The world of business has changed. Technological has prepared a smooth landing surface for customers where they can choose the business they want to go along with. Will there be better, even prodigious customer service with live chat or with chatbots? First the internet, then digitalization, and now the ascent of future-techs like artificial intelligence, Cloud, and IOT is carving the business platforms.

Whatever the advancement, the objective is explicit – to offer sublime customer experience.

Premium customer service is not new to business owners. You know how crucial it is to keep on providing an A-Okay service experience to your customers. Because if you don’t take care of your customer, your patrons may migrate to your rivals,

The fourth industrial revolution is on, and there is no space for slip-ups. To make an impressionable sway in the market, you require to bestow ultra-modern mechanization in your business operations, similar to what the big wigs of corporates are doing.

Live Chat — Noodling around customers’ expectations.

With the upsurge of the internet, the online business world boomed. Today, all of the top-notch, middle level and small organizations have hopped on the internet wagon. The transition is phenomenal considering how the power has shifted from corporates to customers in a matter of a few decades.

The online business community is flourishing thanks to the presence of billions of people on the internet. Live chat is one of the most used customer service weapons to increase the patronage and perk up the brand image of the business. Live chat reportedly yields an impressive customer satisfaction rating of 92 percent.

The concept is subtle – you have a working website where you want your potential customers to come and purchase your offering; so you are offering quick and proficient support. Previously (before online boom), when customers used to visit the brick & mortar stores — a salesperson was always lined up for instantaneous assistance. This practice was meant to increase the likeability of a prospect making the purchase.

Likewise, with the online business, live chat is a facility for customers to interact with a support agent as soon as any issue or doubt arises. Seven out of 10 online businesses today leverage on the live chat support on their websites. If enforced in the right fashion, live chat has the competency to move your visitors to the bottom of sales funnel swiftly.

Customers prioritize live chat support over a phone call or email support because it trims the need to wait for a response. Everyone wants their queries to be solved instantaneously. The customer priority is why 73 percent of customers favor live chat over other support mediums like email, app, post, social media, phone, SMS, etc.

Artificial Intelligence — Transforming pipe dreams.

Around 63 years back, when AI was first coined as a notion by John McCarthy in 1956, the vision was to make machines communicative, perceptive, and human-like. Today, AI has penetrated the business sector with its impeccable application and utility.

A chatbot is an ideal epitome of how technology is helping human’s endeavor to accomplish the highest achievable efficiency. In simple words, chatbots are computer-spawned responses that empower customers to receive resolutions to their queries through AI software. Chatbots eliminate the need for human intervention in the customer support process.

That sounds amazing. Business owners across the globe are introspecting the benefits of chatbots. Some have already implemented this AI-backed tool on their websites while others are still not sure of which way to go.

On the other hand, market experts feel incredibly positive about the future of chatbots. Research tells that by 2020, around 85 percent of consumers will be assisted without any requirement of a human agent.

‘Live’ way or the AI way?

If you are going to ask me, “What’s more impactful, live chat or chatbots?” There isn’t a real answer to this. Both chatbot and live chat have their merits and setbacks. However, it becomes essential first to weigh your business objectives and requirements. This said, let’s quickly take a gander at some of the factors that weigh out both options.

1.   Time to response.

Keep one thing in mind always – no one likes to wait. Even though millions of dollars are invested in customer service each year, only 10% of customers reportedly feel satiated with the support from their business. A lot of business owners fail to comprehend that trimming the wait time is one of the best modifications they can do to their contact centers.

The ‘Live’ Way

Live chat is a unique way to address and retort wait times quickly. It shouldn’t come as a surprise if I tell that more than 75% of customers choose live chat because of the instant resolution ability. Let’s compare this to the protracted response time of email (17 hours) and social media (10 hours), the reaction time of live chat is a mere two minutes.

Even though live chat is an incredibly beautiful way to satiate customers’ response, it also has bottlenecks. The point of consideration here is that a support agent handles live chat, so the limitations of humans like fatigue, stress, carelessness, and time-bounded assistance count. Organizations need to continually enhance their live chat function through rigorous training and better scripts.

