Chatbot vs. Live Chat: The Best Solution for Your Business
Customer relations is the heart of a successful business. Whether you sell cardboard boxes or design luxury yachts, your business fortunes depend on how well you serve your customers. So how do you best respond to customer needs a world of tough competition, 24/7 demand and information overload?
Traditionally, companies relied on customer service representatives (CSRs) who answered phone calls from nine to five, local time. Email opened another, more flexible option, allowing CSRs to receive queries out of hours. Instant messaging led to live chat which lets CSRs respond to queries in real time. Chatbots, which are automated software that responds questions using pre-provided answers, are the next step in the evolution of customer care.
Chatbots and live chat fulfil different functions and have different strengths. Understanding the benefits of a chatbot for customer support can help you choose the best solution for your business. Here are five things you need to know.
1. Always available
The most important thing you can do for your customer is be there
. People are busy. They want immediate answers.
Staffing live chat around the clock is prohibitively expensive whereas chatbots are always available. A chatbot never needs a coffee break, never calls in sick, never sleeps and never takes a vacation. Examples of key applications for this are a chatbot for ecommerce that can answer questions for customers impulse shopping at 2AM, or chatbot tutorials that can guide web visitors through processes on your website.
2. Can talk to unlimited number of people
If you compare the best human CSR to the best chatbot the chatbot has one huge advantage: it can talk to an unlimited number of customers at once. Imagine a customer browsing your website on their lunch hour. They want to place an order but have a question about shipping. In the live chat scenario, they type in a query but your CSR team is busy. In the 20 minutes it takes to respond the customer has gone back to work and you've lost a sale. In the chatbot scenario, they receive an instant answer, place the order, and are so happy with the transaction they mention it to a couple of colleagues, boosting your revenue and word-of-mouth all at once.
Revenue and profit depend on what you save, as well as what you earn. A white label chatbot is cheaper than recruiting, training and remunerating a CSR. It also offers a better long-term return on investment (ROI) than human agents. Employees, no matter how loyal and dedicated, tend to move on, taking your investment with them. Chatbots don't change jobs or retire. They stay, improve their efficiency, and boost the productivity of your business.
4. The chatbot can learn with each interaction (artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence is a crucial component of chatbot development that allows them to learn with each interaction. Chatbots for websites can start with a small bank of basic questions and answers then rapidly grow in complexity. The University of Melbourne, for example, launched a chatbot with 40 answers. Within a couple of weeks the bot knew the answers to more than 160 questions. This exponential learning capacity ensures your chatbot grows with your business, constantly improving your customer support.
5. You can still intervene as in a live chat if the chatbot can't answer questions
Chatbots are an invaluable tool for optimizing your customer service and they offer a rare degree of flexibility. During chatbot integration, or at any time, you can always intervene to respond to complex questions or concerns. Saving human CSRs for challenging conversations has several benefits. It saves live agents from getting bogged down in routine questions and allows more time for training them on advanced sales and support techniques. When a customer with a difficult question is promoted from a chatbot to a live agent they see that your business is working hard to meet their needs, which is a great way to build loyalty.