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How do you know if you’re talking to a chatbot?

Published by Eamonn on

When was the last time you chatted online with a customer service agent? Maybe you were complaining about receiving the wrong item in your order on Amazon or looking for assistance on a company’s Facebook page. It’s highly possible that the person on the other end trying to solve your problem wasn’t a person at all and that you were speaking with an artificial intelligence chatbot, essentially a talking robot.

A chatbot is nothing more than a computer program that automates certain tasks, typically by chatting with a user through a conversational interface.

How do you know if you’re talking to a chatbot?

Here are a few signs. Chatbots will often respond at superhuman speeds, especially when processing simple language inputs like “yes” or “no.” An easier way to tell is the chatbots habit of using repetitive outputs, like repeatedly telling you they don’t understand what you’re saying.

Chatbots also often give themselves away by trying to sell you things and sending you links you didn’t ask for. Unhelpful chatbots may also request sensitive information without you indicating that you want to make a purchase.

And, lastly, the vast majority of chatbots will give themselves away if you just keep talking to them. Ask them what they think about current events or how they feel, or simply let a conversation stagnate by using filler words and the limitations of the chatbot will eventually become obvious to you.

Are chatbots getting smarter?

The most advanced bots are now powered by artificial intelligence which helps them to understand complex requests, personalise responses, and improve interactions over time. This technology is still in its infancy, so most bots follow a set of rules programmed by a human via a bot-building platform. It’s as simple as ordering a list of “if-then” statements and writing canned responses, often without needing to know a line of code.

According to a HubSpot research report, 71% of people are willing to use messaging apps to get customer assistance. Many do it because they want their problem solved fast and if you’ve ever used Siri or another mobile voice assistant, you know there’s a much lower tolerance for machines to make mistakes. However, the intelligence of these chatbots is increasing at a rapid pace so this is fast becoming a non issue.

Chatbots on messenger apps

The introduction of chatbots in the messaging app industry has opened up new gateways for smartphone users and the technology can now be used for personal use or on company social media pages for business use. A well-built chatbot can be a great addition to a company’s website because it can help to boost conversion rates and increase customer satisfaction by improving the time it takes for customers to resolve most problems.

The real credit for bringing chatbots further into the spotlight goes to Facebook Messenger, due to the fact that Facebook made it possible to integrate chatbots into the platform in 2016. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has even pivoted the company’s entire future towards private messaging in recognition that Facebook Messenger alone processes more than eight billion messages around the world each day.

Furthermore, messaging apps have already surpassed social media platforms as of 2016 in terms of users. Given this huge shift towards messaging apps over social media platforms, chatbot marketing has become one of the biggest growth opportunities in the digital marketing space. Chatbots, which have the ability to  interact with humans 24/7 without human intervention are being used on a wide range of company social media pages, websites and mobile apps for marketing, sales and customer service.


When it comes to adopting a chatbot for your business there are a number of areas that need to be considered. If you follow the recommendations above, you can avoid the kind of bad experiences that could put customers off using your chatbot again. Furthermore, if you can also ensure that you offer your customers a better overall experience as a result of the implementation of a chatbot you can increase conversions and drive overall business performance.