Providing great online customer support and service gives your organisation a competitive edge in a fast-paced global marketplace. When current and potential consumers land on your website or social media page, they except their needs to be met with all questions answered within a reasonable amount of time.

Having a live chat that fails to meet the consumers expectation is meaningless. When consumers ask a question, a response that promises feedback within a set period of time is bound to increase your bounce rate. Therefore, it is essential to analyse the pros and cons of chatbots and live chat prior to making a decision on the ideal option for your business.

Chatbot

Chatbots are powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and function by providing computer generated responses that allow users to interact via chat interface. According to Forbes, a mere 44% of consumers prefer interacting with a chatbot over a human customer service representative.

Pros

Fast Responses

Chatbots provide instant responses to questions or queries. They have a knowledge database that can be tapped into within a few seconds, producing responses that are linked to the information requested.

Cost Efficiency

They are able to handle multiple requests and queries at the same time, reducing the costs associated with labour. Chatbots are also able to provide answers 24/7/365, eliminating the need to pay extra for night shifts.

Increased Customer Satisfaction

Chatbots use AI and machine learning to understand consumers and personalise their experiences. They can adjust to the needs of the target audience and make suggestions that suit the consumer’s needs and wants.

Cons

Not Ideal for All Businesses

Some businesses provide complex products and services that require the knowledge and capacity of a human agent. Attempting to program a chatbot with an extensive database based on different questions and possible scenarios is both costly and impractical.

Higher Initial Cost

Installing the AI software is expensive. Training costs may also be incurred training an in-house team to understand how the chatbot works.

Lacks Flexibility

Chatbots provide pre-programmed information, so questions asked need to be within context, specific and simple. Solutions that are offered by chatbots are limited, therefore should a question be misunderstood, the answers provided could be irrelevant.

No Human Touch

Chatbots provide pre-programmed information, so questions asked need to be within context, specific and simple. Solutions that are offered by chatbots are limited, therefore should a question be misunderstood, the answers provided could be irrelevant.

Live Chat

Human powered live chat is a customer service tool that enables prospects and consumers to chat to a human agent in real-time.

Pros

Effectively Resolves Issues

Live agents have the ability to assess the situation and think outside the box.  Human powered chat has the advantage of understanding the query and providing solutions to complex problems.

Flexible

Human agents are flexible and can be trained to communicate in a way that portrays the tone and voice of your brand. Unlike pre-programmed responses, the chat is smooth and seems less robotic.

Provides Contextual Responses

Live agents can provide responses that are relevant. For example, a global brand can put in place a multilingual team to deal with queries in the different languages relevant to their business.

Cons

Higher Overhead Costs

Live chat has increased labour costs, such as the need to pay for days off work, monthly salary and other benefits.

Risk of Verbal Abuse

It is common for live agents to be exposed to rude and abusive statements from angry individuals. Live agents require a high level of emotional intelligence to deal with extreme cases, as well as the ability to distinguish between consumers and trolls.

Time Constraint

Different time zones or set working hours can limit consumers from getting the help that they require due to the unavailability of live agents.