What do you picture when you hear the word "bot"? Because bots are truly versatile in their capabilities and applications, you might envision any number of things. Twitter bots, spam bots, crawler bots — these are just a few of the many types of bots out there contributing to the stigma associated with AI on the web.
Of course, not all bots are created equal. While some are used for nefarious purposes, other types of bots are designed to entertain. You've probably seen memes of people who "forced" a bot to write a script for a commercial or TV show. Or maybe a funny conversation from Cleverbot.
Chatbots are a true neutral type of bot that greets website visitors, assists customers with queries, and qualifies leads for businesses. Despite their benefits, chatbots have an undeserved bad reputation. Some critics accuse chatbots of "killing customer service", all because they're not human.
That's a little harsh, to say the least. Especially in a world where AI has the potential to improve countless aspects of our lives, from disease detection to climate change.
Chatbots can't solve the climate crisis (yet), but they're capable of so much more than they're given credit for. So without further ado, let's debunk some of the most harmful myths about chatbots.
Chatbot Myth #1: They sound robotic
Chatbots sound however a business wants them to sound, because humans (usually) write the scripts. Businesses are always free to tweak their scripts however they see fit to preserve their brand's authenticity and voice.
ZyraTalk comes fully loaded with pre-written scripts for the industries we serve, including home services, medical, dental, legal, and automotive. We've analyzed thousands of conversations across hundreds of businesses to discover what drives conversions and maximizes chat completion rates.
Some intellectually independent bots are capable of analyzing chats, learning, and optimizing their responses themselves. This involves machine learning, which is related to but separate from AI. Most businesses won't need technology this advanced if their main goals include answering frequently asked questions, driving conversions, or qualifying leads.
Chatbot Myth #2: They're incapable of understanding natural human speech
Many modern chatbots, including ZyraTalk, are built with Natural Language Processing (NLP) parameters. These parameters assist the chatbot with processing information and user intent.
NLP relies on text classifiers to determine what users need. Custom buttons can simplify this process for your business and your customers.
The first step is analyzing your chats to anticipate your customers' needs. From there, you can create buttons and write scripts that address your customers' needs, boost customer loyalty, and increase conversions.
Let's say a visitor lands on your site. A chatbot greets them with a warm welcome and invites them to click one of the custom buttons embedded in the window.
They click "I want to chat." The bot asks how they can help and provides two options: "I have a question," and "I want to schedule a meeting."
They can either click one of those buttons or type their own message. The bot will assess the classifiers — in this case, "question" or "meeting" — and respond accordingly.
That said, chatbots aren't perfect. (They're kind of like humans in that respect.) That's why hybrid solutions that work alongside humans are best suited to answering questions and resolving complaints.
Chatbot Myth #3: People don't like talking to bots
Ever asked Siri to tell you a joke or Alexa to play your favorite song? You're talking to a bot. Of course, you probably already knew that, but you probably don't think about it all that much.
People use automated virtual assistants to save themselves time. And businesses use chatbots for the exact same reason.
Installing an automated chatbot is much more cost-effective than staffing a customer service team to qualify leads and manually answer the same questions over and over.
That doesn't mean businesses don't need customer service agents. Besides, customers expect authenticity and a touch of humanity. Which is why many automated chat solutions, including ZyraTalk, allow humans to jump into a conversation at any time.
Omnichannel conversational marketing platforms like ZyraTalk also integrate with other messaging apps, like Facebook Messenger. So if you've messaged a business on Facebook, you've probably spoken with a bot.
Despite that, some people will want to talk to a human. And that's okay. That's the main advantage of hybrid solutions. All your customers need to do is mention they'd like to speak to a human and the chatbot will notify your team automatically. Easy peasy.
Debunking myths about chatbots: wrapping up
After dispelling some of the most common myths about chatbots, we hope we've convinced you that not all bots are created equal.
Automated chatbots have come a long way since they were first invented in 1988. You've likely chatted with a bot and didn't even know it. And if you use Siri or Alexa regularly, you have your own little automated assistant at your disposal.
Despite that, the common misconception that bots are inauthentic or ill-equipped to understand humans still lingers. And while chatbots aren't perfect, automation is an evolving field. We've seen remarkable developments year after year.
Still not convinced? Give our own bot a test drive. You know where to find it — after all, it greeted you on your way in!