11 Reasons Customers Aren’t Using Your Chatbot (and what to do about it)

2018-10-30T10:00:18+00:00November 20th, 2018|Blog, Channel Shift, Chatbots, Customer service, Uncategorized|

Though you may have developed the greatest chatbot known to humankind, there’s no guarantee your customers will use it. Here, we examine the 11 most common reasons your customers aren’t willing to engage with your chatbot and provide you with step-by-step solutions to fix each issue.

Your chatbot doesn’t accurately replicate human conversation

The clue is in the name – CHATbots. Customers want to interact with your software in an intuitive and informal manner that replicates real human conversation.

This is one of the reasons that text-based interaction is one of the most popular modes of communication. It allows us to recreate human-to-human interaction in a relatively realistic manner that doesn’t require us to suspend our disbelief too much. Whereas other forms of AI are more obviously “robotic” (Alexa and Siri still very much sound like machines), chatbots allow for an anonymity that encourages informal and relaxed chat.

What to do about it

  1. Imbue your chatbot with a distinct personality and character. Its personality must embody and represent your brand. Consequently, it’s a good idea to begin by identifying those values at the heart of your brand and building a distinct character around them.
  2. Think about your brand’s key characteristics. Is your brand playful and jokey? Or is it more refined and serious? What dialect and accent best represents the qualities of your brand? With what degree of formality does your brand interact with its customers?
  3. Once you’ve established and begun building a believable and engaging personality, it’s necessary to test it. Ask as wide a range of people as possible to test your Chatbot out and ask them the same set of questions. Do they all experience your chatbot’s character in the same way? Where is there room for improvement? Refine, and then test again.

Your chatbot doesn’t take the customer journey into account

11 Reasons Customers Aren't Using Your Chatbot

Unlike technologies that came before (i.e. apps) chatbots are not pieces of stand-alone software that can be viewed in isolation. They are part of a complex customer journey that needs to be analysed in a comprehensive and nuanced manner, if users are to fully appreciate the technology.

If a chatbot is not integrated into the customer journey in the right way, they become an annoyance and a hindrance to the client, rather than a piece of technology that enables efficient customer service. This can sometimes be more damaging to a business’ reputation than if it hadn’t implemented chatbot technology in the first place.

What to do about it

  1. To prevent this occurring, businesses should make extensive use of analytics to map out the customer journey and identify those areas that would benefit from chatbot implementation. The importance of this can’t be overstated – to find out more, have a look at Inform Comms’ Enhanced Analytics Module and our recent guide on best practice Omnichannel Analytics
  2. Examine call centre wait times to identify blockages, measure which types of queries occur most frequently, and look at the ways customers navigate your website. Also take a look at opportunities for call abandonment rate reduction – where are you losing people?

Your chatbot doesn’t allow users to seamlessly transition to a human agent

Chatbots must allow for a seamless transition to a human agent when required. Not being able to do so is one of customers’ main complaints and can taint their impression of the customer experience. Generally, customers won’t mind using self-serve technologies, as long as there is a quick and easy way to speak to a real agent.

What to do about it

  1. A seamless transition depends on a chatbot being set up in the correct manner.
  2. Ensure that all information and data harvested by the software is instantly accessible by the human agent. This means customers won’t have to re-enter their information – another source of complaints.
  3. Implement measures that allow for a quick and snag-free transition at the user-end. This may involve providing customers with a button that launches a chat window with a human agent or a quick link that launches telephony services.

Your chatbot tries to do too much

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Your chatbot cannot know everything. It’s simply not practical or affordable for businesses to build chatbots that can answer every query put to them. Those that are set up with too broad a view are likely to suffer from the problem of being a “jack of all trades and a master of none.”

What to do about it

  1. Identify the key issues you want your chatbot to resolve. What are your company FAQs? Where do the majority of blockages happen along the user journey?
  2. Identify those issues that are suitable for text-based resolution. They are generally those that occur in high volumes and don’t require nuanced human interpretation.
  3. Focus on developing the chatbot’s responses to these issues, as it’s success will be judged on whether it can fulfil its purpose, not on how well it can hold a conversation on unimportant and unconnected topics.
  4. If the technology is asked to perform too broad a task, it will be unable to fulfil customer expectations and will naturally disappoint. A chatbot should be able to resolve a small number of problems very well.


Your chatbot is not in the right location

Though it may sound like a simple explanation, customers are unlikely to utilise a business’ chatbots if they’re not situated in the right place. If they don’t naturally encounter them as they go about their business, clients won’t actively seek them out and, consequently, won’t use them.

What to do about it

  1. Use customer data to ensure that they’re positioned in a highly visible location. In order to do this, it’s necessary to;
  2. Consider the chatbot’s target audience.
  3. Consider what channels are best suited to chatbot technology.
  4. Consider where most customers are likely to encounter the chatbot.


For instance, chatbots aimed at a younger audience, such as students, are likely to benefit from being integrated into high-profile social networks. This is due to the fact that a much higher percentage of this age group are likely to use Facebook or other social networks to interact with a business.

On the other hand, older users may be more likely to initiate communication with a business via their website or email. Consequently, an emailed hyperlink or chat window that automatically pops up upon accessing a website may be more efficient.

