We’ve all been there…
You need an instant answer to a query but you just can’t get it. It’s not the best feeling – a moment of acceptance, the realisation that you will have to start looking for another service, or that you’ll have to wait for an undetermined period of time (perhaps days) before your question will be answered.
This very feeling, is the motivation for the inventions of the instantaneous customer services like live chats and chatbots. You may not have even realised it but you are probably familiar with these tools and most likely have used them a handful of times. They are embedded plug-in that appear on websites in the form of a social media-like messaging pop-up.
They can be found in the corners of browsers and they traditionally look something like this until they’ve been clicked on:
So if they look the same and provide the same function… how do they differ?
Live Chat Tools
When you use a live chat channel, it means that you are talking to an actual human agent. They typically exist on embedded chat pop-ups that you see on websites, but they can also be found on a business’ social media (e.g there are instance where customers talk to agents via facebook messenger, Skype etc…).
Its a simple process: you ask them questions on a pop-up or messenger channel and if you are fortunate then there will be someone sitting at a desk on the other end that will answer your questions instantly. In many cases, however, there is no one ready at the other end, such is the limits of staff availability from 9 to 5. In that case, a good live chat system will ask you for your email address so that they can reply to you at the next possible time.
A chatbot is software that automates and simulates a conversation with humans, typically over messaging apps or as an embedded feature on a company’s website.
What that means in plain English: if you use a messaging app like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger to message your friends, you can also add ‘artificial’ contacts that you can chat with. These contacts aren’t human, they’re computers (or ‘bots’) and they let you have a chat with them about the company or product they represent.
Why do Chatbots have the Advantage?
No Human Supervision
Chatbots allow businesses to automate elements of their marketing, sales and support. Most service-based businesses employ sales and support people to look after their customers and answer customer questions. Chatbots can steer customers towards what they’re looking for.
No More “Out of Hours”
Chabots handle customer enquiries 24/7 completely free of human intervention. Meaning that your business being contacted out of hours is no longer a concern. This can be crucial because it can save your employees countless hours on phones or computers answering questions and queries. This time can be reinvested into tasks that require a human touch.
If you are worried that a chatbot won’t be able to deal with the more complex customer enquiries, then you can integrate it with live chat. How this works is that a member of your team will be notified when a query cannot be answered by the chatbot alone, so that they can step in and finish the conversation off.
Furthermore bots can handle monotonous, repetitive tasks and never complain. A recent study shows that 80% of customer’s queries have been resolved by Chatbots without human supervision. Another study shows that the average human attention span fell from 12 seconds in 2000, to 8 seconds in 2017. So instantly engaging with your customers around the clock is crucial now more than ever.
International customer base? No problem. Your Chatbot provider should be offering you multiple languages (Chatamo offers 104). Meaning your bots can speak to customers all around the world, all at the same time.
Chatbots enable businesses to better understand their customers with real-time insights from the valuable data they collate.
Customise Your Forms
Transforming your business’ impersonal forms into informative conversations (in the form of a chat bot) is a great way to streamline your customer experience.
This is an easily implementable strategy that allows you to learn key information about your prospective customers via automated messaging on social medias. A user simply messages the bot to get the conversation started and instead of filling in a tedious webform, they answer the chatbot’s questions.
These awesome features are unique to Chatbots. So for us, we think the chatbot technology has the edge over live chat.
But, before investing in one it is important to do some due diligence. There are loads of impressive chatbots in the market at the moment, that offer a wide range of functions but there are an equal number of less useful chatbots out there too.
So before you choose one, think to yourself. What sort of customers do I have? What sort of messaging channels do they use? What languages do they speak? What sort of queries do they need answered? And pick a chatbot provider that has the functionality to deal with all of these factors optimally.
And the next time you go to use a chat tool on a website see if you can workout wether you are talking to a human or a chatbot? If it’s a smart chatbot it might take you a while to figure it out!