The Dangers of a Bad Bot

Many companies are rushing to build and deploy Chatbots. They are the latest must have technology in the constant battle for competitive advantage, or at least parity. Coupled with AI, chatbots offer internal and external customers an intuitive way to interact with your company, explore your services or products, and take actions.

Chatbots can interrogate other systems, AI can be used to enrich the decision making through analysis of large data sets, and well-designed conversations can significantly increase the success of a business’s call to action. Whether focused on sales, service or information Chatbots are quickly becoming the go-to choice of technology deployment for many business’s. As with any new technology though, there are dangers. Chatbots could undermine your brand, drive away customers, cost vast amounts of money to develop, and worse, chatbots could undermine your ability to move into the age of AI.

A recent Gartner survey of Global CIO’s found that only 4% had deployed any AI capability, while 37% were struggling to identify suitable use cases for AI. At the same time Gartner has projected that Chatbots will grow at a rate of 200% per year, reaching over 30 million by 2021, closely following the growth of websites at the same stage of their development. How many businesses today wouldn’t have a website?

So on one hand we have an almost exponential explosion on chatbots, but a limited deployment of AI. This provides a clue to the dangers many businesses are facing.

The other danger comes from the development process itself. Chatbots are seen by many CIOs as a technology solution that allows automation and potentially the removal of cost through reduced headcount.

This can lead to chatbots that:

  • Don’t support the brand, in conversation or through their graphical appearance
  • Have limited capability, focused on cost removal, task automation, rather than enriching the user experience
  • Due to the narrow initial focus are difficult to develop further
  • Fail to enhance the business case for further development and movement into AI.

A failed or disappointing chatbot can lead to difficult boardroom discussions, undermining a company’s ability and willingness to invest in AI. This could have a long term negative impact for the business.

A well designed chatbot addresses all the points above;

  • Supports and promotes the brand and company values
  • Enriches the customer experience as first priority
  • Is scalable by design
  • Enhances the business case for AI, allowing augmentation of knowledge and decision making with skilled people.

One of the key issues we see at TaskAI is that customers have an expectation that a bot can be built very quickly. And while, from a technology perspective, that is true, it can undermine the rationale for having the bot in the first place.

The design process is the most important.

  • What is the use case?
  • Where will the development lead in the longer term?
  • What data will be available, now and in the future?
  • How will the chatbot be supported by real people?
  • What is the personality of the bot?

Companies need to think about their chatbots in the same way as they would if they were developing a new role and looking to recruit a new staff member for that role.

  • What is the role they will be performing?
  • What responsibilities could they take on moving forward?
  • Who are their managers and how will they be supported?
  • What is there personality, do they fit in with the team, and will they effectively promote the company?

To avoid a bad hire, or a bot that undermines your company and your long term capability the focus should always be on design.

To understand more about the design process go to

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