Don’t you just love a good customer conversation? It’s the perfect opportunity to connect, to serve, to help, and yes, it’s your chance to sell.
And according to the experts, this is the year it’s all going to get a whole lot easier as chatbots take over the conversations, freeing up your time and cutting your customer support costs.
You see, the real benefit of chatbots is that — in theory — they’re able to simulate and process human conversation so well, you feel like you’re communicating with a real life person.
But over the past two weeks I’ve been hanging out with my comedy improv heroes, Free Tacos, and they’ve been performing scripts of actual chatbot conversations.
On a scale of 1-10, where 1 is super-robot-like, and 10 is totally-believable-human, I don’t think any of the business chatbots I’ve featured have scored higher than a 4!
I’m still skulking about the Doghouse Theater in Delray Beach, Florida, and Rebecca and Catherine of Free Tacos are going to take to the stage once again with one of my real life chatbot scripts.
This week, it’s time to put GRT Hotels in the chatbot hotseat (remember to check out the video for the full performance effect!)
Chatbot: Hi, welcome to GRT Group of Hotels, I am GReaTA, your friendly bot agent. How can I assist you today?
Drew: I'm going to India in April and I was looking at your hotels.
Chatbot: Hi, what name can I call you with?
Chatbot: Hey, before I answer your question, would you mind sharing your number, so that I and my team can contact you and help you with the best rates. No spam calls.
Chatbot: Please let me know which city you are looking for the details.
Drew (scrolling through available options): More.
Chatbot: Please let me know the city for which you are looking for details.
Chatbot: Please choose a hotel.
Drew: Radisson Blu.
Chatbot: I don't have enough information about our property in India. May we interest you in--
Drew: View rooms.
Okay, Loyalty Loopers, how did GRT measure up? Where are they going to land on our robot-human scale?
For me, we’re still hovering around the more robot-y end of the scale — I’d say 2 sounds about right. But there’s no need for GRT to send their chatbot into self-destruct mode; a few relatively simple tweaks would be enough to launch them further up the scale and help them become way more helpful to their customers.
Firstly, the chatbot is looking for far too much info upfront. They ask for my name straight away, which would be fine if they’d actually gone on to use it. But they didn’t, so it felt more like data-gathering than an actual human conversation. Then they followed up by asking for my number which was too much, too fast.
If you want your chatbot conversations to feel natural, you gotta keep it simple — there were just too many options here when it came to choosing the city I was looking for. It would’ve been far better for GRT Hotels to allow me to choose a city just by typing it in.
This should go without saying but given that GRT Hotels chatbot didn’t even work, and theirs isn’t the only malfunctioning bot I’ve come across, it looks like it’s worth another mention. Make sure your chatbot actually answers your customers’ questions and tells them what they need to know. This particular chatbot couldn’t give me any of the information I needed, even after a fairly lengthy round of questioning.
Now, I’m wondering if I should revise their score…what do you think? Let me know in the comments below if you think scoring them a 2 was too generous! And don’t forget to take the time to print out a transcript of a conversation between your own chatbot and one of your customers and read it aloud. Does it measure up? Where does it fall on the robot-human scale?
Don’t miss the next couple of episodes of the Loyalty Loop where we’re having some more Chatbot Theater fun. Subscribe now to get access a day before everyone else.