Customer Success ResearchChatbot Vs. Live Chat - Which brings you the most rewards?

Communication with empathy or support experience? At minimal, the characteristics of Bots and Live Chats can be put into those simple terms. There are always mixed opinions on Chatbots and the use of traditional support staff, but when it comes to a business, decisions involving customers require attention and much thought before implementation of any technological solutions.

We agree, making this decision as an organization – of any scale – or an entrepreneur is not an easy task. We all want to increase conversions to meet our goals and objectives, but the platform where the first contact takes place has to accommodate a customer, which is the challenge that many businesses face. Worry not - with the right amount of awareness - you would surely make the right choice. Let’s get to it.

What is a ChatBot?

Firstly, let’s look at what a ChatBot is;

According to Oracle.com, ChatBot is defined as a computer program that processes human conversations to interact with humans as an actual person would. Many e-commerce websites have ChatBots integrated into their platform which makes simple FAQ query tickets easy to handle. Any person by now would have had a conversation with a ChatBot and never known it.

Here’s where things get interesting. Some ChatBots - powered by AI (Artificial Intelligence) - are much advanced in terms of interaction. AI ChatBots are versed in Natural Language Processing (NLP), and they use customer data to further improve the support experience.

Now let’s look at what it means to have a Live Chat Integration?

While the digital space is changing, it’s taking over human operations with automated solutions to offer convenience. Such as a bot. However, replicating human interactions using software doesn’t promise a sincere client-customer experience. That’s where Live Chat comes in. Live Chats are also digital solutions, but it merely creates a platform for real agents to engage with potential leads. Some sophisticated software offers omnichannel connectivity so agents can communicate with customers connecting through any social platform, in one base.

Let’s Help You Decide - Advantages and Disadvantages

ChatBots

When it comes to ChatBots – more precisely – AI ChatBots, many advantages can be looked at;

24/7 Availability & Less Maintenance Cost

ChatBots are human-like machines. They do not require breaks or rest. As long as they’re programmed to perform, they would be up and running 24/7 year-round. Many organizations opt for bots, mainly due to their cost-effectiveness in terms of maintenance. Customer support wages are not required, and everything is digitalized.

Increases Customer Engagement

Customers look for a platform that’s welcoming and supportive, be it any time of the day. A ChatBot - being available all the time - succeeds to provide this support. Quick inquiries are swiftly handled, and the bounce rate of a website relatively goes low.

Data-Driven Communication & Insight Analysis

AI ChatBots have the capabilities of digesting consumer data for a better experience. Queries are responded to based on customer behaviours and patterns. For an instance, Sephora’s ChatBot analyzes visitor purchases and usage history based on the data they enter.

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Ability to Improve to suit customer needs (Only AI)

Only AI ChatBots have the ability to develop on their own even after the language commands have been fed to them. It means that every time new data has been included in its system by customers, it uses them to improve its offering.

While it looks very much convincing already, you might have to be aware of the baggage of cons that comes with human-replacing software.

Let’s look at the disadvantages of a ChatBot;

Lack of Human Empathy

Chatbots are just programmed solutions built by humans. It most certainly can’t compete with the vast knowledge and empathy of humans. Intelligent software can raise the bar a bit higher, yet it has no match to a brain. So, customers may sometimes encounter cold responses from bots.

High cost of initial implementation

Getting a ChatBot integrated for the first time requires a hefty investment. Some cheaper solutions come ready-made but with limited features.

Limited Decision-Making Ability

Although ChatBots are intelligent, they’re not Smart. They don’t have the ability to solve complex queries. Due to its limited comprehension, some customers may find conversing with a bot, to be a waste of time.

Scenarios of Malfunctioning

One of the most common errors that businesses face using a ChatBot is its unreliability at times of high traffic inflow. In some cases, a perfectly working bot can just so simply break down. Encountering errors are acceptable, but malfunctioning is something to worry over. The following shows how a malfunctioned ChatBot can drive away customers.

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The Most Important – Security

Breach of Security has been one of the dominant issues faced by Businesses that acquired cheap bots. ChatBots – especially AI – uses bulks of customer data – some of which are confidential. Third-Party solutions that set up the ChatBot, can access these sensitive data for their advantage.

Live Chats

When it comes to Live Chats, technology is given limited independence in interaction. Let’s look at the advantages of having a Live Chat.

Increases Team Productivity

Live Chats are handled by live agents or customer service agents who know their way around clients. Many Live Chat Softwares enable accessibility of multiple customer touchpoints in one single platform. That way, an organization’s communications are centralized hence the productivity of teams can be measured more accurately. With Live Chats focusing more on the human element, tracking productivity is one of the key advantages.

