June 29, 2021

Live Chat Vs Chatbots: Let’s Tell You Who the Real Winner Is!

Is having a live chat better than having a chatbot or is it vice versa? We have finally found the answer for you.

Live Chat Vs Chatbots: Let’s Tell You Who the Real Winner Is!

June 29, 2021

Whether it is live chat or chatbots, both have taken the customer success community by a storm. Almost all credible eCommerce businesses leverage these text based conversations with their potential buyers, and existing customers.

However, with the growth of artificial intelligence, the community is looking towards a very human-like chatbot.

A report by IBM on digital customer care in the age of AI claims that AI infused chatbots can handle 80% of standard questions. However, a survey done by CGS reported a chatbot fatigue amongst customers. And found that 86% of customers prefer human conversations to AI based conversations.

So which one is better? And what will work best on your eCommerce platform?

The following is a comprehensive analysis of chatbots and livechat used today. We will cover every aspect of this battle between man and machine, and try to give you a holistic perspective. Read on.

The difference between Live Chat and a Chatbot

The difference between live chat and chatbot is huge. And by no means are these two synonymous.

With a chatbot, you have an intelligent machine that functions without human interference. Chatbots conduct customer support on their own, generally through command based inputs, and sometimes artificial intelligence. These are standalone responsive customer support channels and can handle customer interaction with a faster response time. It is pretty much like a robot, hence the term chatBOT. A robot that can chat. 

Picture this, you have a customer base that is enquiring about their recent order, they want to know when it will be shipped. The shipping data is most likely already updated on your eCommerce store. Therefore, you don’t really need a human looking for it on your end, and then responding to the customer. This is where a chatbot helps! The chatbot can simply answer this question within a second with its intelligent programming. 

Live chat on the other hand, is powered by human intelligence. Or, to put it rather simply, it is a human resolving the query on the backend.

Say, the customer uses the tracking information to find their shipment is stuck at some warehouse. They will reach out to you, and in this case, the problem is slightly more complex and the data regarding it is not stored on your website.

This is when live chat comes in. The customer connects with a real human, a customer support executive. Who then reaches out to the warehouse, and finds out what needs to be done to get it moving. And subsequently, responds to the customer with an answer.

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Live chat vs Chatbots

Well, well, the battle of two beasts. 

Both have proven themselves worthy of the hype that surrounds them. And for sure, they are neck to neck in the fight of which is the better communication channel. Let’s hash it out. 

Live Chat

The phrase here goes, old is gold. But is it? 

Live chat offers a holistic human conversation for clients, and brings the ability to deal with complex problems. Live agents sit behind a desk answering customer queries to the best of their abilities in live chat. However great the human touch is, it comes with its fair share of follies. Here is an analysis of live chat through a few parameters.

Real time conversations with a human

With Live chat, customers get premium support. It offers real time conversations with an actual human being who then offers personalized support. Conversations matter a lot, customers prefer live chat only because there is a human on the other end.

Customers can face complex, intricate queries that a human can understand better. And answer them with a higher level of emotional quotient. Whereas a machine based chatbot might not even be able to process it. 

Simple escalation for an omnichannel support

Text is a great way to initiate the conversation, and resolve queries. But sometimes, things need to be handled on another level. If you use live chat, it is incredibly simple to move up to video or voice support. Even co-browsing sessions can be easily held to resolve complex queries.

This is what is known as an omnichannel customer support. It comprises almost all possible channels of support to better help the customer. With live chat, you have a clear recorded history of the customer’s issue. And to then transfer the chat to a call agent or an expert is super simple. It is easy for live chat agents to assess the situation and take a call to escalate. A machine like chatbot, might not even understand the query before escalating it. 

Decent response time

Let’s be honest, humans are humans. Even if they work at their fastest, they may not be able to compete with the computational power of computers. Live chat offers a greater response time compared to other channels of support but it is not the best compared to chatbots.

Live chat agents can run multiple conversations at once, giving a decent response time. But the response isn’t always instant and might require some time for the live chat agent to resolve the queries. Especially if they need more information or details on the matter from an expert, it can be quite a wait. 

Can be costly

Live chat isn’t the cheapest customer support channel out there. Although quite cheap compared to most other customer support channels, Live chat requires a team of live chat agents. For which you might need to spend a little on the support center. eCommerce platforms with premium customer support might also want an in-house customer support team.

Each live chat agent has a limited availability and not all of them are as good as each other. And there is an added cost of human error. 

Reactive customer support

When we talk about customer support, offering a proactive support system to your customers is key. Live chat isn’t exactly the best at it. Say a customer is on a product page analysing every detail before making the purchase. It would really help if a live chat executive notifies them about the ongoing discounts, the many features of the product etc. etc. This would be proactive customer support.

