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  • Writer's pictureAli Craig


Let's talk about Autobots. You know them. They're everywhere. From your Facebook page to your website, they're supposed to make it look like you're always there to serve your customers. But do they? Are they smart when it comes to growing your business relationships and in turn, creating social proof for your brand? Well, it all depends on your brand.

If your brand is an online version of Walmart per se, in the sense that it is supposed to be fast, get in, get out, and get what you want, then yes, having a tuned-in Autobot can help. Your Autobot can answer your audience's questions in a quick second. But, for most entrepreneurs and brands, Autobots aren't that helpful.

Autobots say things like, "We'll get back to you." They answer questions you don't have to and in turn, create frustration within the brand relationship because it says you're not there for your audience. Giving them the information they requested in a nonintimate experience creates more frustration and isolation between you and your audience, not inclusion.

So, when do Autobots work, and how do they work best? The truth is Autobots work when you have very simple questions to be answered on your website or on your social media platform. Autobots work when speed is key such as in impulse buying things.

Autobots can work if you take the time to tune them in, meaning that you have taken the time to discern which questions your audience has and be able to answer them in a way that truly does holistically answer the question in full - not leaving any more questions for your audience. If that's possible, then Autobots work. If that can't happen, don’t use them.

For many luxury brands, Autobots simply won’t work because a luxury brand is all about creating individuality and exclusivity. Having a general answer to answer your audience's question makes them feel like they're part of the crowd. When in a luxury brand, you want your audience to feel like they are different, a completely original person.

But what you can do is create ways to say, "Hey, we so appreciate your question. We appreciate you being on the website. Here's a phone number you can call if you have a question." Or, "We're not live-chatting right now, but put your message in, and we will answer you within the next 24 hours. We're so appreciative of you being here." It is better to just put the live bot on hold and not have it be an auto one. This way, your audience ask their question and give them a personalized answer. If your brand or expectation of your brand is all about personalization, customization, and relationship, then having that Autobot probably isn't the smart way to automatically make some money.

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