Artificial intelligence (AI) has transformed the way businesses interact and engage with customers. The modern-day businesses are shifting from transactional relationships to conversational relationships.
With the emergence of chatbots, businesses are getting innovative ways of building strong business relationships. Oracle survey says 80% of businesses want chatbots as they are beginning to see the benefits of using chatbots for their customer based products.
Chatbot vs live chat: which one would you choose? And how would you deliver better customer experience to your customers?
Let us discuss the pros and cons of chatbots and live chat that will help in selecting the right technology that matches your business requirements.
Why live chat is important?
Live chat software is one of the most preferred proactive channels as it offers real time support. It is a vital part of a successful customer service toolkit that generates higher customer satisfaction levels when compared with email and phone. Live chat help to improve key business metrics like response time or average resolution time. 70% of consumers prefer to live chat, and nearly two-thirds of customers who engage with a chat platform are more likely to return to a website and purchase again.
The key reasons why live chat is in more demand are:
- Live chat is important for complex conversations – Live chat seamlessly handles complex conversations that require comprehensive discussion for effective solutions.
- Live chat can multitask – Live chat improves team efficiency by allowing agents to handle multiple conversations simultaneously. It routes chats to the right team members for faster support.
- Messaging is the most preferred channel – nine out of ten customers expect to use live chat messaging to get help from brands. Hence, live chat is a preferred way for any customer communication.
Why are chatbots important?
Chatbots are essentially designed for improving customer experience. If we talk about chatbot pros and cons, bots are always available to engage customers by answering their common queries. Chatbots help businesses to engage their customers across websites, applications and messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger or Whatsapp.
Source – Drift
AI enabled bots to improve customer experience by following ways:
- Chatbots are always active – Unlike live chat, chatbots are 24×7 available to answer simple customer queries promptly.
- Chatbots are easily scalable – Live chat agents can handle three to four conversations at the same time, whereas, chatbots can function with no upper limit.
- Chatbots are less prone to errors – Chatbots improve customer experience by responding to customers with accurate answers.
Live chat vs chatbot: How do you decide?
Both live chat and chatbot, are predominant channels used by businesses to improve customer engagement. Let us discuss the key criteria of live chat vs chatbot that will help you to decide which is better for you
1. Response time
Customer expectations for real time response time are at a very high level.
Response time refers to the period between when a customer makes a request and a response is given. It is one of the important attributes of customer excellence. 59% of customers are more likely to buy when brands answer their queries in under a minute.
Happy customers are key to your business success. Delayed response time is one of the top 3 reasons why customers leave your website.
Live chat offers instant response assuring the lowest queue time as compared to other communication channels. It empowers your customer support agents to:
- Use canned responses to offer quick answers to FAQs
- Provide real time sales and support assistance
- Route chats to the right team for faster response
According to Chatbot Report, 21% of consumers see chatbots as the easiest way to contact a business. The AI enabled bot can engage customers 24×7 by answering their common queries. They ensure that customers receive the instant response that they demand.
Bots help businesses by:
- Bots are available 24×7 to promptly answer simple queries, prequalify leads and collect basic customer information.
- Chatbots initiate proactive customer interaction when they are stuck in such a specific page
- Bots are a better way to keep your customers engaged.
- If your business needs to respond to customers within 30 seconds, chatbot as the first contact can be an ideal fit for your business.
- If your customers are not very time sensitive and prefer to talk with a real human, then having live chat is a better choice.
- You can also start conversations with a chatbot for handling repetitive questions and route the complex queries to the live support team.
2. Cost effectiveness
An effective cost management strategy is vital for making structured financial decisions to increase business revenue and reduce costs.
Live chat is an affordable communication channel as compared to other channels. It helps to respond to customers in real time, preventing sales funnel drop out and ultimately delivering a better RoI to convert more visitors into customers and to increase sales.
Juniper Research estimates that chatbots will help businesses save more than $8 billion per year by 2022. The main difference between chatbot vs live chat is bots can help businesses to save customer service costs of adding more agents. Hiring more support agents requires additional costs and time.
The additional costs may include salary costs, training costs, and infrastructure costs.
Bots help businesses to save cost by:
- Scaling their chat support during busy hours – Chatbots are programmed to meet endless requests with great ease and effectiveness. There is no extra cost involved when the scalability increases.
- Automating repetitive business tasks – Chatbots are always available to engage customers to answer simple and repetitive queries.
Bots enable a simpler and seamless brand experience for customers along with curtailing costs and resources for your business significantly.
- If you are a start up and the cost is a key business factor of your business, a chatbot is the best solution. It will help to automate business operations without hiring resources.
- Live chat can be a better option when the customers look for a detailed explanation over any query that is complex.
It is never a good practice to make your customers wait. 68% of customers switch to a competitor if they don’t think you care about them.
Your customers might reach out to you during the non-working hours when your live support team might not be available. If you miss to engage them they can leave your site. When you provide real time support to your customers they feel happy and satisfied that eventually increases customer retention.
Deloitte reported that 62% of companies view customer experience delivered by a brand as a competitive differentiator.
