Recently I signed up on a website for more information so I could see more photos of some houses. It was a real estate website.
The following days I got multiple text messages and emails bombarding me with questions if I was ready to sell my home. They wanted to know if I was ready in 3 months or 6 months to sell my home.
Not just one message but then two, and then three. It was like an army of chatbots not stopping on my phone. They kept on coming, day after day.
Then I got this message “Hope you had a great day! I know schedules get crazy and sometimes later in the day is better to chat. I’d like to get an idea of what you are looking for while you’re shopping. Are you free for a quick call this week?”
Really? I never responded I was looking.
So, What Is a Chatbot Exactly?
According to Wikipedia: A chatbot is a piece of software that conducts a conversation via auditory or textual methods. Such programs are often designed to convincingly simulate how a human would behave as a conversational partner, although as of 2019, they are far short of being able to pass the Turing test.
It got me thinking…
Do the chatbots really work or are they a marketing tool that annoys the heck out of the consumer?
I had tried one on my Facebook page a while back and I didn’t like how it went down. It responded to questions from clients or readers of my page before I had a chance to. Then I responded and it, the chatbot responded again and again.
I could tell people were annoyed! None the less, I did not keep them on my Facebook page for long. I didn’t see any value in them there. The chatbot asked my readers if they wanted to be emailed for more information, 14 out of 15 said no before I shut it down.
Now mind you, these were a free test, I can’t imagine paying for them to annoy my customers!
Chatbots on Websites
Now the chatbots on websites that can answer your questions in a timely manner are a grade above of the ones I’ve encountered on social media and other websites. But these are more likely tied to a person behind them, called Live Chat and not a real chatbot per say. I’m warming up to these more and more. They are not annoying as the real chatbots above.
Recently I’ve read McDonald’s is starting with chatbots at the drive through window. Will we count on them to get the menu order, right? And, will they be able to understand different languages and accents? I imagine being a chatbot is not any easy job!
McDonald’s acquiring Apprente sends a signal to the industry that voice assistants at drive-throughs is more than just a passing fad. They may be here to stay.
I know these chatbots are taking over most industries today. But do consumers love them as much as marketers do? Where will it all end?
Are You Ready for Chatbots?
I’d love to know if you have used chatbots in your business and how they have helped your business or not.
I’m not finding them helpful in my business yet, but I keep reading about how wonderful these chatbots are from marketing guru’s every day!