Chatbots or Live Chat? That is the Question?
Chatbots and live chat continue to rise in popularity.
It makes sense for smarter companies who are looking for ways to continuously improve customer experience and offer improved customer service and support to do just that.
But – which option is best suited for your business? Chatbots or live chat? Both have their distinct advantages and disadvantages.
Let’s have a look at the differences between the two and highlight how to determine which one is going to be the best fit for your website.
Pros and Cons of Chatbots
Chatbots are robotic software that responds to customer requests through predefined rules and questions.
Usually this interaction is done via a live chat window on your website at the bottom right hand corner of your screen.
Pros of Chatbots
The pros of using chatbots on your website include:
Chatbots are great because you can set up the software and forget about it. There is no hiring or team training. Just input the basic response requests and questions and the software will handle the rest.
If your website receives a ton of live support requests, then you will need a way to process these requests in a timely manner. Chatbots can handle hundreds, if not more requests in a given moment.
On the other hand – with a live support team – your customers will have to wait for a response until the current support request has been resolved.
Chatbots can provide you with near instant response time. Since chatbots are just software, they look for the pre-programmed answer to your customer’s question and send it off.
Of course – responses may be more limited but your customers would not have to sit around all day waiting for a response. A recent study shows that 80% of customer’s queries have been resolved by chatbots without human supervision.
A chatbot can stay online for as long as needed — 24/7, 365 days a year. No matter where they are in the world – customers can have a conversation with your bot and receive instant responses.
Truth is – if your business is not available 24/7 – you are going to lose customers because they expect you to be there whenever they need support.
On the other hand – if you are always available – your customers feel cared about and will reward you with their loyalty.
Chatbots are limited to the kinds of questions they can effectively answer. The chatbots of the future will employ more machine-learning algorithms to answer a wider spread of questions.
Typically chatbots would not be able to answer the same range of questions as a well-trained live chat support staff can.
Connecting with a chatbot is a different experience than live human chat. These differences are felt in the breadth and depth of communication. For example – a live chat representative might be able to quickly handle a support request and also offer alternative solutions for solving a customer’s problem.
While a chatbot may be unable to solve the problem at hand and instead leave the customer frustrated. It makes a real difference. A recent study shows that 68% of customers leave businesses because of poor customer service.
Most chatbots are based upon input and output. If the question the customer inputs into the chatbot contains spelling errors – the chatbot might not be able to reference the correct answer. Good news is – more sophisticated chatbots with AI capabilities are overcoming the deficiencies of earlier chatbots.
Live chat has been around for quite some time. Today’s most common form is the live chat window that is actually occupied by a living breathing human.
Pros of Live Chat
Following are some of the unique advantages of using live chat on your website:
With most live chat environments – the support representative would not leave the customer’s side until the problem is solved. Chat representatives might also have the option to go the extra mile by offering incentives, offers or coupons to further improve the interaction.
Live chat support will be able to more effectively answer and solve a wider scope of questions and problems.
Whereas chatbots are limited by the requests you program them in, live chat agents are only limited by their overall education of your products and services.
Until chatbots employ advanced machine learning and AI, live chat with a real representative will outshine chatbots.
Live chat provides customers will a level of customisation that is not limited to a basic set of questions. There is nothing better than having obscure requests quickly resolved by a support team.
According to Econsultancy – 79% of consumers say they prefer live chat functions because they don’t have to wait on hold and get their questions answered immediately.
With a live support team, the hours available for your customers to access support will be limited since most companies cannot afford a 24/7 support staff.
If your customers have an issue that falls outside of the time window – then they will have to wait.
Live chat requires an extensive hiring and training process. Your new hires must be educated about the ins and outs of your company, your products and or services – so they can respond to requests in an accurate and timely manner. This will require an added time and monetary investment on your end.
Unless you have the budget to hire a large and multi-lingual support team – you will be limited in the languages you can provide your support in.
Chatbots are typically equipped to handle multiple languages with speed and efficiency, although they would not be able to provide the same depth of communication.
There is no best fit for every style of website out there. Instead the decision to use chatbots or live chat on your website will depend on your business needs.
Overall – chatbots are cheaper, faster and easier to employ. Meanwhile – live chat provides your customers with a more in-depth helpful experience but it is more costly and time-intensive on your end.
If you have a very simple business model and tend to receive the same customer questions over and over again – then using a chatbot might be the better solution.
However if you receive a wide range of support requests or have a large catalogue of products or offer a complicated product and or services – then live chat might be the best option for your needs.
Of course, you will need the budget to hire and train a team. The alternative is alienating your customers by providing ineffective support with a chatbot.
Yet another method is to utilise both. The initial customer request is handled by a chatbot. If the initial questions or set of questions is easily answerable – then the chatbot will proceed with the request.
But if it is outside of the scope of the chatbot’s capabilities – then the request will be passed onto a live agent or representative.
There really is no wrong option for improving your customer support via chatbots or live chat. Hopefully – this analysis will help point you in the right direction about what is going to be the best fit for your online business.
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Difference Between Chatbot and Live Chat.