Visit any website, at any hour of the day and you will see that little something (live chat or chatbot) popping up on the bottom corner of your screen. This appearance will be of someone asking if you need any help. Click a bit or hover around and a chat box will open, to assist you with almost everything.
Here’s what we are talking about.
The tale doesn’t end here. These chat boxes lead to one of the two possible kinds of support forms – live chat or chatbot. As the terms themselves suggest, the concept of these marketing assets is simple – serving every visitor with quick resolution to any query that they might have so that they do not have to wait for an email or jump on the phone to get started with the next step.
However, with all the simplification that these tools bring there comes the confusion of sorts, and of them is live chats or chatbots – what should an organization go for. Well, that depends and differs from case to case. This article is an effort to answer all the questions you have had while choosing what to go for – live chat or chatbots.
Let’s get started, shall we?
Live chat & chatbots – Basics simplified
Before we evaluate and understand the winners for different functionalities, let’s get onto a quick revision.
What is Live Chat?
Very simply put, Live Chat is an online customer service system wherein live support by a human agent is provided to every visitor who drops in a query.
Live chat allows the site visitors to connect with sales & support experts from the organization to get real-time support. Due to this functionality, it is the most preferred proactive channel.
Statistics suggest that 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.
This, in itself, is an example of how effective a live chat can be for your business conversions.
What is a Chatbot?
A chatbot also called a virtual assistant is an automated response generator that is used to help solve the queries your website visitors might have.
One of the biggest use cases of chatbots is to improve customer experience by automating support of all sorts for the visitor. It can be a very simple query in regards to the onboarding process or an essential one like pricing or documentation requirements.
Unlike live chat services, chatbots are available round the clock and can engage with customers across websites, mobile applications, and messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp.
Decoding live chat or chatbot with industry statistics
- 85% of consumers will be able to manage their relationships with brands without human interaction by 2020.
- 73% of consumers say live chat is their most preferred method of communication.
- 80% of businesses are either currently using AI or planning to use AI for customer service in the next two years.
- 45% of customers say they prefer chatbots for customer service inquiries.
- Grand View Research expects the global market size for chatbots to hit $1.25 billion by the year 2025.
- 79% of consumers say they prefer to live chat because they get their questions answered quickly.
If we closely look at the given analytics to understand what makes a better fit, it does not do justice since both, live chat and chatbot come with its own set of pros and cons.
While some companies cater to the product or service that needs an actual human intervention to convert a user like real estate. On the other hand, SaaS businesses like marketing tools can make use of a chatbot to convert a user by creating a powerful bot with the help of service providers like WotNot.
[Suggested Reading: Enhance Your Brand’s Customer Experience Using Chatbots!]
Let’s talk about the challenges that the live chat or chatbot platforms are supposed to solve and evaluate who is the winner for each one of them.
Features of live chat or chatbots
While both live chat and chatbots are to enhance a visitor’s experience and help improve conversion rates, let us take a look at how they overtake each other in different competencies.
Winner: Live Chat
We just spoke about how live chat uses human effort to help a site visitor with a query in real-time. As we know that live chat has actual humans sitting behind the chat screens, it is a natural winner when it comes to emotions. A real human connection can never be replaced, after all.
Humans handling their clients on live chat can trigger your visitors’ emotions better and empathize with their problems. Humans can be humorous, tell jokes, be sarcastic, and even have the potential to negotiate with clients for which today’s chatbot may be a novice.
However, there are some smart AI chatbots like WotNot that give smart replies but they’re fewer in numbers and even they cannot be 100% reliable.
Ultimately, live chat integration would be a better choice in a case where you want to connect with your customers emotionally.
One of the features that chatbots carry amazingly is, they never get tired. The support agent behind live chat might raise a need for a vacation, a holiday, might get ill, or maybe desire a little power nap – making the availability a subjective thing.
However, chatbots never complain, never ask for a day off, and are on feet ALL THE TIME.
It is no wrong saying that chatbots are scalable. Basically, what it means is, they can cater to a humongous amount of traffic at any time while live chat support will be subjective to support team members’ availability and their capacity to handle chats.
With powerful chatbot enablers for different business domains, you as a business owner can have an evening away while all your visitors get treated the right way!
Winner: Live Chat
Wondering what we mean by understanding in the context of live chat or chatbots? Well, we mean the ability to understand the complexity of the issues. No matter how complex the issue is, if there’s a human, they can handle it while relating to it.
