How to Insult Visitors with your Chatbot

I am all for qualifying a lead before you talk to someone. It makes perfect sense. Why would you want to waste your time or anyone else’s time when you know that your solution isn’t a fit.


First, I hate chatbots that are focused on only guided questions. I think a few guided questions are ok for context, but it’s easy enough to create a chatbot that answers a person’s questions. 


My first issue with a guided-only chatbot is this is just lazy. This is literally the minimum you could do to set up a chatbot on your site. Overall- my .02: avoid this like the plague. You look clunky and you aren’t helpful and in general it’s a slow experience.


My second issue with a guided-only chatbot is that language has a WEALTH of information that you are not gathering or understanding in your business. 

  1. First:  you know what pages that a user visited so you should have some data about what they are interested in and what they’ve looked at.
  2. Second: You can match the search terms or UTM info to the person to get a picture of how they found you.
  3. Third: You can potentially discover new features that you are lacking that could be market opportunities. (i.e. Can you <insert feature request here>?)


You are missing out on golden information that you can use to market better. This is a huge opportunity that’s wasted (and even worse if you paid for the click and found they aren’t part of your target market.)


I was doing some research on various sites and ran across this GEM of a chatbot:

I clicked on the icon:

First issue here – I clicked on your icon to launch your bot – Yeah I could use some help. Who created this question?


Second question is a great guided question. Not sure about the “Don’t know” answer – if you don’t know if you are B2B or B2C, I’m not sure I want to talk to you.

Again – who asks this question? Um, yes, I’d like to see how it will work…

Great targeted question – let’s qualify you to see if you are a fit! So then I answer less than 30….

Um – there’s a call to action when I’m not interested? Really? Also their software targets a lot of enterprises – maybe this is not the whitepaper I’m interested in.

Basically because I am a small company – their response: “F!@#-off.” 

Then I went off-script and asked a bunch of questions to see what would happen:

After a few minutes I was handed off to a real person to answer the question (by asking ‘Wondering how we can help…') (Real Person) didn’t bother to read the questions I asked? 


12 Ways to Avoid Bad Chatbot Design

Here are my recommendations to avoid this situation

  1. Don’t ask superfluous questions. If someone clicked the icon asking for help, they wanted help.
  2. Don’t create guided-only question bots. Create guided questions when someone goes off-script or you need some more information to determine what script to use to answer the question.
  3. Enable your bot to answer off-script questions that are common. You can’t answer every question, but you should be able to answer some questions.
  4. Read your logs regularly. It’s obvious that noone has looked at the chatbot flow after it was implemented. Particularly if someone is asking ‘Do you actually work?’.
  5. If you hand off to a human (which is a great strategy), don’t make someone repeat the question in the chat log.
  6. Link the conversation to your website cookie – you get the entire picture of what someone was doing and what they were interested in.
  7. Create a way to restart the conversation if I hit the wrong button. What if I was a qualified lead and clicked the wrong value?
  8. Even if they aren’t your target market, offer something of value. Perhaps I wanted a whitepaper even though I don’t qualify as a lead? 
  9. Always capture the email if you can. Even if they aren’t a lead, maybe you can partner with a downstream partner who services that market or maybe you find there’s a lot of interest in that segment that you want to explore.
  10. Don’t tell me to F-off without saying F-off.
  11. Track your data and map it to your customer data and non-converting traffic. It could lead to great insights into what campaigns aren’t working.
  12. And bonus points if you remember the last conversation and resurrect it and ask a new question based on the old conversation context.

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