Chatbots are all the rage in website trends. Chatbots are software that respond to queries and are programmed to mimic human responses to create human-like conversations. If you visited a website or social media page and a chat box immediately pops up, it’s most likely a chatbot.
Chatbots have been integrated into popular messaging apps namely Facebook Messenger, WeChat, WhatsApp and etc. Even though they are relatively new, website owners of all kinds, especially business websites are all rushing to deploy chatbots.
In fact, their features have evolved to a point that they are even capable of providing multilingual language support. However, does that mean you can completely do away with professional translation or are multilingual chatbots still not up to standard with professional translation services?
Here’s a helpful article providing you with more details behind the chatbot mania and how it can help your website. Also, you’ll get to know some limitations of chatbots because not everything is perfect right? And chatbots are no exception.
Chatbots Provide Convenience for Website Owners
A. Decluttering Business Operations
Chatbots are very useful for website owners since it saves them both time and money—a precious and finite resource, particularly when you’re running a business. Even though answering simple customer inquiries is not a laborious or capital-intensive task, the predicament here is volume.
Instead of employing a full-time staff, or even yourself to do the job, it is best to leave these tasks to a machine that can handle numerous queries that come in day and night. This way, entrepreneurs can focus their attention on much more critical business operations and allocate more budget to areas that need it the most.
B. Improving Customer Service Quality
The ability for chatbots to provide lightning speed responses at whatever time of the day is essential for any brand’s customer service quality and reputation. In reality, customer service quality is strictly gauged by the minute. Five minutes are all that it takes for a customer to make second thoughts.
Take a few hours to even a day to respond and a customer has more than enough reason to look elsewhere. Furthermore, if fed with enough data about a user’s preferences and habits, they can deliver consistent and reliable information.
C. 24/7 Connectivity & Availability
Since chatbots are not humans, they don’t require sustenance and other biological needs that humans do such as rest, sleep, socialization needs, discharge waste—you get the point. It sounds kind of tongue-in-cheek but website owners can certainly take advantage of this.
Chatbots can report for duty 24/7, rain or shine, and even on holidays. As mentioned earlier, customer service quality and reputation are scrutinized by the minute. Having a chatbot online all the time means they’ll provide instant responses and consistent customer service to anyone around the world in whichever time zone.
From Scripts To Machine-Learning: Chatbots Are Constantly Evolving
They are multiple types of chatbots; each with their own level of complexity and capabilities. By the way, you can never find a consistent answer on the Internet since a lot of companies build their own versions to match their interests. Instead, it’ll be easier to sort them by class.
- Scripted Chatbots – They’re designed to answer a specific set of queries and pull up pre-programmed answers; ones that are appropriate to the user of course. They’re simple but they’re enough for the job.
- AI Bots – They are machine-learning software that operate on a framework called Natural Language Processing. They learn the customer’s habits and preferences in order to provide more relevant and accurate responses. They respond differently to every user, thus allowing for personalized responses. The more data they are fed, the better they get.
Key Chatbot Limitations & Areas Needing Improvement
Despite all the praise, chatbots do make mistakes. It’s not a fool-proof system that works right off the box. Scripted chatbots are limited to a specific set of queries and can’t handle more than what they were programmed with.
Also, when a chatbot is down or can’t answer queries that it was not programmed to do, then it will direct the query to a human operator instead. That doesn’t sound too bad right? Actually, their reliability varies. Here’s a useful article that talks about in greater detail regarding the pitfalls of machine translation.
Big companies have the resources to hire the best chatbot developers to create quality machine learning chatbots. As if it knew the company like the back of its hand—metaphorically speaking. Here are more disadvantages of chatbots and areas they need more improvement in.
- No Human Touch
It was said earlier that chatbots aren’t human and how that is a good thing for website owners. Well, it’s a double-edged sword. This might not matter to a lot of people, but some people actually prefer to talk to a real human.
An advantage that a real human has over chatbots is that they understand linguistic nuances such as slang and dialects. At least for now, chatbots still can’t handle nuanced language comprehension, an area where humans with language skills can understand and address.
- Highly Technical Industries
In areas where accurate translation is crucial such as in the healthcare and legal industry, chatbots with machine translation capabilities aren’t yet capable of handling highly technical queries. Although, they can still cater to those industries through answering general FAQs.
It’s also better to get in touch with a professional translation agency that also offers customer support services. They can work with chatbot developers to incorporate linguistic nuances and technical jargon.
- Data Security – Chatbot developers and website owners must ensure its users that it can provide top-of-the-line server security. If there were to be a data breach, hackers can access the customer’s chat history and potentially acquire sensitive information. Not good news no matter how you look at it.
Translation Quality Issues With Chatbots
Now that we’re in the context of languages, their reliability to work in multiple languages and provide quality, or even decent translation, still varies across chatbot developers and companies that employ them. Of course, there have been notable grounds in improving a chatbot’s multilingual capabilities.
However, most of the improvements in chatbot multilingual support are centered on popular languages i.e. English, Spanish, French, German, Portugese, Arabic, Italian, Dutch, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. Granted, that is where the market figures are and the number of users speaking those languages are substantial. However, minority languages in emerging markets don’t enjoy that level of support as of the moment.
Limited Multilingual Chatbot Support to a Few Industries
As mentioned earlier, most of the developments in chatbot languages are only limited to popular languages. This creates a disparity in terms of the level support not only towards minority language speakers but also to select industries.
A good example is the medical industry. Medical translations involve highly technical and textually-sensitive work. Companies have invested a lot of resources to create chatbots competent enough to support the medical industry. However, supported languages are limited to a few languages, with most of the attention and developments going to English.
Does Translation Matter to the Customer Service Quality of a Business Website?
Now that we know the limitations of multilingual chatbots, translation services are needed more than ever as industries go global. However, even with future groundbreaking developments with multilingual chatbots, it’s better not to put all your eggs in one basket by placing all of your trust in a chatbot’s abilities.
Human services such as professional translation are still necessary, especially in critical fields where even the slightest error could spell dire consequences. A human translator also understands contextual and linguistic nuances, a quality essential to customer care and also an area in which chatbots are still very far away from emulating.
Chatbots shouldn’t be looked at as a panacea to solve all your business woes. Rather, one should simply view it as another asset that its own advantages and disadvantages.
But for the job that they are given, chatbots do quite well and their usefulness is evident by a wide range of businesses that use them from multinational corporations, big banks, healthcare entities, to small and medium-sized enterprises.