Nowadays, customer experience is a major factor that determines a company's success in the market.
Aside from providing customers with good-quality products or services, businesses must also focus on providing exceptional customers service and support. The main reason is that the online market has become quite oversaturated.
With so many businesses promoting themselves and their offers, it becomes increasingly difficult for consumers to find something they haven't already seen before. That's why they're more likely to opt for a business that is truly unique and excelling in any way.
When it comes to customer service, many businesses have implemented a live chat feature, in order to provide their customers with more convenience and better experience. However, today, chatbots are redefining customer service with increased popularity, convenience and usage. That being said, let's have a look at how chatbots and live chat are performing and which is winning customer service.
What are chatbots?
Chatbots are computer programs that are powered by AI (Artificial Intelligence) and its machine learning, deep learning, as well as natural language recognition capabilities. They exist primarily on messaging apps and are designed to provide seamless customer service and support to consumers.
A chatbot's ability to mimic human behavior makes it an ideal tool for this type of services. What's more, a chatbot is basically a machine, which means it won't tire or become angry due to the stress of the job. In addition, chatbots can have simultaneous conversations with multiple customers at once.
Importance of live chat
The live chat feature is designed to allow a customer to voice their concerns, questions or issues they might be having and get instant gratification. In other words, live chat is there to provide better, faster and more seamless service or support as compared to other channels, such as email or phone. The fact of the matter is that live chat has the highest satisfaction rates (73%) among all other customer service touch points.
In addition, 79% of consumers stated they prefer live chat because they get answers immediately while 46% of consumers stated live chat is the most efficient communication tool available. In essence, live chat enables customers to talk with a company's representative in person and sort out any issues or inquiries straight away. This not only improves customer experience and satisfaction, but it also increases customer retention rates and customer loyalty.
Chatbots excel where live chat might fail
It's no secret that companies must try to perform in a way their customers expect or need them to. Many businesses design their operations to meet customer demands and those demands may change overnight. Another well-known fact is that consumer trends are in many ways shaped according to the latest technology.
Therefore, live chat can be a great asset if implemented correctly, but it cannot always meet every demand. For instance, 51% of consumers, nowadays, expect from companies to be available 24/7. Such availability is crucial for both B2B and B2C relations, as well as other important business goals these days.
However, that also means you'd need employees working around the clock to have this feature in the first place and that requires a lot of resources. That's why a chatbot would be more suited for this task than an entire department of employees. As mentioned before, chatbots won't get worn down or stressed due to working 24/7 and they can provide service to any number of customers whenever it's needed.
Not everything is perfect
Both live chat and chatbots are not without flaws. Live chat relies on human interaction and the level of good service depends on the person providing it. In addition, not every issue can be resolved immediately and sometimes customer service representatives will require from customers to leave an email address so they can get back to them.
This creates inconveniences that may force customers to leave. What's more, even though the average response time for live chat is 2 minutes, the response may vary based on how many employees you have and how large your consumer base is.
On the other hand, chatbots are machines. As machines, they're bound to have issues. For instance, chatbots are AI-powered, but even AI technology is in early development. That being said, chatbots can get confused by spelling errors and they cannot think outside the box. Moreover, chatting with a chatbot lacks the human touch factor, which may bore customers.
So far, both live chat and chatbots have their unique advantages and disadvantages when it comes to providing customer service and support. Furthermore, both features require proper resources, in order to function properly. However, chatbots are powered by AI which will most certainly experience upgrades and advancements in the upcoming years. That means that chatbots are most likely to become more sophisticated and perhaps even replace live chat altogether, in the not-so-distant future.