If you were hoping to read about a blog post about evil messenger chatbots that team up in a wicked quest to take over the world, look away. This is a post about messenger chatbots that are just crap!
Take ‘Cora’ the Ulster Bank chatbot for example.
I recently had cause to enquire about the cost of using a debit card outside of Ireland. In the name of convenience, I thought I’d give the Ulster Bank messenger chatbot a whirl.
As you can see below, the bot was unable to deliver, and the whole experience was frustrating, and far from convenient.
Mags Almond suggested that I take a look at the Dyson chatbot – because it’s worse!
How could a brand that is defined by it’s engineering beauty, that is on equal par with Apple for design, have done such a thing? Surely Mags is wrong?
So in the name of research, we decided to test it out, and yep – it’s painful. It appears that you cannot ask it a question that is outside the standard help documentation it dishes out which is not what a smart chatbot should be about at all.
We did a little more digging and discovered that messenger chatbot fails are common. The most frustrating appears to be down to a bot being unable to deal with a question that falls outside their predetermined responses, resulting in a conversational dead-end.
I find this all very disappointing as I’ve written with enthusiasm in the past about messenger chatbots and how they can be used to deliver more information to help customers at that pre-point of sale. They are a fantastic and dynamic way to supplement website content, such as the one we built for St Patricks College Maynooth which literally shows incoming students what college life is like.
While not every customer interaction can be handled by a chatbot, they can be smarter. The key is to spend more time thinking about the most common customer interactions and from there, build the chatbot to accurately anticipate and respond to a customer’s needs. In short – better AI and less of the automated canned responses.
These larger brands who really should know better are setting the clock back because they will instill a mistrust of bots in people, when in fact, messenger chatbots are the future of customer service.
Not to mention, it’s a crowded market out there and brands only have a matter of seconds to engage a potential lead. If you leave your customers pulling their hair out in frustration when trying to find out more because your customer service technology is not up to scratch, can you blame them if they go somewhere else?