<span id="hs_cos_wrapper_name" class="hs_cos_wrapper hs_cos_wrapper_meta_field hs_cos_wrapper_type_text" style="" data-hs-cos-general-type="meta_field" data-hs-cos-type="text" >So you want to talk about chatbots</span>
04/21/2021

So you want to talk about chatbots

Imagine this: You’ve just discovered this amazing company that has exactly what you need to help you. You immediately head to their website to buy their product, where a tiny chatbot pops up in the corner. No problem. You hit the “X” and carry on with your site browsing.

And then it pops up again. And again. And again. Let’s face it, you’re annoyed. 

We’ve talked before about customer experience and the over-optimization of the customer, and recently touched on chatbots on LinkedIn. We all know that the customer experience should be enjoyable. You want them to want to buy your company's product. So what can you do to improve their journey with your company? Let’s start with simplifying the marketing automations they come across along the way. 

The bots are evolving

As someone who’s been looking at a lot of websites lately, I’ve come across hundreds of chatbots over the past few months. Some are great. Others are, well, not. 

In my opinion, the ones that are the least helpful are those that not only pop up over and over, but also have an audible chime to accompany it. These chatbots can be very frustrating. They’re interruptive. They take away from the enjoyable experience that browsing a website should be. Oftentimes they have the opposite effect, making the customer want nothing more than to leave the website completely. 

In my most recent website prospecting searches, 52 out of 89 sites had a chatbot pop up shortly after I went to a company's website. A number of them blink and add an unread message counter in the browser tab. Thankfully, only a handful of these sites had a bot that bings at you, but most of them didn't go away after hitting “X”, making my experience slightly annoying. 

gif on bots

What I’ve found during my research is the simpler the better. Chatbots that have a quick pop-up but don’t continue to bug you are the best. They let the customer know that you’re there if they need you, while also letting them explore your website on their own. 

Bots that pop up with suggestions within a minute or two of browsing are also great, especially when they’re based on browsing history or other information you know about a visitor. The use of simple AI to figure out what your potential customer is interested in shows that you want to make sure that they get what they are looking for. 

Chatbots aren’t bad!

This post isn’t supposed to make you question everything about your website. Marketing to your customer is an important part of turning them from a potential lead to an actual lead. Chatbots can actually be a really helpful part of this process when implemented correctly and effectively. 

My main suggestions are to think about removing the chime that comes along with every single new pop up and to provide a way for the customer to close the bot if they don’t want to engage. If it's on the first page, no problem. You want people to know that it's there and a small blink draws attention to that. However, it doesn't need to be there when your potential customer goes to every new page of your website.

Finally, letting a customer select something in the chat window that says “No, I do know what I'm looking for and don't need help at this time” is another way to make their experience more enjoyable. They will come to you if they need help, but it's good that you let them know that you're there to assist them if needed.

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