Helps Convert High-Value Customers with Customizable Service

While ChatBots can assist with basic FAQ queries, Live Agents assist in converting high-value leads by providing reliable, wholesome, and quality customer service. High investments in products or services require the promise of an efficient money-value exchange. Customers believe that only another human will be able to offer customized service.

Encourages Customer Loyalty

A business is built on relationships. Loyalty is an integral part of a successful business. A Live Chat creates an atmosphere in which customers feel attended to, and there’s no need in keeping inquirers waiting. First communication is the most crucial, so Live Chats have the capability of providing the kick start to a lead conversion process.

High ROI

Return on Investment is a prime factor to consider in terms of the health of an organization. With Live Chats, organizations can build better customer relationships and boost CSAT Scores. Although maintenance cost is higher than of a ChatBot, Live Chats are capable of securing conversions that provide definite ROI.

Based on the above factors, now we can decide what’s best for your Business;

How Big of an Organization are you?

The size of your organization matters quite a lot in this decision. Does your company have over 1000 employees with a static structure in place, or is it just a startup with few all-rounder employees? Organizations with big budgets can test out different solutions because an investment of trial wouldn’t affect their annual plans. However, companies with tighter budgets cannot take risks, and conversions are important for them to secure market share. Live Chats don’t require complex integration, whereas ChatBots reduces unnecessary expenses in customer service staff.

As there are many pros and cons in this situation, some big organizations have resorted to accommodating both of these solutions to harness the best outcome.

The following thread is by Bold360, which has attempted to provide a casual UX by integrating both humans and a bot.

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Key Takeaway: It doesn’t matter if your organization is big or small. As long as you want to convert leads and build customer service, Live Chats offer a better experience to your customers.

What’s the value you offer to the Market

Have you ever compared your brand’s service offering to another business of a different industry? The answer is No because it wouldn’t make sense. But when it comes to deciding tech solutions to integrate into your digital presence, you must. When we look at a regular product brand that manufactures makeup, customers reach out after comparing different brands on their own. They either have made their mind to purchase, or to request a bulk order. When it comes to a Service brand such as a Travel Agency or an Insurance Firm, customers need to conversate because the value of a purchase is high. Understanding the value you offer to your customers, you can decide whether Live Chats or ChatBots would bring in better conversions.

Key Takeaway: If your Products or Services are valued high/require huge investments from the customer’s side, a Live Chat is the only way to secure conversions.

How do you compete?

When it comes to competition in the market - communication is key to securing customers, be it an organization with the highest market share or just a new entrant. For this, you must first understand the main income generation method and acquisition to tap into those factors. If you are a traditional brand, but your competition is now entering into the digital space to offer convenience, you will have to make necessary changes to keep up. If your company’s biggest sales are through physical outlets, you may have to rely on advancing your coverage. Based on these factors, you may come to terms with which solution would serve you best.

Key Takeaway: If your Brand is in the Service Industry, it’s a MUST to be present in the digital space, as many competitors are making conversions online.

ChatBot Rules Not to Miss:

  • The 80%/20% Rule – According to Deshmukh, businesses are using a mix of a Bot and Human Agents to maintain a balance in customer experience. By adapting the Pareto Principle, it’s identified that 20% of an organization’s inquiries require human intervention. Although it is a tiny percentage, it is a major factor that brings in conversions. So Live Agents are a Must to be in the background if at all higher assistance is required.
  • Let the Bot Introduce Itself – It’s very important to let your inquirer know that they’ve been served by a ChatBot because there are limitations in communications with automated software. If your customer is unaware of this, if at all the query gets complicated, they will feel frustrated.
  • Be Cautious with its performance – especially when it comes to AI ChatBots - they improve on their own as long as the initial training is conducted properly. In some cases, the Bot may get muddled up and start conversing too casually, and it could potentially damage your organization’s reputation. Below is such situation.

Can Live Chats Offer a Better Service?

If you’re looking for a safer, more reliable option, Live Chats are the most ideal. As it has also proven successful over the decades, the probability of something going wrong is very low. New software solutions such as ClickConnector offers businesses seamless centralized communications for all their digital platforms. You can add in more channels conveniently, and conversions are guaranteed based on your staff productivity.

Bottom Line:

Now you probably have a clear idea of the difference between a ChatBot and a Live Chat. It’s a matter of deciding which option to choose for your business. Are you focusing on quick Support Experience and integrating a ChatBot, or are you looking to bond with your customers while also creating career opportunities for employees? The decision is yours! Cheers!

Written by

Paul York
Paul York
8 mins

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