Why Some Chat Bots Failed and How to Make Them Succeed

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Opinion: Many may think doomsday for chat bots is near, but surprisingly, it isn’t

Chat bots are undoubtedly one of the hottest topics in today’s digital world. First it was Siri, Apple’s intelligent assistant. Then came Facebook’s Messenger bots. And finally, Microsoft joined the race by introducing Tay, which couldn’t keep itself under control.

Although the struggle to create a highly intelligent chat bot is still on, what’s most surprising is the failure of earlier bots. There is no deciding factor in concluding what makes a good product, but in layman’s terms, it should fulfill three basic attributes: It should be easy to use, it should function seamlessly 99 percent of time and it should reduce any glitches that it is intentionally developed for.

There are a number of reasons why chat bots failed, from not receiving accolades from users to being rolled out as jokes rather than helping hands. There are a few points behind the huge failures of chat bots and how can we overcome them to make those bots a huge success for businesses. Let’s dive in and take a closer look:

Cool in demo, flop in the real world

Most chat bots looked good and interesting when they were first demonstrated. However, when they were rolled out to real users, they completely went off track. Not a single chat bot was capable enough of completely understanding human requests and resolving their queries. This lack of optimum interaction resulted in frustration, making those bots completely unpleasant and irrelevant.

Missing the human touch

Almost everyone looks for a trustworthy experience from others and seeks good reviews before heading to purchase anything. This is when a chat bot encounters failure due to missing that human touch. The moment when users start interacting with chat bots, it feels like those bots are following scripts, which results in a lack in trust and compassion for that particular brand or product.

Incapable of understanding sarcasm

Humans are great at replying based on the context of conversations, and they can easily understand sarcasm, which is not the case with chat bots. Although chat bots can reply like humans, they are totally incapable of differentiating a sarcastic conversation from a valuable conversation.

A channel for scams

From large blue-chip companies to small and midsized businesses, almost every business is in a race to introduce a chat bot to ensure seamless real-time conversation and improve user experience. However, is it going the right way? Not quite. This overhype of chat bots has surprisingly created tough competition, thereby making them another channel for scams and affecting their core competencies.

Short on functionality

Accessibility issues, lack of personality and conversational flow, capability to fulfill only about 30 percent of requests without human agents and a few other factors are the reasons behind the downfall of chat bots in today’s vibrant digital era. Only a few chat bots get recognition in the real world due to their logical answering competencies, but their inability to respond naturally or deliver smooth functionality results in human frustration.

Is doomsday for chat bots near?

Many may think doomsday for chat bots is near, but surprisingly, it isn’t. Although chat bots are not up to the mark, brands such as Facebook, Microsoft and Apple are finding innovative ways to improve their functionality so that they become a success in the near future and help businesses in a number of ways, including:

  • Powerfully advertising brands in unexpected ways.
  • Doubling up user engagement.
  • Leveraging existing customers.
  • Educating users about products and services.
  • Real-time communications and smooth personal assistance.
  • Saving time, money and extra effort.
  • Bringing brands to life.
  • Reducing human frustration and building long-term relationships.

While many have written them off, chat bots can still be revamped and updated. Let’s discuss what’s happening on that front:

Facebook developers are currently focusing on building a chat bot based on a narrower set of cases so that every user enjoys conversations and receives answers to their queries without the limitation of automation. The main focus for the social network’s developers is to activate commercial intent inside Messenger so that the bots deliver optimum solutions without any hassles.

Many other companies are also indulging in gearing up the performance of chat bots with their brainstorming ideas, such as eradicating long delays, updating them with more relevant information for smoother interactions and clarifying shorthand terms.

We will soon experience a whole new digital world where chat bots will be the ultimate destination for every individual’s query.

This article first appeared in www.adweek.com

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About Author

Abhinav Girdhar

Abhinav Girdhar is CEO of cloud-based do-it-yourself mobile application builder Appy Pie.

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