Either you want to order food delivery, find an outfit for the night, buy rare flowers and send it to your girlfriend or anything like that – in the industrial era, these services looked quite differently. We have gone an impressively long evolutionary road from reaching out services by a call to using chatbots.
From calling we moved to using first applications, which were able to help at least halfway with these routine tasks and appeared to be extremely time-saving. And, finally, we woke up in a happy awareness that we were living in the era of automation which made things as easy as we didn’t even dare to imagine.
However, new technologies always bring some advantages and disadvantages we need to face and consider. Education, marketing, healthcare, lifestyle, customer services – all of these fields suddenly turned out to be divided into automated tasks which can be delegated to virtual assistants. Considering such a cross-field popularity, it’s obviously important to have a clear vision of the pros and cons of chatbots. So let’s get started!
Pros of chatbots:
- time-saving possibilities and convenience – for both buyer’s and business’s parts;
- money- and time-saving – for the business part;
- wide profit increasing options – for the business part.
Think about the way you were accustomed to buying things earlier. Before online stores became not just popular but truly irreplaceable part of our life, you had to leave a place in your schedule for shopping. Sometimes you had to spend whole your weekend this way. With the emergence of online stores, most of us refused to go to regular ones anymore.
But even sitting in your chair in front of your laptop and scrolling thousand of items you can waste your time just as much if you went outside to shopping mall. As you can see, it’s more about an illusion of difference.
What has changed?
Now, most of the online stores have chatbots that can help you with less time and energy expenses to find your way out to the thing you really need. Powered by the image recognition, some of the chatbots enable you to upload pictures of what you wear to further assist you in finding new clothes according to your taste.
Is it good for us, consumers? Yes, it’s helpful and it saves time. Is there anything we want more than this? (What would we answer those who run an online store?) Definitely, we would say them “yes”.
On one hand, it speeds up a process of finding products, therefore provides a comfortable interface for buyers, and thus yields more money. On the other hand, you don’t need to hire a lot of human assistants and rent a huge place for your store in the city center. Comparing to a regular store, you can spare a lot of money and earn just as much with an online store and a bunch of virtual assistants and only a few human consultants.
Availability and speed (24/7)
Now let’s think about ordering food. Is there anybody here who still remembers how it used to be with no possibility to order food except making a phone call? How easy it became after tech boom!
Thousands of websites and apps emerged to help you with your search for something either special or just ordinary depending on your cuisine preferences and receive it at your door. However, it’s still a deal of time you’d anyway need to spend doing your search.
With chatbots, you don’t need to jump from one app to another to pick up right solution. You’ll be able to do it nearly at once 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Just keep in mind what you enjoy to eat.
Is it something we need as consumers? Maybe it isn’t one of our primary needs but our work isn’t already measured only by “from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.”. Many of us have quite unordered working habits that don’t fit into the standard work hours.
Sometimes we just want to press few buttons and get access to the best places in the surroundings without getting in touch with anyone. We don’t want to be measured either by the time of the day or by an amount of information. That’s what virtual assistant helps us to easily overcome.
Is there anything helpful for us, those who run restaurants? We say “yes” again. People frequently face some difficulties with websites for food ordering. It makes the process more complicated while the main law is: “Everything that slows down is bad”.
The less time it takes for a consumer to come across our restaurant, and further on to find what he(she) needs – the more likely he(she) will make an order. Everything craves for easiness. However, sometimes to make it easier for customers costs a lot for business. In the case of chatbots, we don’t need to put a lot of efforts into making it possible.
Imagine another case. It’s late night and you’re in trouble with your child crying all the time. You think that there’ s the only way to wait until the morning time to connect with a real doctor.
However, with a chatbot (HealthTap), you can get access to a large amount of medical data and connect to the doctor who will help you with temporary advice and direct you further to the doctor you need to turn to next day. This is an example of the scenario where availability, together with the high processing capacity, really makes difference.
Handling generic tasks
There will be always this kind of tasks when you have a certain amount of repetitive work that should be automated but either creation of app and/or web-site or hiring somebody who can do the work that doesn’t require any specific knowledge would be rather expensive. In these cases, chatbots come in to help.
Consider such situation: you need your incoming information to get sorted. Chatbots can help you organize all the data. In fact, you can deploy a bot as your personal assistant, who handles your data, reminds you throughout the day about important things, tracks your expenses, and provides you with the insights.
When it goes about data mining, bots are way more effective than humans. This is the main reason to delegate all the tasks, concerned with the processing information, to the virtual assistants rather than to human ones.
A simple app can’t handle that because you would anyway have to make a lot of actions, but a chatbot can! Such stuff as pushing secret buttons, getting more information from other resources, coordinating your directions, and much more can be easily implemented in a modern chatbot.
Chatbots were invented for communicating your needs in the most natural and efficient way and they are successfully dealing with this. Why would you consider it as a something advantageous for a customer?
Because everything becomes extremely easy when you can deal with your work tasks and routine stuff staying in the same messenger where you conversate with your friends, and everything you need is to message your virtual assistant.
Is it good for business clients that deploy bots for online assistance or promotion? It’s helpful because people like bi-directional interaction, they don’t want to stay alone with all of this functionality. They don’t want to crawl through all of your service’s intricacies. And this is another reason why robotic assistants are extremely helpful.
Cons of chatbots:
I believe that among pros and cons of chatbots, it’s even more important to learn about the disadvantageous part. It can help to create an objective picture and find a right fit for a chatbot in your business processes. So let’s try to be as objective as we can and figure out chatbot disadvantages.
The problem of chatbots now is that they can be effectively set for performing an exact task, maybe few similar tasks, but not more. Of course, you can run another bot that will coordinate work of few chatbots at your disposal.
However, it may make things more complicated and difficult to be controlled while chatbots serve to make them easier. In case of consumer requests beyond the range of bot’s knowledge, there could be a misunderstanding if there’s no human consultant to deal with such issues.
Not everything can be taught
Even though AI-driven chatbots can learn, there’s still a lot that needs to be scripted, which usually comes as the most disappointing among all chatbot advantages.
Regarding all modern tools for creating bots, the development process can be cut extensively (comparatively to the creation of the app). However, it still requires hiring professionals who would make it almost perfect (everything can be improved with the time).
Customer service still needs human involvement
It often works in the following way: customer contacts the service. Virtual assistant receives inquiry and asks additional questions to be sure where to direct user. When directions are defined, a user is being redirected to a human assistant who handles this type of services. It isn’t possible so far to automate all the process completely when it comes to complicated services.
“Chat is going to be the next great operating system. Apps will come to be thought of as the new browsers; bots will be the new websites. This is the beginning of a new Internet.” These are the words of KIK CEO Ted Livingston who have launched Bot Store for his messenger platform.
Many of the top executives who deal with the innovative processes today agree on this point of view. Even though there’s a lot to be improved in the bot development, results are already quite impressive. Chatbots successfully handle a bunch of tasks which would take an eternity for human (data mining and processing, making predictions).
Also, chatbots embody a perfect tool for automating the work of personal assistants, promoters, consultants. Therefore, you can easily spare time and money, get permanent access, and even increase your profit by deploying a bot.
Disadvantages of one or another approach will always exist. However, most of those that we can currently observe in chatbots are just an issue of a short period of time.