March 27, 2024

How Chatbots Fail and How To Avoid It

Did you encounter a chatbot crush or failure and don’t know what to do? Our comprehensive guide covers the most common types of chatbot fails and how organizations and businesses can address and reduce the risks of them happening again.

Written by
Yuriy Pulyaev
CTO

Chatbots have become a vital part of retail, e-commerce, and healthcare, with more organizations adopting them daily. These solutions help people choose the right products, get information about the terms of service, perform symptom checks, and order statuses. The integration of artificial intelligence made these products even more versatile.

While chatbots save $20 million in business expenses, they don’t always perform well. Experiencing chatbot failure never looks good for enterprises that rely on their help to streamline client support. Our guide covers the main issues they can encounter and the best strategies for fixing or minimizing them.

Case 1: Early Deployment

The source of most ills associated with chatbots is a sped-up development process and deployment. While companies may have the best intentions, this approach may only sometimes provide the best results. Simsimi is one of the biggest chatbot fails, often producing nonsensical or offensive responses due to a lack of proper filtering and reliance on crowd-sourced information.

Best Strategy:

To mitigate this risk, organizations involved with chatbot creation should check out as many scenarios for user interactions as possible before deployment. Implementing filters is vital to avoid providing discriminatory or offensive language in chatbot responses. In AI-based products, careful fine-tuning of LLMs produces informative and polite interactives.

Case 2: Channel Pivoting

People expect to use a single communication channel to solve their issues. Chatbots have trouble addressing these requests and continuously direct people to emails, live agents, and back. Customers rarely appreciate such rollercoasters, making them less likely to stay loyal. It also undermines the purpose of having a chatbot.

Best Strategy:

Enterprises must do their best to turn these solutions into 1-place solutions for all customer needs. To make a chatbot crush any question, they should possess all the information about terms of service, products, and potential risks. A hardware store can equip its helper with data on parts, basic repair manuals, and store locations where people solve more complicated issues. AI makes programming chatbots to answer these questions more streamlined.

Case 3: Directing Users From The Chatbot

Poorly built chatbots actively try to prevent people from using them by directing users to other sources. They provide links to outside resources and website pages. This defeats the very purpose of these solutions, as they don’t offer any information. In this situation, they become nothing more than navigation tools instead of customer helpers.

Best Strategy:

Chatbots should have all of the necessary information without having people open twenty additional Chrome tabs. They should only provide links when people demand them. Otherwise, a chatbot fails as there’s no reason to have it on a website. That’s why companies should also carefully understand why they wish to have such solutions in the first place.

Case 4: Failure To Comprehend Context

Conversational solutions don’t always have the best time comprehending user requests. Even the best chatbots fail to understand slang, figurative speech, or questions about niche topics. This leads to poor interaction outcomes and customer frustration. A chatbot should, in theory, be able to answer all questions, no matter how they’re formulated.

Best Strategy:

Such situations can be avoided by training chatbots on vast databases of similar conversations. Engineers feed this information into the large language models used in AI-based solutions. Enterprises bolster their assistants further by giving them access to data on items, services, and industry standards.

Case: 5: Improper Programming

A common issue with chatbots is their inability to comprehend requests outside the scope of pre-programmed responses. For example, they only recognize specific dates instead of terms like weeks or months. When users ask these chatbots questions like “What high-rated movies have your cinema played lately?” they may fail to understand their requests. This happens as bots are often made to follow a single scenario for all interactions.

Best Strategy:

To avoid such embarrassing situations, enterprises invest in equipping their solutions with NLP technology. This component allows applications to understand requests, remember past interactions, and better solve client needs. It decreases the risk of chatbot failure through continuous self-improvement and provides more accurate information the more user conversations they have.

Case 6: Lack Of Personalization

While more people prefer talking to chatbots than live agents, they don’t wish the conversations to sound robotic. Sometimes, they have been company clients for many years and wanted to be treated with a more personal touch. When a chatbot fails to do this, it talks to loyal customers as if they were their first-time visitors.

Best Strategy:

To provide a better level of personalization, companies invest in AI-based solutions instead of tiring themselves and developing conversation scenarios for different buyer categories. This approach leads to tailored conversations using extensive datasets and customer history.

