Chatbot Problems: “I’m afraid I can’t let you buy that, Dave.”

Is a chatbot taking your online leads for a ride?

A carefully-planted decision tree will put a stop to that.

It’s time to check in with your bots. If customers appear to be flocking to your chatbot, you may want to look into what’s happening once they’re there. Your chatbot may be taking you and your customers for a ride, increasing friction, and churn, by stalling important customer journeys.


Since chatbots were introduced to customer contact roles, it’s become clear that many brands haven’t nailed their chatbot’s use case—their chatbot’s integrated role within a well-managed cross-channel network. Chatbots in service roles have become a new but only slightly improved version of a conventional IVR. Less of an AI revolution in customer contact, it’s more often the case that “press one for…” has become the domain of the chatbot. The result, just an extra protocol for the customer to pass through before getting to where they should be.


For fully integrated channels, online and offline, you’ll need to put the data first.


The core purpose of omnichannel marketing is to deliver as many successfully personalised experiences as possible, for the lowest possible cost to the business.

Essentially, that requires you to learn three things:

  1. Which channels are ideal for each type of customer?

  2. Among those ideal channels, which is the most cost-effective?

  3. How best to promote that channel, to its ideal customer segment?

Often, the customer doesn’t know which is their most appropriate channel. We can no longer assume that by simply hosting multiple channels, with the potential to deliver the right experience, that customers will autonomously choose the channel most appropriate for themselves—certainly not when we factor in cost per interaction and CLV.


So why are so many companies putting their chatbot front and centre for all customers, indiscriminately?


The IVR/Chatbot Problem

IVR (Interactive Voice Response) systems, were introduced to get more inbound calls to their destination, more efficiently. The jarring protocol, which came with IVRs, went on to form their infamous reputation amongst customers. It makes sense that phone IVRs aren’t well-regarded today—they were created for a “phonebook-first” consumer. Today, however, this protocol has migrated over to chatbot interactions.


Conventional IVR


Chatbot IVR


Picture the customer, playing along with an online chatbot interaction only to be informed, eventually, that they should actually have just called. It’s a surefire way to frustrate and lose whole segments of customers.


When deployed intelligently, a chatbot can be a valuable asset to the rest of your channels.


A good chatbot is quite capable of delivering on Tier 1 tasks—that is, scheduling appointments or delivering set information upon request. However, they begin to fall short of customer expectations in self-service, decision-making, product showcasing, and the further sales process. Assigning chatbots to these functions is disrupting the collaborative harmony between channels, allowing chatbots to interfere in customer interactions which would be more effectively addressed through other channels.


The solution: A channelling strategy which tailors journeys, in the moment, based on business and customer needs—a solution both responsive and data-led.


The solution to this predicament begins before the customer even clicks to chat or call.

Intelligent Engagement combines journey data with decision-making technology, to place the decision tree before channels, removing the effort and burden of choice from the customer—less “press one for…”, more seamless, intuitive routing. What’s more, it places control over inbound back into the hands of channel managers.

With Intelligent Engagement, your chatbot, and the rest of your channels can be presented selectively, to the right customers, at the right moment. So you can have channels tuned-in to their respective use cases, to increase sales and reduce churn whilst enhancing the customer experience.


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