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The Argument Against Chatbots

Jay Baer hits the nail on the head in his article at on the issue of chatbots:

With the right programming, chatbots can handle an infinite number of conversations, essentially bringing the cost per interaction as close to zero as possible. While this might bring tears of joy to the average CFO, customers are crying for a completely different reason.

The never ending struggle between Customer Support and Marketing.  While CS commonly would tell you it’d be a great business, if it weren’t for all the darned customers, the problem is that on the marketing side we’re actually trying to get and keep those customers. CS is often the wheel on which this nut gets cracked, certainly in terms of retention.

So even though I like the idea of a smartly coded bot to handle the simple interactions, the marketer in me screams “you’re wasting a customer contact!”.  This is often one of the few chances you have to interact directly with the customer.  Do you really want to entrust that to a chatbot?

So there is the question for you: are you willing to let a chatbot answer the call when your customer wants to talk?


Mark has built an impressive career engineering, managing and owning high volume websites, content management and eCommerce sites.

As Director of Software Development at Lycos Inc. he managed all Domain Sales and ran the WebPub development team, which managed and,two of the top online publishing platforms in the world. {Prior to that he was  Senior Engineer for Afternic, an online multiple listing service for domain names, which was later sold to Godaddy for serious cash.

He has also worked as Senior Developer for Premium Websites  at NameMedia, Inc., and was previously the Corporate Webmaster for Atex, the primary supplier of software systems for the Newspaper Industry, and been in charge of Technology for Lenovo’s Online Marketing Department.

At NameMedia he built premium websites like,,, and more using WordPress as a content management and social networking platform.

He has previously written for the Worcester Telegram and Gazette, and in 2014 published his first novel, Blue Ice.

He started out on the net  in 1995 with Reel-Time, The Internet Journal of Saltwater Flyfishing, which he ran as Managing Editor, which was a combination of Lead/Only Developer and Lead/Only Editor.

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