Chatbot vs live chat: why chatbots reign supreme

For years, there has been much scepticism as to whether AI-powered chatbots can replace human driven live chat. While old fashioned human power has proven to be an effective customer service tool thus far, we are now at a stage where we can use software to answer the most common customer service queries, subsequently driving efficiency and customer satisfaction. As the technology that powers chatbots continues to develop over the coming years, there is no doubt that these ingenious inventions will embody the future of customer service – leaving the concept of human powered live chat to be a thing of the past. In this article, we outline six reasons why chatbots are the way forward.  
Faster response times

With the on demand culture we have today, it’s no surprise that internet users are very impatient. Businesses therefore need to provide their customers with a chat system that provides near instant information. Even a short wait for an answer simply isn’t good enough – your users will get frustrated, and will feel the need to look elsewhere for the answer to their question. While some websites have an extremely efficient ticketing system, human constraints will always be a factor. A live chat agent may have to attend to multiple customers all at once, or it may take some time for them to identify, research and type out the answer to the query. On the other hand, chatbots are fully automated and can provide an answer to a query instantaneously. Humans are traditionally poor at sifting through large amounts of data – in comparison, computers excel at such tasks. In fact, chatbots are so fast that some websites choose to add a slight delay to their bot’s response time to mimic a more natural flow of conversation. With these speedy response times, you improve customer experience by giving an answer as quickly and effectively as possible.  

Reduce customer service costs

Running a full time customer service centre doesn’t only take up time, but can also be very costly. You have to take into account not only the wages of each customer service agent, but also training costs, building and desk space costs, as well as HR and admin costs. All of this can equate to substantial direct and indirect costs to the business, especially if your business has a large customer facing arm dealing with high quantities of requests. By introducing chatbots into your customer service system, you reduce the need for a large (and expensive) customer service team – thereby saving a lot of money. Unlike a human customer service agent, you don’t have to pay your chatbot wages. Of course you will pay an up-front cost for the development of the bot, as well as any maintenance costs, but that’s about it. We always recommend retaining a human customer service team for those very specific, more complicated questions, but this can be much smaller as the chatbot deal with frequently asked and data led questions. This allows customer service employees to upskill and improve in a key area of the business.  

Chatbots can answer the most common questions

As we mentioned earlier, there are going to be some questions that chatbots won’t be able to answer. However, this only applies to a small percentage of queries. Many customer queries are relatively straightforward, such as questions regarding opening hours or making payments.

Specific industries can expect to receive the same questions over and over. For example, a Council will receive queries about bin days, council tax and local councilors from their customers. These types of queries no longer require human intervention, as chatbots are specifically programmed to answer the most common and straightforward questions, and can draw information directly from databases where necessary. There’s not much point in employing a human customer service agent to repeatedly answer the same simple questions that a chatbot can answer just as well...and faster. You may also find that your employee satisfaction rate increases as time can be assigned to more creative and engaging tasks.  

Help more customers and remove waiting times

Depending on the size of your current customer service team, you may not have enough employees to deal with all customer queries at once. You may have to place your customers in a queue, where they will have to wait several minutes before they can be seen by an available customer service agent. This is especially problematic for sites that receive high levels of enquiries, as the queue becomes more congested and your users have to wait longer for a response. By contrast there are no waiting times with chatbots, as they can answer as many queries as they need to at any given time. They can attend to hundreds of customers at a time – a feat which is beyond the capabilities of a singular customer service agent. By using chatbots you can keep up with a high volume of customer queries while also improving customer experience through completely removing waiting times from the equation.  

Increased availability

The majority of customer service centres tend to operate during the day, and tend to close in the later hours of the evening. These centres may also be closed on public holidays. However, what happens when your customers need answers during the times when your customer service centre is closed? This is bound to happen on occasion, as many people have jobs of their own to attend to during these hours.You can leave your customers extremely dissatisfied if they have to wait until the following day to get a response – especially if the query is urgent. Chabots provide a solution to this problem as they are available at all times, they don’t need a lunch break, holiday and they don’t call in sick. They act as a constant resource to your customers by offering 24/7 support, 365 days a year. It is this increased availability that makes chatbots the most viable solution for providing round the clock customer service to those visiting your site.  

They are constantly learning

While a chatbot may struggle to answer some of the more complex questions in its initial stages, they are constantly learning. We have discussed ​machine learning​ in the past, through which chatbots are able to learn from experience to improve how they answer a particular question. For example, if a chatbot diverted a user to a customer service operator to answer a specific query about a tax issue, the chatbot would learn from how the operator responds to this query and will adopt the principles from this response to use in the future. This technology means that your chatbot will become more sophisticated, and will be able to answer an increasing number of different questions over time. Not to mention that this technology is in constant development, and so the possibilities available with chatbots are only going to broaden over the following years. Clearly, now is as good a time as any for companies to make the switch from live chat to chatbots. Hopefully we have been able to convince you that chatbots really are the future of customer service excellence. To learn more about the benefits that chatbots pose to your business, ​book an IntelAgent demo​ today.