The best way to avoid such inconveniences is to automate your sales and support with the best chatbots. Bots are always available to engage customers by following ways:
- Provide answers to customers that are relevant and effective. It reduces the number of support tickets raised by them.
- Bots learn the frequently asked questions asked and answer similar queries in the future.
The top potential benefit of using chatbots is 24-hour customer service. Bots are always available to engage customers with prompt answers to common questions.
- Having good customer service available round the clock creates a positive impact on your customer satisfaction and retention.
- You can use a chatbot solution for acquiring customer details and engage human agents in handling complex conversations.
While managing your conversations having scalable support is like a blessing as you might not be aware of when the traffic will hike. The businesses that use only live chat support can encounter challenges such as:
- Hiring more support agents
- Additional costs and time
- Handling of chats when the traffic increases
Imagine, your business receives more than 1000 chat requests per day. It is not possible for a single human agent to handle those many chats. You will need more support agents, invest time and money to train them.
But with chatbot implementation, you can overcome all the above challenges.
- You can enhance business productivity by providing quick solutions to customers.
- Chatbots can be easily scalable to handle ‘n’ number of chats without any extra costs and resources.
Chatbots can engage in endless conversations irrespective of time and volume. Both the business and the customers are happy. Big brands like Taco Bell and Dominos are using chatbots to arrange delivery of parcels.
- You can balance your scalability with chatbots and live chat to automate your repetitive queries and human support for complex queries.
- If scalability is your key concern, chatbots are the best as they are easily scalable during peak hours and later used to collect customer information.
Although chatbots are being used by many businesses live chat is a knockout solution when it comes to accuracy. For being able to deliver accurate solutions understanding the context is the most important part.
Chatbots are capable of answering simple questions that have predefined or predictive patterns. They may lack the ability to think and adapt complex questions where the customers might need answers they can rely on. Even with Machine Learning (MI) and NLP (Natural Language Processing), a chatbot to answer a complex question is close to impossible.
While a live support agent can help to develop an emotional connection by identifying the right pattern and can offer other related advice to solve issues.
There are times when a customer needs empathy to help them resolve a frustrating query. If the bots fail to work on this, it may give the impression that your brand is cold and impersonal.
- If your business requires handling FAQs and repetitive questions, chatbots can be the best solution.
- If your customers reach out to you with questions that need pattern identification, live chat can be the best solution. Live agents can identify conversation complexity and handle more effectively.
6. Human touch
The main focus of every business is to engage customers in real time and deliver a great customer service experience. According to Bain & Company, “businesses that successfully engage with their customers were able to increase the customer spend by 20% to 40%.
Live chat balances both real time assistance along with human touch. Live chat is conversational in nature that allows communicating in a natural way for immediate and personal contact.
- Live chat is conversational – It allows agents to make conversations interactive and meaningful by using live customer engagement tools. The direct interaction allows faster resolution in the first contact.
- Live chat has a personal touch – Live chat helps to personalize the conversations, greetings and visitors information that builds customer loyalty.
The support agents can use customer engagement tools like co-browsing and video chat to deliver interactive visual support. By instant response with AI chatbots and human support for the tricky questions, you deliver hybrid support and great experience of both the world to your customers.
- If human touch is important for your customers, live chat solution can help you to boost customer satisfaction with a personalized conversation.
- Chatbots delivering humanized touch is difficult in many scenarios. The AI chatbots may fail to understand the complex customer issues which can be better resolved with the help of human agents.
8. Customer satisfaction
Both live chat and chatbot technologies are geared towards modern business communication to create a unique customer experience. By adopting the right technology to fulfill customer expectations, businesses can improve customer satisfaction.
Live customer support agents are considered more efficient in addressing and resolving issues of customers without any hassle. Humans can offer high efficiency in query resolution and complex problem solving.
On the other hand, chatbots help to improve customer satisfaction by 24×7 customer engagement. Satisfied customers become your loyal customers and turn to be your best brand advocates. They are always on to answer customer queries.
Chatbots enhance customer satisfaction by following ways:
- Deliver prompt support round the clock
- Provide basic information related to purchases or products
- Transfer the difficult queries to deliver humanized support
Bots can improve the brand image with 24×7 customer engagement, frictionless customer service and reducing churn.
- Live chat is a better communication channel for businesses that deal with comprehensive support queries. The complex queries can be handled with a personalized explanation.
- Implementing chatbots may have an adverse effect on some businesses for customer satisfaction. You can measure your customer satisfaction metrics to learn the bot performance over your business RoI. You can balance the use of live chat and chatbot accordingly.
Chatbot vs live chat – finding the right balance
The best approach is to use the chatbot and live chat together in order to deliver the right customer service experience. Understanding the pros and cons of chatbots and live chat will provide better insights on which is the ideal fit for your business. Here are the best practices you can follow:
- You can identify the website pages that require human support or bot assistance. It is recommended to use chatbots as the primary support to engage customers, qualify leads and collect information before transferring it to the customer support team.
- You can balance using both technologies in the right balance to deliver better customer experience. Bots can handle simple queries and complex queries can be managed by the live support agents. This will help you to deliver your customers the best of both worlds.