Video and Slides
Outline: How Not to Build a Chatbot
We try to understand, from the consumer’s perspective, why chatbots fail to deliver a good experience and what thought processes need to be considered when venturing into such deployments.
You can ask Mel questions in the comments section of this weblog, or contact him directly, his info is in the presentation.
UIB is an omnichannel messaging service platform with APIs for ISVs, SIs, chatbot builders, and developers. In Asia, there is a diverse range of popular messaging platforms: WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, LINE, Apple Business Chat, Google’s Business Messages, Telegram, etc. I’ve known UIB since Tony Ruckert founded the company.
One of TADSummit’s policies is “no BS,” and this presentation is a great example of just that. While many presentations hype chatbots as the greatest customer service innovation ever, it simply does not jive with our everyday experience. Mel’s presentation lifts the lid on why that’s the case and helps us understand the steps towards success with chatbots.
Mel says what many of us think, “chatbots are stupid!” We’ve all experienced a bot trying to force us to a particular resolution when that is not what we want. And when we say that, it asks us another question, and still forces us to that resolution. Or worse, sends us to a link to read/watch a video that is irrelevant to resolving our issue, and just wastes 10 or 20 minutes of our time.
It’s also important to realize the bots we experience with Siri, Alexa, and OK Google are exceptional. They’re state of the art, while most chatbots used by enterprises are less sophisticated.
Mel highlights the importance of using the right communication channels in Asia, i.e., the bot has to be on the customers’/users’ preferred platform. Whether that’s WhatsApp, LINE, FB, etc.
Bot applications include FAQ, IoT control, automation, sales, and HR processes. In the early days of bots, internal applications focused on HR, a sort of HR FAQs. It was a safe way to gain experience with bots and not impact the customer. However, some HR bot implementations were rarely used, as the user volume and user benefits were slight.
The drivers for bots are lowering costs, increasing revenues (lead qualification), improving accuracy/efficiency, and delighting customers. I know the last point given what we’ve said so far may seem incongruous. As an example, Amazon delivered a package to me with nothing in it. I contacted them, told the bot what had happened, and in less than a minute of interaction a new shipment was on its way and this time did have batteries in the package. Bots can delight, but many do not.
Mel reviews a couple of use cases including du’s introduction of a WhatsApp-powered virtual assistant to interact with customers. It successfully reduced workload in its call centres and stores and found that more than 50% of customer inquiries were being successfully resolved by the bot. WhatsApp has been the dominant messaging channel in the UAE for years.
When Mel runs through what bot implementations get wrong, this is spot-on and excellent insight:
- Users’ needs. If the bot cannot help the customer get to want they want faster / easier than what you’re doing today. Don’t do it, as it will frustrate the customer. If you’re going to send your customers to watch a video for 10 minutes, make sure this will resolve their problem. After 10 minutes and an unresolved problem, the customer is now furious at your brand/business for wasting their time.
- KPIs, tracking, and ROI. It takes time to fine-tune the bot to the specific application — test, test, test. Without metrics, the project cannot develop towards delivering business results and customer satisfaction.
- Users’ favorite channels and preferred languages. I cannot overstate the importance of this. Asia is the most diverse region for channels and languages.
- It’s “dumb.” The bot can’t handle multiple intents/languages.
- It’s not used. Some of the initial HR and FAQ bots suffered from this as the user volumes were low and/or user benefits slight. If it doesn’t benefit the customer, they will not use it.
I love this quote he uses at the end, “One reason a chatbot takes more effort than either self-service or a human agent is that compared to us humans, it’s stupid.”
Thank you Mel for one of the best bot implementation guides I’ve ever seen.