The ‘AI’ way

Chatbots, powered by AI, are prominent amongst the businesses to give out instant responses to customers’ queries. The artificial intelligence software weighs out the human dialogue and matches it with the pre-set rules to give out the most appropriate response. A wiser approach would be to utilize both in accordance with the customers’ requirements.

For instance, the initial conversation of customer service is generally filled with a trivial and common set of dialogues, so chatbots can easily handle the beginning. As soon as a live agent is free to take over, a bot can transfer the customer details and relive itself. Chatbots are run on AI, so it can also ensure the conversation is transferred to the relevant experts only.

2.   The associated cost.

You are in business because you want to earn a profit. This means that every decision that you take should be cost-effective.

The ‘Live’ way

Offering support to customers via phone call is costlier when compared to the live chat assistance. No set up for call centers is needed, and you don’t need to hire a colossal team of callers. Live chat experts can take care of multiple queries at a time, which is a massive win as compared to the assistance on the phone. It won’t be wrong to derive that live chat support doesn’t just save you money but ensures high operational efficiency for your business.

Typically, if you are paying anything less than $ 20 per month for a single user, you are doing fine. Anything above that comes under the ‘expensive’ umbrella. Also, if you are thinking to handle live chat internally then also you may have to pay a higher price as compared to when you hire a specialized service vendor for the same.

However, there is always a fear of curtailed quality with external providers. How many agents are suitable to handle your live chat?

  • 5 out of 10 companies that have implemented live chat have one agent.
  • 3 out of 10 companies have around 2-5 chat support specialists.

Most of the firms that deploy live chat (internally or outsourced) have unique monthly visitors of less than 5000, making it easy for a couple of agents to handle queries. No doubt, if the requirement goes up — the hiring of more experts is preferred.

The ‘AI’ way

Artificial intelligence is meant to make things easy for humans. Chatbots, when it comes to providing support, lower the operational expense tremendously. The cost of artificial intelligence software is a bit high but considered a one-time investment. The overall expense you have to put in the hiring and training of live chat agents will be higher in the long run. Chatbots offer an affordable way to address your customers’ doubts and complaints quickly.

3.   The Human factor.

The criticality of the human touch in customer service remains a priority even today.

The ‘Live’ way

One of the most eluding aspects of live chat support is that a real human is involved in the assistance process. People consider talking to a real person when they are stuck in a dilemma or if an issue arises. The outsourced vendors offer rigorous training to their chat support specialists to improvise and comprehend with the customers’ preference suitably. This puts live chat ahead of chatbots concerning the presence of human touch in the conversation.

The ‘AI’ way

The smartest people on the earth are working day and night to advance artificial intelligence. AI has evolved, but there are some voids to be filled yet. Chatbots have the capability to imitate human response by evaluating dialogues; however, when it comes to addressing sophisticated issues, customers prefer a human over an AI-backed bot.

People are still reserved vis-à-vis chatbots. If a customer is agitated and furious with some aspect, they won’t be happy to converse with a bot that is chained with limited responses only. AI isn’t equipped with the sensitivity, empathy, and emotional quotient that is needed to appease an angry customer and turn a lousy experience into a satiated one.

A better way is that chatbots can address and manage issues that are repetitive and monotonous. If a complicated situation arises, chatbots should be directed to transfer the chat to a live agent. This way both humans and technology can work in synchronization with each other with elevated efficiency.

4.   Availability.

Online business has enabled brands to target an international audience with ease. You can own a business in the USA and have a target audience in India. This means that while running an online firm, the notion of after-business hours is araticated.

The most successful brands in the world are ensuring that they are available for their prospects and customers around-the-clock. You cannot expect your customers only to reach your website during the day time only.

The ‘Live’ way

There is no harm in implementing live chat assistance for your customers 24*7. But there is one problem. To ensure that your customers’ doubts and queries are addressed day and night diligently, throughout the year — you require to hire experts on a rotational shift. More experts mean more expense.

Chat support specialists working in a day shift won’t be able to manage queries popping up in the midnight. Live chat isn’t considered a feasible approach when the objective is to assist customers 24/7/365.