But unfortunately, with live chat you can’t do that. A customer has to reach out to you, and then a live chat agent responds. This is reactive customer support. Live chat can technically anticipate customer queries. But it can’t address them without the customer first asking them. This is something chatbot can do with a popup chat box right on the product page.

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The artificial intelligence powered customer support superhero, chatbot is an automated customer support channel. It requires little to no human help to function, and can grow over time to understand and respond to queries better.

A chatbot can easily handle repetitive, straight forward queries from customers at a lightning speed. Let’s look at some of its features.

Immediate answers 24/7

Chatbot is literally a bot. It is thoroughly automated, so it is designed to give answers quickly, within a second most likely. Any customer could ask a question at 2 am and the chatbot will handle it effortlessly.

You don’t need to worry about operating hours, weekends, holidays, style of conversation, nothing. It is pretty straight forward, every customer gets a homogenous solution and the style of talking always remains the same. Chatbot truly offers remarkable accessibility in record time.

Accurate and error free (for basic queries)

Chatbots are programmed with decision trees, meaning any one query leads to multiple more queries and a final solution is presented based on customer inputs. If the customer presents an easy, straightforward query: the chatbot quickly responds with a list of options for the customer to select from.

Following this, the chatbot retrieves a solution stored in its memory instantly. There is no room for human error here, the chatbot gives an answer based on whatever information is already stored on your eCommerce database. But this is just for simple, straightforward queries. So something like “Is PRODUCT XYZ available in blue?” easily follows a yes attached with a link, or a no with a sorry. No typos, not manual human errors and instant replies. 

Handle any number of queries at once

Chatbots can handle thousands of queries at once. They are a computer program, and go through rigorous testing in order to be able to handle that amount of queries at once. They can take on as many customers as needed at a given time. Therefore, chatbots are truly a boss at handling peak hours. 

Cost effective and scalable

Chatbots are an end all be all with the software itself. You don’t require agents, or any other additional system for it. All you need is the application, or a programmed solution for your eCommerce. This makes it relatively cheaper than live chat, and cost effective considering you don’t have to worry about scalability issues. 

You might need to upgrade in case you are using an API or third party application if you are growing rapidly. But you don’t need to worry about hiring more live chat agents, as is in the case of live chat. 

Can’t handle most complex queries

Chatbots are amazing at handling simple queries. But a frustrating mess for most customers when handling complex queries. They simply don’t understand complex queries, and might at times not be able to recognize queries well enough to address them. Remember, chatbot may be an automated system but the customer is only human. 

The customer might not always express themselves in a way the chatbot is programmed to understand. And therefore, can’t really help them at times. For example, if a customer wants to know “Is this product available in blue?”, chatbot might list all the products available in blue since the customer didn’t specify the product. 

Futile for omnichannel, and mostly command based

Chatbot can technically escalate complex queries to a further channel, but in that case live chat is more efficient. Since transferring to voice or video would require a human agent anyway, might as well have one from the get go. And let’s be honest, “Is this product available in blue?” is not really a complex issue requiring voice or video support.

Now the reason most chatbots today can’t handle a query like that is because they are command based. Despite all the AI talk, most chatbots aren’t equipped with state of the art AI technologies. And are still working like a simple program, except for recognizing a few phrases, the AI part of it is still pretty limited. 

So Who is The Winner?

They are both winners in their own right, both live chat and chatbots offer different dimensions of support to the user. And like Albus Dumbledore once said “We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided”. The real power lies in clubbing both of these to offer optimum customer support. 

While chatbots offer instant replies and all time availability, live chats offer real human interaction. Both of which are key factors for customer support. Customers statistically, gravitate towards eCommerce websites with quick, responsive customer support. Whilst also wanting human interactions

Chatbots can efficiently handle many queries at once, giving live chat agents a solid buffer during peak times. Chatbots can collect basic information so it is easier for the live chat agent to respond quickly and accurately. And this powerful hybrid of live chat and chatbot is where an eCommerce live chat solution like Textchat comes in. It is a well rounded mix of the two. Offering a clean chatbot solution on a live chat platform. It keeps the shopper engaged, and notifies live chat agents via text. The live chat agent then at any time slides into the conversation and resolves the query with that human touch!

This covers the ground for complete proactive, responsive solutions. Whatever the chatbot can handle, it does. And whatever needs a human, can be easily handled with live chat. Hence, making chat easy to manage and efficient! 

Simply put, if you want to run customer support seamlessly, you should have a mix of both chatbots and real-conversations via live chat. This is why we created TextChat. 

TextChat is a unique live chat solution for online businesses that leverages the power of both human conversations and automations to help you stay on top of conversations. 

Oh and did we forget to mention, turn those conversations into actual sales. 

Get started with TextChat and see it for yourself

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