However, chatbots will only do what they are trained for and it’s just right to say that we can’t completely depend on chatbots in this case.
Chatbots are built to answer pre-programmed questions or follow a predefined flow and are limited. And if that keyword or phrase is missing or a visitor asks something out-of-the-box, the chatbot will sit back. Yeah, it’s sad but true.
And your visitor?
Due to a lack of delightful experience, they will give your business a second thought.
In fact, you must have noticed that if you raise an issue that’s more complex and the chatbot isn’t programmed for that, it may give you irrelevant replies or stick to the same answer.
We’re accustomed to slangs, abbreviations, short and casual language while typing. A human can definitely understand “Hw mch does this service cost?” but you may need to type a complete sentence while talking to a bot. That’ll take more time and I’m pretty sure you won’t like it and hence, the winner here is live chat.
Winner: It’s a tie!
Well, we have reached a point where we can say it’s a tie! Live chats can be more personalized conversationally. However, if your live chat software isn’t capable of storing previous data of customer’s chat, the returning customers would have a new experience every time they initiate a new chat with you.
Talking about chatbots, a smart chatbot can store previous chat data and assess it to continue further chats.
However, there’s a differentiator – in live chats, you don’t have to train your employees to provide personalization in conversation. But you have to gather data which is a bit difficult as compared to chatbots.
With chatbots, it’s easy to gather information but you have to have a smart, AI chatbot and train it well.
And well, these reasons make it a tie when it comes to adding personalization to your conversation.
#05 Response Time
Before we understand why chatbot is a winner here, let us agree on one fact – consumers’ intent to purchase is at the highest when they are active on your website. And bots complement this by always being there.
It is just obvious in this case that the winner is the chatbot. In no way can a live chat beat chatbots in response time. Even if you have a dedicated person sitting on the desk, staring at the screen, and waiting for a customer to ask a question, they will take a couple of seconds to read, understand and write back.
Chatbots respond to a query in no time (literally) and this is why it’s more preferred when it comes to an instant reply. Since customers don’t like to wait for the replies, it should be your priority to reply to customers ASAP and it’s possible every time only with chatbots.
#06 Cost Efficiency
#06 Cost Efficiency
One of the things that matter for every organization is cost-efficiency. Every business looks to save on resources. Hiring a team of 20 members for live chat support would cost you way more than a single chatbot. You won’t have to pay for it, you won’t have to compensate for the errors caused by them, and finally, you won’t have to gratify the outstanding work they do for your business.
Compared to the human needs of a fixed salary, insurance, bonus, and other allowances, a chatbot is pretty sorted in that way. All in all, we can say that when it comes to cost-efficiency, a chatbot is a no-brainer.
There are numerous chatbot builders in the market that help you create chatbots with a super-easy process for different platforms. These platforms ease the chatbot integration process and these bots cost less in maintenance.
However, if you are looking for the easiest solution that can help boost your conversion rate, WotNot ’s Bot Builder has to be your go-to.
Cost efficiency is one of the biggest factors that lead chatbots ahead in chatbot vs live chat.
#07 Use Cases
Winner: It’s a tie, again.
Usually, businesses need to categorize human agents with their specialties or departments to provide optimum support. Whereas, with bots, just one bot could handle all the areas of interest.
However, this feature efficiency also depends on different scenarios, the needs of customers, and the size of your business. Assume that you deal with complex questions and your bot is not programmed to reply. It will be a big bad mark on your brand.
But, if your customers ask common or repetitive questions, you can integrate a chatbot to handle those efficiently. That will save the time of your employees and let them focus on other productive tasks.
Please note: If your business doesn’t have a large customer base, you don’t need a chatbot. Live chat can be your friend when you are just starting off. But if your business has a huge customer base and deals with hundreds of questions a day, then a chatbot is for you.
While we move towards simplifying one of the most asked questions in chatbot systems, you must know that 70% of consumers today prefer using chat over voice. By not offering chat, you’re creating an immediate barrier between you and your customers that can strongly impact sales.
To determine what is best for you and your business, take a look at what’s most important to your customers. Is it getting answers 24/7? Is it being able to reach a human? Make a list of the basics and ones you know what you want, step into the market, and find out the best partner for you. One of the best ones, we would say, is WotNot.
The best way to get the answers to these questions is to ask your customers directly. Your clients are the best resource for planning your support system. Their answers can help you make the most informed decision possible.
If you want to go a little deeper into the world of chatbots, check out our blog and consume quality literature before finalizing one!