The ‘AI’ way

Chatbots should be an apparent choice if the focus is to be available for customers around-the-clock. The most significant advantage of chatbots that make them superior over human agents is that the former doesn’t get tired. Chatbots have the competency to operate 24*7 throughout the year without any requirement for holidays or breaks.

It doesn’t matter if a customer is contacting you in the middle of the night or during the weekends – chatbots will be present all the time. This compels business owners to introduce chatbots in their models. Being present for your customers showcase your brand as trustworthy and dependable.

Few of the agile business owners are utilizing the expertise of human agents during the business hours and deploying chatbots for after-business hours. Using chatbots after hours is another remarkable example of how marvelously man and tech can work together.

5.   The problem-solving skill.

The entire notion of live chat or chatbots is to resolve customers’ queries quickly. Response time surely is a vital factor in offering website support to customers. But what will happen if you keep on responding swiftly to your customers’ issues but isn’t able to offer resolution efficiently? The overall objective fails and the benefit of fast response time will be neutralized. How productively a live chat agent or a chatbot can resolve customers’ query is another essential factor to be considered.

The ‘Live’ way

Taking care of a customers’ concerns is one of the most preferred options of customers to reach out to a brand because it is quicker than every other medium and is adept enough to solve patron queries. Live chat agents are considered more efficient in addressing and resolving issues of customers without any hassle. Assuming only humans can offer high efficiency in query resolution will be a blunder to make.

The ‘AI’ way

Around 80 percent of chat sessions can be resolved by chatbots successfully? This stat signifies that even the remaining 20 percent of issues are unsolvable, chatbots are highly adept in resolving queries. Where the problem seems more sophisticated, chatbots can direct the interaction to a support agent. The inability of chatbots to feel empathy or to read a particular tone makes them inefficient in comprehending human issues and offer solution accordingly.

If the customer query is wrongly spelled or has grammatical errors, chatbots can get confused. If a prospect is asking the cost of optimization of product or service — chatbots won’t be able to offer support. So, for a bit complex issue, chatbots can pass on the baton to customer service or live chat agent. However, this shows another example of how chatbots and live chat together can streamline your customer service standard phenomenally.

6.   The conversion.

Your ultimate aim is what? To convert your website visitors into your ardent customers. For this, you can either choose the live chat or chatbots. Let’s see what’s more fitting:

The ‘Live’ way

No doubt, when customers are conversing with a real person (support agent), the chances of conversion increases. Even research tells that with live chat, the probability of visitors making a purchase decision increases. Live chat is thus an impeccable way to lift your website conversion rate. So, is live chat perfect to accomplish a higher conversion rate?

Yes, because it involves human experts that understand and address customer queries with higher efficiency. No, because live chat isn’t proactive. This means that customers have to reach out to the support agents if the previous experiences some trouble or confusion. It seems too pushy if the live chat experts reach out to every site visitor.

The ‘AI’ way

Artificial intelligence helps chatbots to detect site visitors and send proactive messages from your end. There are many websites that have deployed chatbot assistance. It means as soon as a visitor lands on your website, chatbots will send a welcome message proactively. A quick message is an approach considered useful if you have an offering that’s too technical or specific.

Final Words

The perplexity of human behavior is quite baffling and ambiguous. Even though chatbots are fast and precise, but void of the human touch that is still needed even with advanced AI. Live chat has agents serving customers, which means high conversion and better brand image. Live chat isn’t affordable when it comes to offering 24/7/365 support. Live chat saves your expense of phone call assistance, but chatbots are much cost-effective for a longer run.

Instead of thinking which one (between live chat and chatbots) is much viable, business owners should wisely utilize both. Implementing both live chat and chatbot to your website in correct proportion would uplift the performance of your business and yield out profitable output. Both chatbots and live chat are quintessential for the success of your online business.

Shashvat Vats

Shashvat Vats is a business and marketing zealot who develops stories and write-ups depicting the trends, needs, scope, and insights of technologies, organizations, strategies, and inspiring visions. His striven efforts and customer-centric approach are always focused upon articulating an interesting reading experience, so as to transform a casual reader into an ardent, well-informed patron. He’d love to read your opinions at shashvat.vats786@gmail.com