Chatbots are the Now Big Thing and, of course, you want to be on board. But if you misstep, you’ll be hurting your business rather than hurtling it into the future. Join this VB Live event for the results of our exclusive chatbot study, plus real-world insights from experts into doing bots right at any budget.

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“If an app is already doing a really good job with what your customers need, what exactly would you need a bot for?” asks Veronica Belmont, product manager at Growbot, a Slack bot that enables fast and easy feedback between employees for companies like Starbucks, REI, Intuit and 6,000 other companies globally.

A bot removes the friction — having to download an app and going through the install and sign-in process, Belmont says. App fatigue is a real thing, in her experience, and opening up Messenger or Kik and just adding a new contact is a magnitude more convenient.

“But it’s up to the bot to function as well, if not better, than an app for completing these same tasks and purposes,” Belmont adds. “The part that’s cool about bots in particular is that they can fit really niche needs and desires, but in turn can make them feel more like features, rather than products.”

And yet it’s a mistake to brush off the potential of a bot to add a competitive advantage. “It’s definitely something that most companies should be evaluating, at the very least,” says Belmont. “For most it should be a pretty easy answer for them to decide right off the bat what’s lacking at your company or organization. Is a bot your path for least resistance for a customer, or is it just going to cause more confusion?”

Solving a pain point or adding a service for your customer is the most important element to consider. “It seems like a lot of companies these days are launching bots more as a promotional tool than anything else, which is fine,” says Belmont. “But you’re not giving a huge amount of value add to the customer.”

She notes that the largest mistake developers and companies are making in the bot arena can be devastating from a customer service standpoint.

“One of the biggest problems I’ve seen in a lot of early bots is not really telling the user what it’s capable of, and what its limitations are,” Belmont explains. “So lot of users jump into a conversational interface and start chatting with a bot thinking that the bot knows a lot of stuff that it probably doesn’t. And they have that immediate sense of frustration because the bot isn’t responding in the way that they want it to.”

You can solve for those kinds of problems by offering a robust onboarding experience that tells the user exactly what the bot is capable of, and its use case, its domain expertise, and how to interact with the bot.

“Ultimately it has to make the user’s life easier and more fun, and not add a lot of frustration and anxiety around the process,” Belmont adds.

For more about smart bots versus the dumb ones, what platforms you should be eyeing, and insights into gaining a competitive edge, join this free VB Live event.

Don’t miss out!

Register here for free.

From this VB Live event, attendees will learn to:

  • Identify and harness competitive advantage
  • Understand the bot landscape and the opportunities it presents
  • Build your own bot on a budget
  • Speakers:


  • Veronica Belmont, Product Manager, Growbot
  • Stewart Rogers, Director of Marketing Technology


  • Wendy Schuchart, Analyst, VentureBeat

More speakers coming soon!