Published on
March 10, 2023
Automation and Self-service

Disadvantages of Chatbots: Understanding the Limitations and Drawbacks

Krishna Charan
min read

We all remember how retail and brick-and-mortar stores had to double down on their digital presence during the pandemic. Chatbot adoption has inevitably accelerated since, as businesses needed to deflect some of the huge online support volume that came as a consequence. In the last 3 years, chatbots have inserted themselves into every aspect of customer experience.  

So much so that in 2022, a Google engineer ended up claiming that their AI chatbot, LaMDA, has gone sentient, i.e., to develop the ability to think and perceive like a living being

But relax, we aren’t here for some dark science-fiction on how bots are taking over the world. Although, let’s discuss the reality where chatbots are taking over customer experience, and in turn, removing the “human” element of support and also affecting customer self service.

Read Also:

Why do Chatbots Fail? Limitations and Drawbacks of Chatbots in Customer Service

About 71% of American customers (source) would prefer a human instead of a chatbot in their support conversations. And the natural language understanding (NLU) capabilities of chatbots such as intent detection and emotional intelligence don’t really help the cause.

Factors that make Chatbots Insufficient in Customer Support

1.  Verticalization of Intent 

Chatbots are deployed in multiple industries where the inner workings of customer service are dynamic. The terms used by eCommerce customers may drastically differ from technology or hospitality businesses. Bringing these variations into consideration is a tough job that requires rigorous “intent training”.

Read Also: Ecommerce Customer Service: Best Practices & Use Cases

2. Over-allocation of Human Resources

Can you imagine dedicating most of your agents’ time in testing and training these chatbots until they reach a level of maturity to handle customer queries? It kills the purpose, doesn’t it? Instead of providing zero-touch resolutions and cutting costs, you could end up allocating a team for quality assurance to upload different types of conversation inputs – all to just help the bot classify and respond to intent better.

3. Conversational and Linguistic Barriers

Scalability is a huge issue for a growing business. If you’re in a position to expand to new regions and start responding to queries from new languages, you might have to start a deployment process all over again. Even if it’s just English, expecting an AI chatbot to catch multiple linguistic variations and forms of expression—such as passive aggression, sarcasm, humor, slang, and incorrect phrases—would not be wise for the long-term. Trust us, you don’t want to end up as an example in a “chatbot fails” piece like the one below.

Chatbot Disadvantage

But is there a way around chatbots that can truly empower customers? We believe customer self service is the answer. Self service workflows give the control back to your customers and more importantly, don’t insult their intelligence like AI chatbots do.

How to Automate Customer Service without AI-powered Chatbots

We all need to get on the same page about automating customer service. The goal is not to completely eliminate customer-agent conversations. Human conversations are most integral to customer support. But the purpose is to help customers find solutions by themselves without creating a dependency; thereby saving your agents’ efforts for more complex queries that need human intervention. 

Which is why, a self service widget would be the best chatbot alternative offering a better customer experience and workload deflection for agents.

Some basic house-keeping to do before implementing a self service workflow – evaluate and categorize your support tickets. Do a basic scoring of your agent-customer interactions based on urgency, query complexity, customer effort, and agent effort. This will help you determine what type of questions go into a:

  • Guided Self Service Workflow
  • Instant Automated Response
  • Solution Article
  • Agent Helpdesk 

Halve your Ticket Volume with a Smart Self Service Widget

Most of the customer queries don’t need an agent if customers are provided the necessary system to resolve problems by themselves. What this also means is that your agents have more time to spend on difficult requests, building customer relationships, and discovering cross-sell and up-sell opportunities.

Setting up a Self-service Widget

Self Service Scenarios. Create Free Account to Setup Self Service
  • Map your customer journey and trace their path to a resolution for common customer problems.
  • For context, if yours is an eCommerce store, ensure that all your customer information including order details, purchase history, delivery information, and warranty are integrated into the widget. discover more Shopify Customer Accounts
  • Build a step-by-step guided path where customers can interact with the widget by choosing the support options in the self-service workflow. 

This is how your self service workflow would ideally look post-implementation:

Self Service Workflow Powered by Richpanel

For instance, Brute Force Training automated 69% of resolutions with a comprehensive self service widget from Richpanel. Apart from customer support prompts, Bumpboxx also leverages Richpanel’s self service to offer personalized product recommendations based on customers’ inputs within the workflow.

Self Service Flow. Watch Product Demo

Check out Case Studies on How our Customer Benefited from Self Service

When do you Consider using a Bot to Automate Tasks

Bots can do wonders when they are internal and agent-facing. If you are managing a customer service team or overseeing one as a business owner, you would know the amount of grunt work that goes into picking up a ticket, assignment tickets, managing SLAs, or performing a common workflow. 

All of these use cases can be solved by robotic process automation (RPA) bots. RPA bots are usually built into an agent helpdesk or customer support software, out of the box. 

Learn More: Complete Guide on Ecommerce Help Desk

4 Ways to Automate Complex Support Tasks with Bots

1. Assign Tickets Automatically

Manually routing every incoming ticket is just not worth anyone’s time and effort. With increasing volume, it can also be very error prone. With automated assignment, you can create a set of rules to ensure the ticket reaches the right agent based on workload, expertise, channel, and other customizable conditions. The tickets can also be set to be assigned skill-wise.

Ticket Routing Automation
Smart Ticket Routing and Assignment. To Learn more Book Live Demo Now

2. Collect Customer Information with Task Bots

Task bots are set up to collect customer information in the absence of agents over live chat. Like you set your business hours on the chat widget, you can also collect relevant customer data by prompting them to highlight their problem over a predefined workflow. This saves a lot of back and forth between the agent and the customer in establishing context over the customer issue.

3. Create Auto-replies with Detailed Process Automation Rules

Automation Rules Setup

In the above example of an automation rule from Richpanel, a customer with a lifetime value of more than $1000 claiming warranty would be assigned to a particular agent who specializes in the same. Within just one workflow, there are multiple actions being triggered with conversation tagging, auto-response, ticket assignment, marking priority, adding an internal note, and much more. 

4. Trigger Proactive Agent Notifications

Customers hold your support to the SLA and timelines that you promise them. So it’s something that is always in the back of agents’ minds to not let any ticket overrun its course. The best way to never miss any SLA or a live visitor opportunity is by customizing your alerts with timely nudges from bots. 

Uncomplicate your Customer Experience with Richpanel’s Pioneering Self Service Widget

We’re not waging a war against chatbots. It’s just that the right self service widget can empower customers more than you could imagine with a simplistic, hassle-free approach. With zero complexity in set up and little or no training required, your agents can actually increase their productivity and delight customers with a unified helpdesk. Which is a massive facelift from getting bombarded by unresolved bot queries handed over to them or going through a vicious cycle of training the bots for accuracy. 

Self Service Scenarios to Help with Customer Orders

If you’re interested in finding out how Richpanel’s self service widget can turn your support team into a revenue driving force to reckon, schedule a personalized demo with us and we’ll make it worth your while. Or if you want to explore the tool yourself, we welcome you to take Richpanel for a free spin and discover the truly purpose-built tool for eCommerce that it is.

Automate 40-70% of your customer support