The advantages of chatbots for customers
Advantage 1: Quick response
The first advantage of chatbots for customers is the quick response that chatbots can give. Customers may be able to get an instant answer to their questions as opposed to having to wait back from an email, reducing the time to get an answer from potentially days to minutes.
Advantage 2: Responses 24-hours a day
The next advantage of chatbots is that they can respond 24-hours a day. Responses are not restricted to the times that customer support is open, rather customers can get answers to their questions day or night.
Advantage 3: Ability to ask questions and quicker access to information
The final advantage of chatbots for customers is that they can help find information that would be difficult to locate on a company website. Chatbots can give more direct answers to questions than searching around the site, potentially helping reduce the time required to find information.
The dissadvantages of chatbots for customers
Disadvantage 1: Limited functionality
The first disadvantage for customers associated with chatbots is that the functionality of chatbots is often limited. Tasks that you would expect a customer service agent to be able to perform – such as cancel orders or take actions on the account chatbots are often not programmed to do. Indeed, while the expectation is that chatbots will be able to understand questions being asked, some chatbots nearly search keywords, acting more like a glorified site search engine.
Disadvantage 2: Frustration if chatbots can't answer questions
The limited functionality of chatbots can lead to customer frustrations. If you have the chatbot presents that it will be able to answer your question, and then is unable to give you an answer, this can be an annoying experience – rather than helping, it has the potential to trigger irritation.
Disadvantage 3: Dislike of talking to a robot
The final disadvantage of chatbots is that some people simply dislike talking to a robot. Just as when you have to ring a customer support number, and answer a series of questions before getting to a person, some people do not like the experience of dealing with a computer. There may be a pre-expectation that the chatbot is not going to be able to deal with the questions being asked, instead preferring to immediately speak with a real person.