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Chatbot vs live chat - 4 differences and how to pick the right one

Written by Molly Johnston

27 | 09 | 19

Conversational Marketing  |  
4 minute read

In the red corner, with 24-hour automated functionality and the ability to give you hours back in your life, we have chatbots. And in the blue corner, we have live chat, an outdated way to engage with customers. Both have very similar ways of working, but which one is right for you?

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  1. Need for speedy responses
  2. Capability to chat 24/7
  3. Context clues to help understand your customers
  4. Implementing with ease
  5. Which method is right for me?

1. Need for speedy responses

Live chat

When it’s implemented and working correctly, live chat is a great tool for giving customers a personal response. A prospective customer will usually ask an initial question and that will start a conversation with a member of your team - assuming there’s someone available at the other end who can help them. 

If there isn’t anybody there to help, they’ll be prompted to give their email address so you can get back to them in the future. A delayed response - or none at all - can be frustrating for a customer who needs immediate assistance and can even deter them from your business.

Chatbot

A chatbot offers an instant response as the majority are command based. These bots are perfect for simple requests like “where can I find the price tiers?” or “what are the features of this CRM?” and provide instant gratification for the customer. 

This is ideal for smaller questions and concerns that somebody probably wouldn’t wait 30 minutes on the phone line for. It’s a simple way to delight the customer and provide an instant answer. Which lets people on your team do more productive things than answer the same repeated questions.

2. Capability to chat 24/7

Live chat

Your business might have set hours but customers and the support they need does not. Questions and queries can come at all hours of the day. Are you prepared to have somebody manning them to cover timezones or will your live chat have opening hours? 

If no one is in the office, then there’s a good chance the chat won’t be active. So that’s where a chatbot comes in handy.

Chatbot

Chatbots are operational all day, every day. A survey showed that 83% of online shoppers needed support during online shopping, regardless of the time and these users will enjoy having good customer experience in a B2B context too. So if you could have something in place to answer questions quickly regardless of the time, wouldn’t you? 

3. Context clues to help understand your customers

Live chat

If you host live chat on your site, then a member of your team can use context clues to understand how the customer is feeling and what they want. 

If you activate a live chat window and begin talking, you’re almost always connected to a human customer support staff - although you may have to wait a long time for the pleasure. 

Visitors appreciate being able to talk to a real person but with the rapid growth of bots, will we be able to tell the difference anymore? Or will we even care, tbh?

Chatbot

Chatbots can have their limitations, especially when it comes to offering a personalised service. However, they still provide excellent feedback from your customers that can be used to better understand them and their journey.

A chatbot is a programme that’s been taught a set of questions to answer. Their scale and overall intelligence can vary. Some are restricted to only basic interactions while others learn and develop, using previous interactions with customers to improve future ones.

Even the world’s biggest brands are using chatbots, which shows how beneficial this sophisticated software can be.

4. Implementing with ease

Live chat

They’re pretty simple to implement on your website or use through channels like Facebook Messenger. They’re easy to use. However, having that somebody to log on all day and respond quickly is tricky.

Live chats are easy to put into action. It’s having a strategy that allows them to keep working that’s the difficult part.

Chatbot

Conversational marketing has revolutionised the way we communicate with our customers and 40% of consumers don’t care whether a chatbot or a human helps them. As long as they’re getting the answers they need, they’re happy. 

The more complex the bot, the harder it is to build, but the better experience the buyer has. If you’re considering creating a bot, you’ll need to think about how developed you want it to be. Will it answer frequently asked questions or can it hold a genuine conversation with users? 

I don't know about you, but it's always pretty obvious when you're talking to a bot. For this reason, we suggest that you don't pull the wool over anyone's eyes. Keep it simple and just answer FAQs for now.

Although it might seem complex, it shouldn’t stop you from getting involved with this evolving technology. It can be rewarding for both your business and your customers.

5. Which method is right for me?

Both live chat and chatbots improve the customer experience with your business. They’re great sources of fast and useful information, giving the customer the details they’re looking for. They can help you to stand out from the competition and highlight your commitment to outstanding customer service.

However, the way that technology is progressing and the different uses that are being found for chatbots suggest that they will surely overtake the limitations of outdated live chat.

If the actual creation of your chatbot is putting you off, don’t panic. For ideas on how to integrate tools like bots into your conversational marketing strategy, download our guide. 

Learn more about these key ways to communicate in our Conversational Marketing Playbook

For more information on live chats, chatbots and conversational marketing techniques, download our free guide now. From giving your bot a branded personality to how to get your customers actually using it for their questions, we’ve got everything covered.

The playbook is the only resource you’ll need to design, build and integrate a successful HubSpot chatbot for your business. Get your free copy of the guide now using the link below.

 

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