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Live Chat vs Chatbots – Who Will Win?

As more and more companies offer online chat as a form of communication for their website visitors, the debate  over whether to use live chat agents or automated chatbots only intensifies.

Image of a chatbot and a live chat agent

Editor’s Note: This post was submitted by guest blogger, Jared Cornell. Enjoy!

In today’s world where customer satisfaction is of a crucial importance for every organization’s success, business owners are always looking for new and improved ways that make their customers’ experience delightful. It is a known fact, no matter how good your products or services are, the first thing your customers expect is to be treated with respect and to have their concerns addressed instantly.

However, survey says that your satisfied customers will spread the word about your business to around 10 people on an average. But the figures change as your dissatisfied customers will tell twice as many people about the inconveniences they have encountered with your company.

That is why you need to give your best to truly understand your customers’ needs. Luckily, today you have many options available to help you know your customers better, live support chat and chatbots being among some of the great options.

So, the question is – which solution is better? Although it is predicted that by 2020 the majority of businesses will implement artificial intelligence in the form of chatbots to their customer support operations, incredible benefits of live support chat still remain relevant.

Therefore, in this article, we will compare pros and cons of both these options, and help you make the right decision according to your business requirements!

Chatbots

According to an online dictionary, chatbot is “a computer program designed to simulate conversations with human users, especially over the Internet”. Companies that are looking for automating their business operations usually go for chatbots, because:

They don’t require any supervision – This is usually emphasized as one of the greatest benefits of chatbots. These tools can be programmed to “communicate” with your customers for hours and hours without any human intervention needed. In short, chatbots help you save significant amounts of money on your customer support agents, as well as to save a lot of time, since no one human can possibly interact with customers 24/7.

By implementing a chatbot to your company’s website, your support staff will have more time and energy to dedicate to some other important tasks, while the technology deals with solving customer problems.

When you have a lot of customers and only a couple of support agents, a large number of chat requests can make their jobs overwhelming, while one chatbot handles endless requests at the same time.

They provide instant responses – Each and every customer wants to feel valued. This means that if you really respect them, you need to answer their questions promptly and offer solutions to their problems without having them wait for hours or even days in some cases.

With chatbots, response time is no longer an issue, as the bot will respond instantly and your customers will no longer be on hold.

Great as all of this may sound, chatbots have some disadvantages nevertheless:

They can never replace a human being – Chatting with a bot can never be as personal as chatting with a real person. Although they have an ability to solve problems instantly, still they are incapable of giving any advice to your customers when it comes to their purchasing decisions, for instance.

They can only give simple answers – The number of answers these virtual assistants can provide your customers with are rather limited, which can be annoying at one point. Even though they can be programmed to become more “intelligent” over time in case your customers need some guidance, but they can disappoint if they don’t have a real support agent to turn to.

Live Support Chat

Image of four live chat support agents

Let us first focus on the disadvantages of live chat:

It is not available 24/7 – Like all the other employees, your support agents need to take a break from their work and cannot be constantly available to your customers. Also, the majority of businesses cannot afford to have a 24/7 support team. (Editor’s Note: Cost-effective 24/7 live chat support coverage is an option if you consider outsourcing this function of your customer service department to a capable contact center.)

Language limitations – While chatbots can be programmed to “speak” multiple languages, your agents might be limited in this area, which can be a problem if you are running an international company. Hiring a multi-lingual team can be a solution to this problem, although a very pricey one.

However, these cons might seem pretty insignificant and can ultimately even be overlooked when compared to the benefits live chat brings:

It provides real human connection – Chatting with a real support agent will provide your customers with real emotions and the empathy they need. Agents can really have a deep understanding of their requirements and concerns and offer personal help and guidance which your customers will greatly appreciate.

There are no limitations – When it comes to live chat, it doesn’t have a limited set of questions it can answer, and your agents can really think outside the box, unlike chatbots. When your customers need a solution to their problems, a support agent won’t stop trying until they have managed to fully satisfy their requirements.

Final Verdict…

As you can see, both of these options have some advantages and disadvantages, so neither of them is actually perfect. But, taking into consideration all the needs of an average business, we might conclude that it cannot really survive without having the live support Software. That is why including a chatbot on your website can certainly be useful, but having real support agents that your customers can turn to and seek for understanding is an absolute must!

Author Bio:

Jared Cornell is a customer-support Manager and a marketing evangelist working with ProProfs.com for more than 5 years. After wearing many hats as a sales specialist, a content marketer and a brief stint as project manager; Jared found customer support to be the passion-fueled calling while working with ProProfs Chat. Being an avid book lover, he regularly visits the library and is always keen to develop new strategies to help customers seeking live chat assistance for a delightful experience.

Connect with Jared on…

Twitter:   https://twitter.com/Jared_Cornell0

Linkedin:   https://www.linkedin.com/in/jared-cornell0/

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This entry was posted in Answering Service and tagged , by Andrew Tillery. Bookmark the permalink.

About Andrew Tillery

Born and raised in Oregon, Andrew has now put down roots in Seattle, because he refuses to call anywhere but the Pacific Northwest home. After graduating from Portland State University with a double major in Marketing and Advertising, he spent some time learning Spanish and experiencing all that South America has to offer. It was while he was south of the equator that he uncovered an interest in writing that he strives to develop whenever the opportunity is presented. When Andrew isn't taking care of business at the office, he is throwing fuel on his fiery passions for sports and the outdoors.