business messaging blog
Four chatbot programming mistakes you should avoid
Scott Navratil

In the rush to get a functioning chatbot up and running, too many businesses are making big chatbot programming mistakes that keep their bots from being as effective as they could be. The following are four of the most common.

A boring personality

First and foremost, a chatbot should be functional. But even if a bot is accurate at efficient, people may not want to use it if it isn’t programmed with a personality. People have to come to expect a human element in their customer service interactions and that’s true even when these customer service interactions are with a computer program. If your bot can only dispassionately resolve customer issues without showing any emotion or personality, it’s not going to be as effective as it otherwise could be.

Linguistic limitations

Natural language processing is the key difference between an intelligent chatbot and an unintelligent one. Natural language processing is a branch of artificial intelligence research that helps programmers create machines that can take written or spoken speech input and arrive at the meaning of what is being communicated. Chatbots can be programmed with absolutely no natural language processing. But these bots, in order to be successful, have to be taught how to respond to a set list of things that a person might ask or say to them and anytime they face a new question or response, or even a somewhat familiar one but worded in way they haven’t encountered, they have to guess how to best respond, and they often guess wrong. Natural language processing bots, on the other hand, can hear a sentence they have never heard before and still respond appropriately.


Because chatbots are still relatively new technology and many people are still unaccustomed to using them, many are hesitant about leading a conversation with a chatbot. They’re not sure how to say things so that the bot can understand and they don’t know the scope of what the bot can do. That’s why too much open-endedness in a bot’s programming can actually be a bad thing. Bots need to be programmed with a narrow purpose and they need to communicate in such a way that every customer interaction is advancing towards a resolution of some kind. Bots that can lead the conversation or provide customers with some direction about what kinds of things they can ask or say to help move the conversation along will help prevent many dead-end conversations that stall when the human conversant is lost for words.

Poor security

The security and privacy of customers is a consideration that many businesses don’t think about in their hurry to launch a chatbot. Chatbots often handle guest information that needs to be kepts secure whether it’s credit card data, contact information, or account credentials. Whatever framework is being used to run your chatbot, it needs to have the same level of cybersecurity for all of your computer systems, especially those that handle sensitive information that needs to be kept out of the wrong hands.

Chantel Fullilove

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