Key Chat Bots Features, Pros, & Cons for Businesses

Originally published - Aug 2022

Whether you are a small or large business, chat bots can be a game changer for your business. But they also bring with them some new challenges too.

Key Chat Bots Features, Pros, & Cons for Businesses

Modern businesses are continually striving to automate processes to increase efficiency and productivity. One of the most recent, innovative, and trending automation technology is chat bots.

chatbot (or chat robot) is a software that simulates human conversations through text or voice interaction. Chat bots solve the problem of scaling and can perform a wide range of other functions.

Let’s highlight what this technology is, its pros and cons, and how to enhance user experience with it.


Benefits of using chatbots


Chat bots can successfully automate communication with visitors on business websites, ecommerce stores, or on social media networks where many marketing processes can be automated.

Today, brands don't have to waste time on routine tasks such as marketing and recruitment, but can use smart chat bots powered by artificial intelligence to promote their brand, advertise job openings, and even do preliminary online interviews of candidates even without your personal involvement.

Chat bots will automatically interact with visitors, provide support, sort out requests, answer questions, make sales, conduct business or product presentations, launch promotions, and conduct surveys. You can even use them to manage your calendar and assign schedules.

Bots can also record and analyze data about users, which can provide valuable insights into how best to sell products and services, nurture leads, drive YouTube views, get more TikTok likes, and achieve other such marketing goals.

Chat bots always do what they are programmed to do, so they do not make mistakes. By automating conversations, you can cut costs and free up resources for other uses. For example, while human capacity is limited, chat bots can process a huge number of requests without any issues, like fatigue.

For example, a global airline that has hundreds of customers wanting to get prompt responses at once will benefit from deploying chatbots on the airlines’ website or social media pages to answer customer queries in real-time. No call center will quickly and efficiently process such requests, but for chat bots this is a routine task.

The 24/7 availability of chatbots allows people to use the service regardless of time or geographic location.


Disadvantages of chat bots


As with all new technologies, chat bots bring with them new challenges. AI-enabled chat bots learn from each user interaction and improve their behavior overtime, but the process can cost businesses a lot of money if initial interactions cause customers to cut conversations and leave.

Also, security may be an issue since users must trust the chat bot to share their personal data. As such, companies should design their chat bots to only request necessary data and transmit it securely over the internet. The bot’s architecture should be as secure as possible against unauthorized access.

Another stumbling block of using chat bots is related to how people type their messages, which can lead to miscommunication and misunderstandings of intent. A user may use slang, misspelled words, or abbreviations, which can be misunderstood or hard to understand. Chat bots can struggle to understand what users type and so may not reply appropriately. Unfortunately, chat bots' ongoing learning ability has its limitations and can't completely solve this problem.

Moreover, the unpredictability of human behavior can be a problem too. People can be very random, and their emotions and moods often control behavior, meaning users can quickly change their minds. Chat bots still have a long way to go before they are able to adapt and begin to understand this unpredictability and spontaneity of human behavior at times.


Key steps for building a chat bot for your business


If you are not familiar with computer programming and software development, or you do not have enough time or money to invest, you can still use online chatbot services and platforms to easily create chat bots for Instagram DMs, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, SMS, website chat, and more.

When building your own chat bot, be sure to follow some simple steps for success:


1. Define your goals and objectives


Your goals and objective may be to solve a service problem, promote a product, or generate quality leads. Study your customers' most popular requests, write down examples, try to group them together, and then decide where the chat bot will be most effective.


2. Choose the communication channels


Identify where the most frequent user requests come from so that you know where you’ll deploy a chat bot. Most web services already offer a wide range of chat bot integration options, including on websites, social media platforms, and messenger apps. Check for the possibility of setting up a chat bot using API to integrate your bot, for example, in a mobile app integration.


3. Develop scripts for conversations


Next, start planning the possible user paths during an active conversation using mind-mapping tools. Create multiple answers for each question to ensure that your bot is more likely to meet the user's needs. For each question, you must build a dialog branch, asking clarifying questions.

Some conversations may stop after one question, while others may span several levels. Take time to plan well and ensure all conversations fully address the customers' problems. When executed well, the bot will engage leads and generate sales on its own, without the need for human help.


In conclusion


Whether you are a large company with well-established processes or an up-and-coming small business with big ambitions, automated robotic assistants like chat bots can be a game changer in your business.

Chat bots can not only increase efficiency, minimize costs, and increase sales, but also raise customer loyalty and allow you to free time and resources for other important tasks.