Chatbots vs Live Chat

By Kerry HarrisonMay 31, 2019
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The last time you went onto live chat, what happened? Did you speak with a customer service agent who answered your response adequately? Or, were you forced to leave your email address so that the company could get back to you? More often than not, the latter is the case. Live chat is great when you can actually connect to a live customer service agent. But companies cannot promise that this is going to happen around the clock. As a consequence, this can lead to more frustration and dissatisfaction. This is why more and more companies are turning towards chatbots to improve overall communication.

A chatbot is an AI-powered computer program that enables you to interact with consumers using a chat interface. Chatbots have bridged the human limitations experienced via live chat. Of course, chatbots will always have a disadvantage in the sense that they’re not human, and so answers cannot be 100 percent personalized. However, they are getting more sophisticated, and they’re certainly much better than being told to leave your email address for later correspondence.

In this blog post, we are going to take a look at chatbots and live chat in further detail, providing a comparison between the two and helping you to understand the key differences. This should give you a better understanding of the right solution for your business.

What to expect from live chat

So, let’s begin by assessing what can and cannot be achieved through live chat. With live chat, a human carries out the interaction. This enables a live chat agent to respond contextually while sensing the customer’s emotions. Nevertheless, live chat is not able to track customer information, and so delivering a personalized service is difficult. On the flip side, live chat has the capacity to handle queries that are more complex in nature, especially if these queries incorporate technical terminologies that are challenging to understand. Handling a large number of queries is difficult, though, especially when it comes to multiple concurrent chats. When a customer query is repetitive, monogamous, common, or simple, live chat is simply a waste of human resources.

What to expect from a chatbot

Rather than the interaction being carried out by a human, a chatbot is an interaction that is carried out by a machine. The machine is powered using Artificial Intelligence, which can translate a consumer query and respond to it in a swift manner. Modern chatbots have come a very long way, and they are able to pair a visitor’s profile with conversational data so that the entire customer experience is customized. At the moment, a lot of companies are stuck using command-based chatbots, rather than intelligent AI-driven chatbots. However, we are seeing more and more businesses move to the latter, as AI-driven chatbots have been trained to handle queries of a complex nature. In addition to this, a chatbot has the capability to handle any number of chats at once, so long as the solution is supported by the AI mechanism and is scalable. Chatbots are particularly useful when a customer has an inquiry that is repetitive and/or simple.

Why chatbots are the way forward

We are moving further and further toward a digital environment whereby AI leads the way. Because of this, chatbots are going to become integrated more widely into a companies website design. Even free website builders include chatbot integration in their packages. But why is this the case? Well, there are a number of benefits associated with chatbots. The biggest benefit is the fact that a chatbot can respond to consumers for hours on end without human help being required. This saves you time, energy, and money. A recent study has shown that every four in five queries have been resolved effectively by a chatbot without human supervision being needed. Plus, you also need to consider the multitasking element associated with a chatbot. Let’s say you have hundreds of customers that are waiting for a response, yet you only have one live chat agent. While you may answer a few customers’ queries effectively, you’re going to have plenty of dissatisfied customers who could not get a response. If these consumers post about this online, you’re going to have a greater number of negative comments than you are positive. A chatbot can save the day. Consumers can get their queries answered at the same time, reducing the chances of dissatisfied customers and negative comments.

Not only do you have the benefits of quick response time, multitasking, and the ability to function without human supervision, but you also need to think about ease of use and availability too. Live chats can be complex with two interfaces; one for the visitor and another for the admin. You will be familiar with this if you have worked with live chat software before. There tends to be a lot of settings and information, which can make it clustered. This can require a fair bit of training. However, with chatbots, the interface is unified, which makes life a lot easier. Plus, with a chatbot, it means that your business is available every second of every day. To achieve this with live chat is virtually impossible, and it would cost a fortune too!

There’s still a place for live chat

As chatbots become more and more intelligent, the need for live chat will get lower and lower. However, there are a few areas whereby live chat is still winning. It really comes down to the human touch. Sometimes a human, who has the ability to be empathetic, can be important when dealing with sensitive queries. They are also better placed to handle more complex queries too, although AI-powered chatbots are becoming better at this! Another concern is that spelling mistakes can throw chatbots off balance, whereas a human may have a better chance of trying to deduce what the consumer really meant.

All things considered, if you have the resources, live chat is great. However, the future for chatbots is bright. They’re not designed to replace humans, but they can bridge all of the gaps in customer service that are present at the moment.


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