If you think a chatbot is not a popular communication channel for businesses and customers alike, think again.

According to research, using chatbots as a brand communication channel has skyrocketed by a whopping 92% since 2019. This includes chatbots that are active on WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, or standalone ones that can be integrated within your website.

Furthermore, Gartner predicts that around 15% of global interactions will be handled by artificial intelligence, which includes chatbots.

Clearly, chatbot adoption is gaining momentum, and brands that fail to capitalize on this trend will find themselves behind the pack.

In this blog, we will look at some useful and engaging material as well as expert-approved chatbot best practices and mistakes to avoid, to take your business to the next level and create a successful chatbot that meets customer expectations. Let’s get straight to it.

Table of contents

Top-5 Benefits of Using a Chatbot for Your Business

To begin with, it is critical to understand why a chatbot can be instrumental in driving scalable and sustainable growth. Here are the top-5 benefits of using a chatbot:

24x7x365 Availability

A chatbot can provide 24×7 assistance to your website visitors. You do not need to redirect users to get their queries answered.

What’s more, the ‘virtual live agent’ does not tire, take coffee breaks/sick leaves, or get personal bias get in the way of effective service–a win-win for all. 

Instant Query Resolution and Quick Replies

A chatbot can offer instant and immediate support to the customer-related questions, as Swelly’s chatbot demonstrates below:

Swelly Bot from Bot Society

They can also kick-start the conversation on the right note with a warm and friendly welcome message or a customized chatbot greeting.

Plus, customers don’t have to wait for the agent to get back to them with effective possible solutions–a fact that sits well with 68% of consumers as per data:

Finally, chatbots can collect information as well as feedback in real-time and set up an effective feedback mechanism in place.

Effective Problem-Solving

The chatbot can be trained to answer basic, FAQ-type questions that customers face on a routine basis using natural language processing, machine learning, etc.

Chatbots can also guide users and more and more customers with useful product demos and multi-task without driving any errors that humans may be more prone to making.

This can shoot up the customer engagement rates–with data claiming that better chatbot experiences with more engaged audiences can generate response rates as high as 80-90%.

Moreover, the chatbot can be embedded with a comprehensive knowledge base to answer some of the most ‘hot’ topics that users may have as HubBot showcases below:

HubBot from Stream Creative

Enhanced Resource Optimization and Lowered Costs

The chatbot can literally take over the monotonous routine work that human agents find themselves burdened with.

According to a study by Comm100, a chatbot can handle 68.9% of chats from start to finish on an average. This ‘free time’ allows the agent to look after disgruntled customers and engage in creative problem-solving.

The result? Your live agents end up feeling better about the job due to greater job satisfaction, resulting in happier employees and the happiest customers! Furthermore, as per IBM, the chatbot can save businesses as much as 30% on customer support costs. Pretty impressive, right?

Improved Customer Service and Increased Personalization

As a result of all the points mentioned above, your customer service will improve due to increased personalization and efficiency.

How?

Your customers win by leveraging speedy, customized, and impactful customer service. Agents win as the chatbot provides a helping in tedious tasks.

Your brand wins as the resulting customer experience is consistent, seamless, and customer-centric from start to finish. In fact, research claims that around 87.2% of consumers have reported neutral or positive experiences with a chatbot.

The Takeaway

The chatbot can help the business save money as you can reach out to a large cesspool of users, automate repetitive tasks, assist in engaging users, and provide high-quality service–sustainably, economically, and at scale. 

Now that we have a good understanding of the benefits that a chatbot can extend, let’s look at the top-8 mistakes to avoid when you’re using a chatbot for your business.

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8 Mistakes to Avoid While Using a Chatbot for Your Business

Out of mind, out of sight approach

Setting up a chatbot and forgetting all about it will not fly as a strategy.

For example, at times, the chatbot may constantly ping customers if a human agent is not overseeing and monitoring its activities–a big mistake.

Even though the chatbot is perfectly capable of handling the basic tasks, you need constant supervision by a human agent for it to work effectively.

