- The State of Chatbots report, a copy of which was provided to Marketing Dive by Forrester, made it very clear that AI-driven chatbots are currently not overly effective, with messaging as a marketing channel driving app engagement through conversations fueled by people and not bots.
- The report pointed out that simple chatbots with a narrow set of potential responses and commands are currently successful, but that most chatbots are disappointing consumers with poor user experiences such as not setting expectations and acting in unexpected ways.
- Forrester also reminded marketers that artificial intelligence isn’t magic, stating that consumers have to “teach” the technology. “AI is not ready to work miracles or generate magical experiences for customers on its own," per the report. "AI-based chatbots are like seeds. You plant them, but then you need to feed them with high volumes of consumer interaction so they grow.”
AI-driven chatbots are one area where artificial intelligence is making an immediate impact, especially in messaging platforms like Facebook’s Messenger and Kik. A number of brands have released chatbots with customer service and ordering capabilities such as Domino’s Messenger bot for ordering pizza.
But given this latest report from Forrester, marketers might do well to carefully consider if an AI bot is the best way jump into conversational marketing while the tech is still in its relative infancy. If a bot frustrates a potential or current customer, this could easily lead to lost sales with no way for the marketer to understand where the process went wrong.
A key takeaway from the report was most bots aren’t ready to handle the complexities of conversation and need human interaction to be successful. At the same time Forrester recommends that marketers pursue chatbots within an app/mobile strategy by taking stock of the “broader portfolio of potential mobile moments, including borrowed mobile moments” before deciding if a chatbot makes sense right now.