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Should merchants be using customer support chatbot apps on their ecommerce websites?

By Dan Wilson August 8, 2018 - 2:43 pm

They’re increasingly visible when you use the web. It could be shopping sites or service providers: automated chatbot apps offering to answer your questions have become almost ubiquitous. It’s usually in the form of a pop-up asking you something along the lines of “Can I help you?”

The aims to give visitors the chance to immediately sate their curiosity, get the answers they want and put their hands in their pockets.

But do they actually work? In some instances they can be intensely irritating and invasive. Especially when they are persistent and you don’t need any assistance. It’s not hard to imagine that they drive people away as well as help. But that they are so commonplace would also suggest that they are used and useful.

And they should become more vital to ecommerce merchants as machine learning and artificial intelligence technology advances. The only major concern is that such technology might prove to be expensive to implement and therefore priced out of reach for smaller merchants selling online.

The proof would, as ever, be in the pudding. The key measurement would be conversion. And it would make a great deal of sense to vomiter the extent to which people who contacted the chatbot subsequently became paying customers.

If you have an ecommerce website already up and running then it is perhaps something you should consider, especially if it’s a feature that your website provider already offers and you can, effectively, switch it on with relative ease. Most likely it wouldn’t come with an additional cost.

What will require rather more inout and resources will be the set-up and helping the chatbot learn the answers to common queries. Indeed, that’s what we’d like to from you about if you have the experience. How easy was it to set up a chatbot, what did you need to do and would you recommend that other merchants adopt the technology?

We’ve considered the uses of chatbots and livechat in two other posts:

  • james
    4 months ago

    if you find you need an automated voicemail service where you “press 1 to be ignored, 2 to be hung up on, 3 to return to the previous menu, 4 to go on eternal hold….”
    then you may be just the market for a chatbot.
    i find either option equally fun as a customer.

    personally i’d rather have the infomation presented to me in a regular manner, delivery times for example, should be on the product page, or under the header “delivery info” at the top of the page where it’s easily found. not hidden behind a game of 20 questions.

    “what item would you like delivered”
    “where would you like it delivered”
    “sorry i don’t recognise ‘to my house’ as a valid location”
    “would you like the free delivery, or paid delivery”
    “which paid delivery option would you like to choose”
    “would you like installation with that”
    “I think it was colonel mustard in the library with the candlestick”
    “error 314 please contact support”

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