Creating a Chatbot Out Of Thin Air

All things said and done, your chatbot should serve a particular purpose, goal, or strategy.

You don’t need to follow the herd and integrate a chatbot if it is not able to answer a particular pain point or making a strong business use case. So think long and hard about why you need a chatbot in the first place and make sure to keep your target audience in mind at all times.

Here’s an excellent example of how you can create an in-depth profile for your chatbot, keeping your ideal user in mind:

From Userlike

Lack of Character and Personality 

For the third of the best chatbot practices, gone are the days when robot-sounding, rule-based chatbots that spoke with one-word answers were ‘good enough for customers.

The chatbot personality plays a big role in driving user engagement. In fact, an under-developed chatbot personality, such as the one shown below, can lend a weak brand image and dampen the brand’s values:

Present users want to actively interact with a conversational chatbot that can demonstrate equal parts personality and character, as shown below so pay attention to the little details:

From Ubisend

Considering that you want the chatbot to mimic real human interactions, building a chatbot that sounds (and acts) humane and personal is key. However, err on the side of caution and ensure that the value your chatbot provides does not get lost in all the humor it tries to demonstrate.

Forgetting to Test or Update

You cannot possibly create a chatbot in a day. Successful chatbot development takes more effort.

As is with any technology, the chatbot, too, requires constant experimentation and A/B testing to understand what’s working and what’s not.

Plus, you need to make constant improvements based on the testing results to ensure that the chatbot is helpful, convenient to use, and is truly a value-driven addition to the customer’s buying journey with the brand.

So keep experimenting with the script, buttons, links, images, etc., to create a chatbot that works. 

Constantly Driving Spammy and Multiple Short Messages

Customers dislike irrelevant messages more than anything else when conversing with a chatbot. Look at the following example below for instance:

To tackle the issue of an unsolicited, spam-like message, make sure that you train your chatbot to read between the lines and provide contextual information at every point in the conversation.

While this may seem like a far-fetched idea, know that chatbots are increasingly becoming more and more advanced to gauge and respond to customer intent by understanding the message as it was intended:

Dishing Out The Same Answers Time and Time Again

If your chatbot starts acting like a broken record at any point in the conversation, you can say goodbye to the user then and there. Take the example of the following successful chatbot:

Or in some cases, the chatbot might seem overly enthusiastic–to the point of sounding desperate and spammy–by constantly bombarding the user with too many responses (see below):

While the chatbot gets a big thumbs up for using emojis, the constant series of messages is a big letdown.

Overcomplicating the Chatbot’s End Goal

If you want your chatbot to do it all, you’ll end up with complicated conversational interfaces that can leave the users confused or wanting more. So start by first defining the end goal and work backward to understand the ideal successful chatbot workflow.

As a golden rule, make sure to keep things simple and linear to the extent possible.

Driving Data Collection Incessantly

While your chatbot can serve as an ultra-useful avenue to collect user information, data collection should never be its sole purpose.

The focus should always be to first add value to the customer’s experience via a conversational user interface while collecting user data and making the interaction as seamless as possible.

Take the example of the following chatbot that does not actually offer a valuable solution to the user’s problem. Instead, it asks the user to get in touch with the support human agent during business hours:

In other words, you could be sitting on a goldmine of customer information but if you’re not providing meaningful and value-driven service to your customers via your chatbot, all that data will be of no help. 

Closing Thoughts on Chatbot Best Practices

Image from WordStream

Conversational ai chatbot is the future and the future is now. As per Comm100, the average customer satisfaction rate of chatbot-only chats is 87.58%.

Chatbots are predicted to save businesses 2.5 billion hours by 2023 and $8billion by 2022. – Juniper Research

Brands are increasingly looking at ways to make their customer’s lives easier and this is where chatbots play a powerful role–from ensuring a seamless customer interaction process to allowing for instant query resolution, the chatbot is worth every penny invested.

That said, it is important to invest in the right platform which offers a robust set of features and steer clear of creating a robot-sounding chatbot that frustrates users to the core. So follow the guidelines and the chatbot best practices mentioned above, and build a chatbot that converts and entertains users, all at the same time.