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.
- 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.
- Second: You can match the search terms or UTM info to the person to get a picture of how they found you.
- 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
- Don’t ask superfluous questions. If someone clicked the icon asking for help, they wanted help.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?’.
- If you hand off to a human (which is a great strategy), don’t make someone repeat the question in the chat log.
- Link the conversation to your website cookie – you get the entire picture of what someone was doing and what they were interested in.
- 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?
- 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?
- 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.
- Don’t tell me to F-off without saying F-off.
- 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.
- And bonus points if you remember the last conversation and resurrect it and ask a new question based on the old conversation context.