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What to bear in mind about chatbots

AI-powered ‘chatbots’ on websites are very hot technology right now, and there’s a lot of money being poured into developing them. Don’t worry, I’m not going to suggest that we all rush out and get one; I’d bet that 99% of us will not find they’ve got anything to offer us for some considerable time. But it is worth knowing what they are, and what they do.

Chatbots have traditionally worked on branching logic models (“Have you visited the site today to buy something or deal with your account?”, that sort of thing). They’re a nice way of getting people to the right place, although why that sort of logic isn’t offered as part of the website is an indictment of corporate web design in general.

They’re going to be good

The new generation of AI-chatbots can be ‘trained’ to understand our data, and will eventually be able to assist as well as a knowledgeable salesperson (as well as work 24/7, converse instantly, and write with good grammar in any language).

For now, it’s worth us all thinking about where a chatbot might be helpful on our websites. Maybe existing simple technology could still be employed. We need to ask ourselves what pages are trying to achieve, and what questions visitors are likely to have. But we should be doing that anyway.