfortable communicating with it.
The way your chatbot looks and speaks to your customers will ultimately depend on who your customers are and what language they use, making conversations much more natural and effective.
For example, if your brand image is fun and casual and your audience is the same way, then your chatbot should speak with a more laid-back tonality. Feel free to allow it to use some slang relevant to your audience,
giving them the impression that this chatbot is unique to your online store and is truly ingrained in your product lineup.
If your chatbot is built with machine-learning, then it may even be able to pick up on how customers speak to it, becoming “smarter” the more people use it.
By catering to your customers and making them feel comfortable talking to your chatbot, you’ll see much more engagement and conversions from users that trust your brand.
This is also a great way to foster brand loyalty and customer retention; you can make your audience feel listened to by meeting them at their level, even when they’re just talking to an automated program.

Lacking a Clear Strategy

Chatbots, and eCommerce automation software as a whole, are great assets to online businesses because they can wear many different hats, from customer support agents to sales reps. But, when you’re building your chatbot or deciding on how you want your bot to be programmed, it’s vital that you establish a straightforward strategy from the beginning and outline your specific goals with this bot.
If you’re making your bot wear too many hats, it may not be able to wear one well at all.
Before getting started with your chatbot, ask yourself and your team questions like this:
  • Is this chatbot meant to boost sales by offering our customers promotions?
  • Is offering customer support and technical support the purpose of this chatbot?
  • Do we want our chatbot to help customers shop and promote cross-sells/upsells?
Rather than trying to make your bot be an expert in as many things as possible, hone in on one specific goal and make sure it gets that done perfectly.
When you try to accomplish too much with your chatbot, you’ll be spreading your team and your bot too thin, inevitably leading to inconsistency and unhelpful responses.
When customers interact with a confusing chatbot, they themselves will become confused and frustrated rather than getting the answers they need.

Not Testing Your Chatbot Enough

Before you launch your chatbot on your eCommerce website, messenger platform, or anywhere else it may live, you need to ensure that it’s
been tested thoroughly enough that it can reliably perform the way you want it to.
Without proper testing, you may be releasing a bot out into the wild that has bugs and unexpected issues that may be detrimental to the end user experience (all while representing your brand).
A malfunctioning bot will cause more problems than it solves, and will definitely serve to frustrate customers who just want a quick and easy answer.
If you’re working on building your chatbot, then consider releasing a beta version for a few select customers to use and test. Not only will this give you valuable feedback that you can use to improve your program, but you’ll also make customers feel special that were selected (making it more likely that they’ll remain loyal customers in the future).

Making Your Bot Too Pushy

So, you’ve worked hard to design, build, program and test your chatbot and you’re ready to launch it on your site or chosen messaging app.
You’re excited about its implementation and you want every customer to know that this chatbot is ready and waiting for them.
That’s all well and good, but one big mistake that many eCommerce business owners make is pushing their chatbots too hard onto customers. This typically manifests as unprompted and unsolicited messages that, more often than not, annoy customers rather than encourage them to engage.
To make matters worse, bot behavior like this may get reported by users on messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, leading to a possible ban of your bot
entirely.
To avoid this worst-case-scenario, don’t spam or push your bot on your customers; instead, let them come to your chatbot naturally on their own time. It’s understandable that you want customers to know your chatbot is available to them, but rather than having it send them random messages, design your chat bubble to be obvious on your site pages and enticing to click on for users.
A simple prompt in that area saying “Need Help?” can go a long way in leading customers to using your bot. On a messaging platform, promote your bot through its name and image. If customers want help, they’ll navigate to it at their own pace.

Wrapping Up

At the end of the day, chatbots are here to stay online and in eCommerce with no signs of growth stopping. When you consider that chatbots are projected to save businesses $8 billion in costs by 2022, it’s hard to ignore their potential.
But, it’s not hard to make a mistake in implementing these automated programs into your eCommerce business.
If you take one thing away from these common pitfalls, then remember that customers want honest convenience and fast help; anything that gets in the way of that will not end well.

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