Blog post
February 14, 2024
Natasha Bowers

Keeping the Conversation Going: The Pros and Cons of Chatbots

Startup support
Organisation growth

This month, Digital Pathfinders held a workshop to equip attendees with all of the information and skills required to build their very own AI chatbot.

This February, the Digital Pathfinders team hosted a two-day chatbot workshop at Project North East in Newcastle, alongside Reuben Odunze. After the two days, attendees had all of the knowledge and tools to create their own chatbot using artificial intelligence (AI).

What Is a Chatbot?

To put it simply, a chatbot is a computer programme designed to simulate conversation with human users, allowing the users to speak and interact with digital devices as if they were communicating with a real person.

It is likely that most of us have interacted with a chatbot at some point before; whether that be a customer service bot on your favourite clothing brand’s website, or a bot to help you with frequently asked questions.
Chatbots are typically powered by artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms, natural language processing (NLP), and machine learning techniques and can interact with users through text-based interfaces like messaging apps, websites, or even voice-based interfaces like virtual assistants (like Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri).

What Might Chatbots Be Used For?

Here are just some of the ways that chatbots might be useful to your organisation.

  • Customer Service: handling customer enquiries, troubleshooting issues, and providing support.
  • E-commerce:  providing personalised recommendations, completing product searches, and facilitating transactions.  
  • Healthcare: giving basic medical advice, scheduling appointments, offering medication reminders, and connecting users with relevant resources.
  • Finance: assisting with account inquiries, transaction history, financial planning and providing real-time market updates.
  • Hospitality: creating bookings, handling reservations, providing necessary information and requesting feedback.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Chatbots?

As with everything, there are advantages and disadvantages. Whilst there are plenty of pros that come with using chatbots, such as streamlining customer service processes, there are still some things to be aware of.


  • 24/7 Availability: Unlike most customer service teams, chatbots can operate round the clock, providing instant assistance to users regardless of time zones or business hours.
  • Scalability: Chatbots can handle multiple queries at the same time, making it easier to accommodate a growing customer base.
  • Time saving: By deploying chatbots, smaller organisations can free up time spent on customer service.
  • Efficiency: Using AI chatbots can be a handy way to retrieve information, perform basic tasks and execute transactions quickly and easily.


  • Limited Understanding: Chatbots are a handy tool to help with easy queries, but with more complex tasks, there may be the need for human intervention.
  • Maintenance and Updates: Chatbots require ongoing maintenance and updates to remain effective and up-to-date.
  • Predefined Scripts: Many chatbots have predefined scripts or decision trees, limiting their flexibility and adaptability, so if the query lies outside of this, there may be the need for a customer service assistant to help. Nevertheless, there are some tools to help widen conversations so that they aren’t as stringent, and this will improve as technology does.

To conclude, AI chatbots can be a fantastic tool, especially for smaller organisations looking to free up resource and save time on customer service. Nevertheless, chatbots cannot replace customer service entirely, and should be seen more as an extension of the team, rather than something that can completely replace it.

What Did the Attendees Think?

“Never did I expect that I would be able to create a chat bot in such a short space of time, with full knowledge of what I was actually doing. The workshop was perfectly constructed to help me understand the subject and build a foundational practical skillset that I can take back to my business and grow. Reuben was not only a knowledgeable guy, he was a fab teacher who listened to us and pitched the teaching to our level of understanding. Great examples to integrate our learning, and excellent encouragement to help us build our own chat bots. What an absolutely enriching experience!”

- Janine Weightman, Knovolution Ltd.

Final Thoughts

‍Our Digital Pathfinders programme helps SMEs, charities and social enterprises across Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland become more successful and resilient by adopting digital technology. If you would like to chat about how AI might impact your individual marketing strategy, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at:
We have several upcoming events that may be of interest. Check out our website and keep an eye on our social media pages to be the first to know about our workshops.