Your chatbot doesn’t utilise an engaging introduction

Another reason customers may not be utilising your chatbot is the simple fact that it’s not endowed with an engaging or exciting introduction. If your chatbot doesn’t capture the user’s imagination with its first question or statement, it’s unlikely they’ll consider replying.

Likewise, if your introduction is overly complex or convoluted, customers won’t initiate a conversation with the software.

What to do about it

Businesses need to ensure that their chatbot starts off on the right foot. You can do this by;

  1. Keeping it simple and developing an opening that provides the user with some idea of how the chatbot has been designed to assist them.
  2. Consider beginning with a question, as this naturally encourages a response.


Your chatbot doesn’t provide suitable solutions

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Despite the fact that chatbots are built to offer customers solutions to their problems, you would be surprised at how many fail to do so. A chatbot that doesn’t provide solutions only frustrates the customer and is more likely to lose you business than help consumers.

What to do about it

In order to ensure that this doesn’t take place, businesses should consider implementing a number of strategies.

  1. Utilise a means of gathering feedback to ensure that your chatbots are providing customers with the type of solutions they require. This may mean including a simple five-star rating system or a comments box at the end of a conversation.
  2. Measure how many customers are forced to re-initiate contact having already attempted to use a chatbot. If customers are having to return and rely on other forms of customer service, the chatbot’s solutions have not been adequately developed.


Your chatbot doesn’t learn from previous interactions with users

One of the most exciting aspects of AI customer service is the idea that machines can learn from previous interactions and large amounts of data. If your chatbot isn’t learning from every conversation it has, it’s not identifying mistakes or those areas that can be improved. As a consequence, it won’t provide high-quality customer service and is placing an artificial cap on how many customers are willing to use the service.


What to do about it

  1. Mark every instance in which there is a breakdown in communication, the chatbot is unable to provide a solution, or it doesn’t understand a word, phrase

Your chatbot isn’t visible enough, or it suffers from a lack of publicity

One of the main reasons an insufficient number of users are accessing your chatbot may be the fact that it’s poorly advertised. If customers aren’t directed to the software, only a small percentage of customers will stumble across it naturally.

What to do about it

  1. The principal means of advertising a chatbot is via social media and email.
  2. With email, you can use your mailing list to send out messages to all existing customers. Any user that joins your mailing list at a later date, should also receive an email advertising the chatbot’s services.
  3. When it comes to social media advertising, businesses can utilise services like Facebook Ads that allow you to pay for Facebook to direct targeted traffic your way.
  4. Advertise on your own social media pages.
  5. Ensure that your chatbot is submitted to all chatbot “shops” or search platforms.


Your chatbot doesn’t employ Natural Language Processing technology

As we’ve already mentioned, users will quickly switch off if they feel that communications with your chatbot are overly scripted, linear, or inhuman. Consequently, if you want to retain the attention of your customers, it’s necessary to arm your chatbot with a truly human voice and natural language use.

One of the key ways you can do this is by utilising Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology. NLP is an advancement in text-based AI that allows the software to extract greater meaning from user inputs. Rather than just extracting raw data from a text input, it attempts to understand the intent behind the input. This gives the chatbot a more human “face” and ensures it can handle a more diverse array of queries and questions.

close up of dictionary natural language processing

How to improve your chatbot’s language with NLP

If you’re considering implementing NLP, the best way to do so is to by;

  1. Utilising a dedicated chatbot programming platform that includes ready-made NLP functions.
  2. Chatbot specialists will also be able to help you integrate NLP functionality into your chatbot, while those businesses with in-house coding abilities should be able to implement it themselves.


Your chatbot isn’t integrated into an omnichannel approach

If your business perceives and conceives of its communication channels as distinct and disconnected, you’ll likely reduce the amount of traffic passing through your chatbot software. This is due to the way in which chatbots need to be situated within a wider, inter-connected customer service system if they’re to provide customers with satisfactory solutions.

This means adopting an omnichannel approach. The omnichannel philosophy involves breaking down the barriers between different communication channels in order to allow customers to move seamlessly between them. Though chatbots are a single communication channel, they are linked to every other aspect of the business by customer data.

What to do about it

  1. Information gathered by all other arms of the business can improve chatbot services, and any data collected by a chatbot needs to be made available to other parts of the business.
  2. Likewise, customers should be able to move effortlessly from any particular channel to a chatbot conversation and vice versa.
  3. If chatbots are to provide a truly exemplary service, they must respect the fact that customers demand versatility and flexibility – the only way of doing this is situating them within an omnichannel system.


What next?

In this article, we’ve identified 11 of the most common reasons customers aren’t using your chatbot service and provided you with step-by-step guides on how to fix these issues. Chatbot problems are relatively easy to rectify, so don’t hesitate to make the changes necessary to ensure your software satisfies your customers. If you have any other questions or feel as though speaking to chatbot specialists would be of use, get in touch with our professional advisors today.

Have a question or want further information on improving customer service? Our expert team have been providing customer contact solutions for over 25 years. Call us on 01344 595800 or drop us a line.

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