Chatbots are intelligent, interactive programs or systems that can interact with your customers on social media. In recent years they have become increasingly sophisticated, to the extent that users may not even be aware that they aren’t conversing with another human being. They can be an invaluable tool to online businesses, fulfilling customer service functions, taking customer orders and so on. They can have limitations, however, so they may not be right for every business in every situation. In this blog, we’ll look at some of the pros and cons of using chatbots for your business’s social media interactions.
Pros of using social media chatbots
Chatbots can be versatile and are capable of fulfilling a variety of customer interactions – they can process orders, track order information to provide customers with updates, and even respond to rudimentary customer service queries. You can also deploy chatbots to cover certain social marketing tasks. The most advanced chatbots employ artificial intelligence and natural language processing and are capable of learning based on interactions with users.
As with many business decisions, companies typically use social media chatbots as a way to save time and money. Allowing an automated program to handle orders, answer customer service queries and cover aspects of your social marketing strategy frees up your people to spend more time on core business activities, including dealing with more involved or complicated customer queries. Customers can benefit too, as they can get immediate, efficient answers to their questions.
The downside of social media chatbots
If chatbots could be said to have a single downside, its that a chatbot is simply not a human being. Yes, they can certainly be programmed and learn how to recognize certain keywords and phrases and use this data to provide what is most likely to be the answer the customer is looking for – but that’s not always the same as interacting with an actual person. And when a chatbot isn’t getting it right, it can be an astonishingly frustrating experience for the customer! As people increasingly use social media platforms as a contact point to interact with companies, poor-quality conversations with chatbots have the potential to drive customers away from your brand.
Even with a high-quality, responsive chatbot, for some people, it may all boil down to simply preferring to have a real person deal with their query. We live in an age of increasing automation in all areas of life, and while many people are on board with that, others quite simply want a more personal touch when they contact a company – from their perspective, it reflects on how much you value them as a customer.
If your company is considering whether to use chatbots, it’s important to consider both the pros and cons of such tools. They have the potential to be a cost-efficient way to free up resources through automation – which can be particularly important in smaller businesses. But it’s also important to be aware of their limitations, and the fact that many customers would prefer to deal with an actual human being. In short, they can be a good front-line tool to initially deal with customer queries, orders, and other social media interactions, but they should not be seen as a replacement for a customer service team – and the customer should always ultimately have the option to have a person deal with their query.