chatbot user adoption

5 Obstacles to Chatbot User Adoption & How to Overcome Them


Winning over potential chatbot users is no easy task, but it can be done with the right mindset and approach

You expected chatbot user adoption to be easy, didn’t you? ?

Let’s be honest. When building your chatbot, you were so thrilled with the user experience that you expected users to flock to it in droves once it went live. Now you’re three months in post-live and practically banging your head against the wall when analyzing the user data.

Not only are users not lining up to use your chatbot as you’d hoped, but the numbers are well below the benchmarks you’ve set. Don’t worry; you’re not alone. Several inherent obstacles are a hindrance to virtually all chatbot user adoption, but they can be overcome. Obligatory disclaimer: it won’t be easy though…

Does this remind you of your chatbot user adoption struggle?

1. Chatbots are unproven versus the status quo ?

Remember the struggle mobile apps had converting web browser users several years ago? That same struggle seems pretty non-existent today, doesn’t it?

Chatbots are currently in the same situation that mobile apps were in several years ago. Users are often creatures of habit and will get comfortable with the workflows and technologies that they use on a day-to-day basis. Getting users to cross the line and adopt something new is no easy feat, and the same applies to chatbot user adoption.

So what can you do to overcome this?

First off, be patient and persistent with a focus on the long term. If you analyze your chatbot’s user adoption in the short term, you will find yourself overreacting and making impulse decisions that don’t fit with your best long-term interests.

In addition to being patient, you need to make sure your chatbot leaves an excellent initial impression and showcases some form of value to the user that the status quo isn’t providing. If users don’t see this value almost immediately or see a product riddled with bugs and shortcomings, you can bet that they will immediately crawl back to whatever product or tool they were using before they gave your chatbot a shot.

2. User expectations often far exceed reality ?

This struggle is all too real in the chatbot space right now. So many users expect chatbots and the AI that powers them to be something out of a Sci-Fi movie. Unfortunately, that’s just not the reality in today’s chatbot landscape.

While chatbots can do a lot of great things and provide excellent opportunities for automation, they are still not smarter than humans. The chatbot user adoption struggle is real folks…

Don’t be surprised if users expect your chatbot to be on this level…

So what can you do to overcome this?

Don’t oversell your chatbot as something it isn’t. If your chatbot can only answer basic questions about the weather, that’s fine, but don’t sell users on it being their a personal meteorologist in their pocket. If you do that, you can expect a lot of first-time users that will never become recurring users.

Crafting a sound welcome message for your chatbot can set realistic expectations for users regarding what it can and can not do. While this may be a less sexy way to sell your chatbot, it will improve the overall user experience and lead to more repeat usage.

3. Organizational Failure to Properly Integrate Chatbots ?

This struggle applies to organizations trying to implement chatbots into their existing technology portfolio and everyday workflows. Too often, there is a failure to truly understand the potential impact chatbots will have when thrown into an organization for internal use.

I get it. Chatbots are sexy and one of the most prominent technological fads at the moment, but that doesn’t mean they’re miracle workers and always the right decision. There are instances where chatbots may not coexist well with the workflows or existing technologies within an organization, and that’s fine. Forcing chatbots into the mix just for the sake of having chatbots, however, is not a good practice.

So what can you do to overcome this?

Whether you work for an external agency looking to integrate chatbots within a client organization or a key stakeholder vetting the possibility of incorporating chatbots internally, you need to do your due diligence and have a success plan in place. Key things to consider include:

  • Do chatbots create synergy with the rest of the organization’s technologies?
  • Will chatbots make a noticeable difference in the productivity and success of the organization, and if so, what metrics and goals can be used to assess their effectiveness?
  • Does the organization have a culture that will embrace the use of chatbots?
  • What is the potential ROI for the adoption of chatbots and how likely is it that this ROI can be met?

If any of those questions result in a resounding ‘No,’ then you may want to reconsider the chatbot implementation or at the very least create a plan that helps to flip that resounding ‘No’ into a potential ‘Yes.’

4. User activity is completely unpredictable ?

This struggle is arguably the most frustrating and challenging when it comes to chatbot user adoption yet also the most enjoyable aspect of working on chatbots at times. This struggle of never knowing exactly how users are going to interact with a chatbot is part of the thrill that makes chatbots so fun to build and chatbot user adoption so tricky.

Let’s face it, you can add beautiful menus of response buttons and as many utterances to those intents as you want, but ultimately users are going to create a conversation that you and your chatbot are entirely unprepared for. It’s inevitable but ultimately part of the fun. Embrace the uncertainty, move quickly, and learn from your mistakes.

Chatbot users will never cease to surprise and amaze with the things they’ll say.

So what can you do to overcome this?

Analytics, analytics, and oh yeah, more analytics! Analytics are critical to identifying the biggest pitfalls that are hindering chatbot user adoption. Without analytics, you will find yourself blindly making decisions and overreacting to short-term trends.

You’re never going to build a chatbot that will appease every user it encounters so you need to leverage analytics to figure out how to design your chatbot in a way that pleases the masses while pissing off the fewest. Oh, and when your chatbot does fail to satisfy what a user wants, make sure to have an effective fallback response that at least attempts to get the user back on track in the conversation.

5. Public fear and distrust over Chatbots and AI ?

Unfortunately, this obstacle is out of your control for the most part. For many, AI and chatbots represent a brewing evil that is out to take our jobs and eventually take over planet earth. While the rest of us all know that couldn’t be further from the truth, this public perception that has been building over the last few years can negatively impact chatbot user adoption.

Sadly, many users have this same fear when it comes to AI and chatbots…

So what can you do to overcome this?

As I already mentioned, there is unfortunately only so much you can do to overcome this chatbot user adoption struggle. Branding your chatbot as a tool that provides positive value to humanity is a start and can be further aided by giving your chatbot a friendly avatar and personality.

Remember that over time this negative connotation will die down as the public sees for themselves that AI and chatbots are not the root of all evil and in reality benefiting humanity.

You can do it. No seriously, you really can ?

Be patient, learn from your mistakes, and don’t give up. If you do this you will get over your chatbot user adoption struggles with time. After all, nothing worth accomplishing ever comes easy.

Keep calm and chatbot on…

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