Chatbots are a simple way to make your customers’ on-site experience seamless. They don’t want to roam around a website trying to figure out how it works; once things get complicated and no help is in sight, they will leave your website for others. Just like that, a poor user experience has sent potential customers to your competitors.

Meeting customer expectations is one way to gain an edge over the competition. Not to mention, it’s important to keep your eCommerce business afloat. It’s a factor that can make your business or break it. 

Chatbots can help you to meet customer expectations. However, you have to use them correctly. In this article, we’ll explore six common mistakes eCommerce businesses make when using chatbots.

1. Not Telling Customers It Is a Bot

Your customer has to know if they are talking to a human or a bot from the beginning. This will help them to manage their expectations accordingly. Designing a bot to look human is not a wise move. For instance, giving it a human name and face. Businesses do this thinking the customer will be uncomfortable talking to a bot. 

As the conversation progresses, most people will notice they are talking to a bot. And they’ll either feel confused or misled. Do you know what confused customers do? They leave. 

Clarifying if the on-site customer support is a human or a bot helps customers to manage their expectations. This way, they won’t expect the same standard of service from a bot but will also know that they can escalate their concerns to a human advisor if they’re not getting the answers they need.

2. A Chatbot Lacking the Brand Voice 

Customers should be aware they are talking to a bot, but that doesn’t mean the conversation should be boring and dull. Chatbots should be designed to align with your brand’s voice and vision. Furthermore, conversations with your chatbot should be fun. 

In a nutshell, your customer should experience the careful integration between the chatbot and your brand. This will help them to feel more comfortable talking with it as it represents your company well. 

Are there any slang terms popular with your target audience? Your chatbot should use them.

Is there a tone of voice that is relevant to them? Incorporate this into your bot. Is your business an eCommerce for enterprise, or are you running a DTC business? Tailor its tone to fit that particular audience.

Doing this will increase your customers’ trust in your brand. This recognition of their individuality and needs will help to foster loyalty, thereby increasing customer retention rates.

3. No Chatbot Strategy 

If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail. It’s an old saying, but one that’s relevant in every aspect of our lives — especially eCommerce.

A chatbot is a tool. It’s not a magic wand. You won’t meet your goals if you create it and then just abandon it on your site. Every well-utilized tool has a plan for how it should be used, and a chatbot should be no exception. 

Decide what you want your chatbot to do for you, then design it accordingly. Do you want it to act as a sales channel? Then create sales channel strategies for it. If you want a chatbot to direct customers around your site, tailor its responses to fit that function. Do you want it to offer self-service options? Create a plan for that. 

A chatbot can’t do everything, so pick a specific purpose, outline your goals, and design it accordingly. 

4. Not Enough Testing

A chatbot that doesn’t work well is an instant turnoff for customers. They click the support button because they want help. If they can’t get that, they will leave. Worse, they will leave with a negative impression of your eCommerce website.

To avoid this, test your chatbot with a focus group. Receive feedback and work on it. Do a few more tests with your improvements and make sure you receive plenty of constructive criticism before the eventual launch. 

5. A Spammy Bot

Everybody hates spam. Too many pop-ups pestering customers to use your bot will annoy them. There are other ways to encourage engagement. For instance, you can increase your chatbot’s aesthetic appeal.

In the same vein, a pop-up in one corner of the site that says “Need help?” or “Customer support” can do the job without annoying visitors. 

6. DIY Chatbots

Piecing information together from technology and eCommerce blogs doesn’t make you a developer. If you don’t already have the skills of a developer, you should let a professional create and maintain your chatbot. 

It may seem cheaper to do it yourself, but you are more likely to waste time and energy learning and trying it out. This time and energy can be expended on other parts of your business you are qualified to handle. 

The expenses that come with hiring a developer are a part of the hidden costs of running an eCommerce business. Remember, with a chatbot, everything needs to be perfect. Only the professionals can guarantee that.

Giving Customers a Seamless Experience with Chatbots

If you’ve made some of these mistakes, it’s not too late: figure out what needs to change then hire a professional and create a more user-friendly chatbot feature. 

To provide the best possible customer service, you must always think of consumer convenience. You can go as far as creating a system for customer relationship management using cloud ERP.

Convenience should be the first thing you think about when you want to design features for your eCommerce website. If it’s not easy for your customers to use, you’re better off forgetting it, and that’s not something we say lightly.

Nick Shaw has been Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) of Brightpearl, the number one retail-focused digital operations platform which encompasses sales and inventory management software, accounting, logistics, CRM, and more, since July 2019 and is responsible for EMEA Sales, Global Marketing, and Alliances. Before joining Brightpearl, Nick was GM and Vice President of the EMEA Consumer business at Symantec and was responsible for a $500m revenue business. Nick has written for sites such as Hubspot and G2. Here is Nick Shaw’s LinkedIn.

Chatbots stock photo by NicoElNino/Shutterstock