Chatbots are defined as software agents that rely on natural language processing and interact through a chat interface. Due to important advancements in machine learning and AI technology, chatbots are increasingly transforming the way we interact with software, providing a great opportunity for businesses, small or big, to automate their customer support. The top industries profiting from chatbots are real estate, travel, education, healthcare, and finance.

In recent times, the time-saving and efficient nature of chatbots has made them so popular that Gartner predicted that by 2020 more than 85% of customer interactions will be managed without a human agent.

But are chatbots a total customer support solution? No, they can fail and you risk upsetting and losing your customers if you rely entirely on chatbots.

There are in fact multiple such reasons which have led to chatbots falling short. Today, we will discuss the top five reasons why chatbots fail and how you can prevent chatbot failure. But before that, let’s know how chatbots are trained.

How Chatbots Are Trained

Chatbot training often requires highly qualified experts who have to use a lot of data to train these ‘intelligence’ systems. Despite the efforts put in during the initial training, even the most advanced chatbots are limited by pre-training models. They are not capable of cognitive perception because they lack a true understanding of human context. Neither can they read between the lines nor can they understand sarcasm or jokes.

So, chatbot experts have to come up with all possible combinations of data and have to feed it into the software. But compiling an all-inclusive database for the bots is not just time-consuming 

and arduous, it is impossible to contrive all the plausible customer inquiries.

Also, if there is the slightest variation in phrases or syntax, the bot will not be able to understand it. For example, a single e-commerce platform catering to a plethora of industries will have hundreds of thousands of customers who will describe the same problem in many different ways.

So, chatbot training requires the tagging, segregation, and formatting of a lot of training data and even then, they cannot recognize the human context in many situations. This causes chatbots to be fairly limited even in simple scenarios.

So if you have understood how chatbots are trained, have a look at the top five reasons behind chatbot failure.

Why do Chatbots Fail?

1. Inability to understand emotions

Customer support is not just about answering customer questions or providing resolutions, it’s also about being empathetic with the customers.

Let’s take an example, in the e-commerce industry, from the time of placing an order until its delivery, anything can go wrong. Orders often don’t get delivered at the promised date and many times, they end up getting delivered in a damaged state.

These can be highly frustrating situations for consumers and they usually contact customer care immediately to pour out their discontent. They expect the customer support to not only help them conclusively but also lend a sympathetic ear to their distressed rantings.

But no matter how much you train your chatbot software, they can not understand emotions and be empathetic, making it one of the reasons behind chatbot failure.

2. Lack of implementation

According to Forrester’s research, adding a live chat feature on your website can increase leads by an average of 40%.

So providing live chat assistance to your customers seems vital, but implementation is the key.

One of the main reasons behind this failure of chatbots is the lack of human intervention that plays a crucial role in configuring, training, and optimizing the system without which bots risk failure. As a result, many companies have not been able to implement them even after investing in them. According to Gartner, though 90% of enterprises have invested in chatbots, only 4% are actually using them efficiently.

But even if you implement chatbots efficiently, they might fail because…

3. Humans prefer talking to humans

Empowered by AI and machine learning, chatbots can efficiently interact and answer many human queries. Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s voice assistant are great examples of efficient chatbots present today.

Businesses also prefer these efficient AI chat software because they’re cheaper. According to Forrester’s research, a live chat software is 50% cheaper than any other method.

But still, consumers prefer talking to a human agent rather than a chatbot. Pointsource survey revealed that 54% of US customers choose to communicate more with human customer care representatives rather than with chatbots or AI assistants. Moreover, 80% of consumers would want to talk to a human to get any kind of medical information.

And in some scenarios, it is better not to use chatbots at all.

4. Inability to resolve personalized issues

Chatbots for customer interaction is a result of continuous advancement in Artificial intelligence and machine learning. And chatbots can be really helpful in answering customers’ frequently asked questions. But they can’t resolve the unique personalized problems of your customers.

Totally relying on chatbots and not redirecting customers’ personalized issues to human agents can result in chatbot failure, and ultimately, annoyed and dissatisfied customers.

5. Lack of transparency

One of the biggest mistakes brands often do is not informing or hiding it from their customers that they’re connected with a BOT and not a human representative.

No matter how intelligent your chatbot software is, it can not replace humans. And your customer may get dissatisfied upon acknowledging that they’re talking to a bot and not to a human.

Furthermore, as a chatbot can not understand emotions and may not be able to identify and resolve customers’ personalized issues, it can ruin your customers’ experience, becoming a reason for broken business relationships.

According to Forrester Research, 63% of people will leave a company after one poor experience.

How to Prevent Chatbot Failure?

1. Redirect to a Human Agent

“Please wait while we are connecting you to our expert.”

A chatbot can be really helpful in dealing with repetitive customer issues and queries. But you should not expect these AI-powered bots to completely work on their own! Human intervention should be there.

Chatbots should only be considered as an aid to your customer support staff, reducing the workload of your customer support team by handling frequently asked questions.

A chatbot software should be designed in such a way that it immediately redirects the customer to a human agent when it’s unable to understand the customer’s query.

2. Be Honest (Transparent)

“Thanks for connecting with [Brand] BOT assistance.”

Be transparent and tell consumers that they’re connected with a chatbot and not a human.

As a brand, you shouldn’t hide it from your customers because it can have a positive impact on your customers. Surprisingly, having a chatbot can also influence consumers to spend more money.

A study states that when artificial intelligence (AI) is present, 49 percent of consumers said they would shop at that online location more frequently, while 34 percent said they would spend more money and 38 percent said they would share their experiences with friends and family.

So instead of hiding, embrace the fact that you’re providing AI support to your customers.

3. Provide consumers with specific responses

Providing limited and high-quality service is better than ruining the customer experience.

A bot requires a lot of training and human intervention to identify and understand customer issues and queries accurately. So, while starting out providing AI support, you should focus on answering frequently asked questions. These FAQs can be easily identified upon checking and filtering your business’s customer support record. 

Instead of allowing your customers to submit manual responses, you can provide these FAQs as options that your customers can choose to respond to the chatbot and get accurate responses.

This can eliminate confusion and bot failure to a large extent.

4. Timely maintenance

Timely maintenance means feeding it with up-to-date information and checking if all the areas 

are working properly.

You might have trained your chatbot software well, but routine maintenance ensures that your chatbot is up to date and working fine, minimizing the chances of its failure while interacting with your customers.

5. Proper testing before deployment

You invested and programmed a chatbot software, and it’s working. Great! But, should you deploy it? Not without proper testing.

Before deploying a chatbot to deal with real customers, it should be properly tested if it can understand and accurately answer the variety of queries of your customers. Even after testing, a bot should be regularly monitored if it is working properly so that you can make the required tweaks on time.

Conclusion

Chatbots can be really helpful to a business. When implemented efficiently, they can handle repetitive tasks with ease, saving a lot of time and resources. But they can’t be expected to work on their own.

Even though artificial intelligence has made quite a bit of progress in the last few decades, still at the end of the day, they require human assistance to work seamlessly. Hence, in certain scenarios, human intervention will always triumph over an artificially created robot.