Case 7: Launch Issues

In rare cases, enterprises end up with solutions that don’t work at all. There may be issues with the back or front-end parts of the products, but the result is the same. There’s nothing worse than spending time and resources on a solution that doesn’t work. It also looks terrible when customers discover a pointless feature on a website or app. If the business doesn’t care if it works, why should the visitors?

Best Strategy:

The only way to address cases of complete chatbot crush is for enterprises to take the development process seriously. They must test and finetune solutions until they become confident with their use and ability to handle different scenarios. Small and medium-sized enterprises can benefit from partnering up with dedicated chatbot developers.

Case 8: Not Directing To Agents

One of the most frustrating things users can experience is when chatbots keep holding them in a loop of questions and answers. In normal circumstances, these solutions direct people to appropriate support agents. However, sometimes, a chatbot fails and gets stuck on reparative scripts or has no option of transferring customers to live experts.

Best Strategy:

When working on chatbots, enterprises must ensure there’s always an option of accessing employees during all parts of user interactions. One of the most common methods of addressing this risk is allowing visitors to type in the “speak to agent” command. It’s also possible to avoid the use of chatbots for VIP clients.

Case 9: Outdated Responses

Chatbots are only as good as the accuracy of their responses. When clients get directions to shut down branches or are recommended discontinued products, this doesn’t look good for the enterprise or its reputation. People are often in a hurry when chatting with a bot, and getting wrong answers frustrates and annoys them. This increases the risk of brand image damage and customer churn, ultimately decreasing sales and the client base.

Best Strategy: 

Companies should monitor chatbot responses to ensure they give the most accurate information. Customer feedback helps in this process, but the solutions must have direct access to the appropriate databases. For example, an e-commerce store can link a chatbot to its inventory, ensuring that it provides concrete data on available products and their quantity.

Case 10: Too Much Information

People expect a comprehensive experience from chatbot interaction. But, sometimes, their answers can become too specific. In these cases, solutions provide one response after another, confusing users and making them spend too much time understanding which answer is most beneficial. Most importantly, it stops a person from using the chatbot or trying to make sense of the responses they get.

Best Strategy: 

Enterprises should fine-tune the responses of their solutions to provide only the most relevant information. For example, whenever a person asks for the location of the closest bank, the response shouldn’t read “333 S Hope St STE 100, Los Angeles, CA 90071, United States”. It should be cut to the address “333 S Hope St STE 100” if the person is already in the area.

Case 11: Proactive Chat Abuse

There’s a subtle difference between sending people proactive messages and turning this practice into relentless bombardment. This happens when solutions lack the personal touch, are too aggressive, or invite the wrong people to chat. Instead of being helpful and a sales driver, they quickly become pests. In the worst cases, chatbots continue to annoy users who explicitly decline their help.

Best Strategy:

Companies must train chatbots to send proactive messages based on specific criteria and situations to avoid such situations. AI-enhanced solutions access customer information and initiate conversations based on their buying history. For example, a solution can notify users about discounts on items in particular categories, when products reappear in stock, or when warranties are close to expiration.

Case 12: Wrong Settings

There are instances when chatbots are deployed without proper interaction flows. Users break their heads trying to understand how solutions provide the correct information. The programmers behind such products only give commands to initiate conversations without getting users from point A to point B.

Best Strategy:

To avoid similar scenarios, enterprises must fine-tune chatbots to follow different conversational workflows. With AI-based products, it's always possible to adjust the responses and lead clients to more favorable interaction outcomes. Many companies help businesses fine-tune their products and improve the quality of customer services.

Conclusion

Chatbots are a powerful tool that builds brand loyalty and revenue. Awareness of their drawbacks and possible failures helps companies create more robust products from the start, maximize their benefits, and mitigate risks. For further questions, please book a free consultation with our experts, who will explain all the intricacies of effective chatbot development.

Customer retention is the key

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What are the most relevant factors to consider?

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Don’t overspend on growth marketing without good retention rates

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What’s the ideal customer retention rate?

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Next steps to increase your customer retention

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