As we take the next step into the future, we witness revolutionizing changes in technology sector that assist to upgrade the customer support industry. The rise of chatbots being one of them.
Although this customer support tool has been in market for more than 2 decades now, still it was in 2016 through Facebook Messenger that it started to gain recognition. This automated channel later on gained good ground in market and entered the customer support process of many companies.
What actually makes them popular, you may ask. Well, the answer is clear – great at fixing all our acquisitions and retention problems. It even boosts our ROI. So, these unmatched winners have taken up all the attention and known to be one of the most preferred tools for providing seamless support services.
But lately, it is facing a tough competition from live chat software. And the reasons may not be clear to the users of chatbots. However, those who’ve integrated the live chat tool at their site after experiencing the outcomes of chatbots are way happier with the results. If you’re confused as to why the results changed so quickly, then it’s time you understand both of them in detail.
So, let’s see how free chatbots compare to live chat, and which solution will come out on top.
The Chatbot Proposal
Being an AI solution that’s just complex enough to excite modern consumers and automate business processes without taking the usual toll on budget, effort and time, a chatbot is perpetually described as a game changer. Two years ago, 80% of businesses were planning to employ one by the year 2020.
The official chatbot proposal, we must agree, is not bad at all. Primarily applied in customer service, they promise more efficiency, reduced costs, and increased customer satisfaction. A single chatbot can answer multiple queries at the same time, thus guaranteeing 24/7 availability across all channels.
Most importantly, a chatbot apparently eliminates waiting times.
With 68% of customers being ready to leave your business due to the insufficient human support, chatbots truly seem like an infallible solution to common retention problems. Not only are they not prone to human errors, but they’re also self-sufficient, tireless and cheap equivalents to human reps.
What’s There Not to Like?
Chatbots were born in the economy defined by customer centricity and focus on experiences instead of actual products. Across the industries, the biggest pain point that the new business landscape must solve is the absence of a holistic solution, the one that eliminates friction and effort on all touch-points.
Such solution would therefore need to be fast, always accessible and unfailingly reliable.
If there wasn’t for this third requirement, chatbots would have been the automatic winners. But the truth is, digital assistants are not 100% reliable. Though equipped with AI, NLP and machine learning, they are still only capable of answering to simple queries. For everything else, they need a human rep.
Ironically, their biggest boon is at the same time their biggest downside.
This is a shortlist of limitations that robotic reps cannot overcome:
- Chatbots are algorithm-based, which means that they cannot think outside of the box.
- Despite NLP, they still respond only to simple, specific and contextual questions.
- Chatbots are sensitive to spelling mistakes.
- Though they do learn at each new interaction, their growth and development are still slow.
On top of all this, we still haven’t mentioned the biggest downside of all – the absence of human touch.
The Human vs. the Machine
Sure, humans are bound to make mistakes. But the thing that separates them from all other creations is that they’re capable of fixing what they’ve broken. In terms of customer service, this means that problem-solving, out-of-the-box thinking and real-time ideation can only be allocated to human reps.
Quality service-wise, these traits will always be more important than speed.
Consider this scenario. A software user approaches customer service with a complex problem that requires a step-by-step solution. In order to solve it, a bot needs not only a pre-written guide but also an information on how experienced and educated the user is when it comes to tech-related problems.
Assuming that the bot is very well trained and able to recognize the user’s level of technical experience with only a few questions, the bot will be able to find an appropriate guide and send a link to the user. But what happens if the user has additional questions? What if the bot’s assessment wasn’t correct?
There are simply too many ifs in complex scenarios, and the bot would need a really powerful algorithm in order to perform a long thread of branched commands. And thereby lies the entire trick – such chatbots are neither self-sufficient nor cheap. They require extensive, expensive and arduous training.
Meanwhile, a human rep will tap into his or her experience in order to pinpoint the users’ problem and level of technical knowledge. A seasoned rep will be able to recognize all this from the user’s initial query and the language he or she uses to explain what’s wrong. No if commands, just plain intuition.
The Advantage of Live Chat
There’s really no need for live support chat to be any slower than chatbots. Sure, a digital assistant can handle multiple queries at the same time, thus simultaneously doing the work of two or three human reps, but doesn’t this apply only to enterprise-level companies with thousands of customers?
Even if we are talking about large businesses, there’s still one thing that beats multitasking – the quality of service that necessarily implies human touch. Modern brands are built on customer-centricity and personalized relationships, which pretty much defies the purpose of chatbot machines.
And this is the biggest advantage of live chat:
Whether it comes to purchasing decisions or post-purchase dilemmas, support must be personalized in order to be successful. But that’s what CRMs are for, you’ll think. Well, CRMs cannot help you determine whether a customer is grumpy and in rush or is in the mood for a full shopping experience.
Not a single machine can possibly understand this, not even an expensive chatbot.
Like all technological solutions, chatbots will in time prove to be short-lived. What remains is human intuition, a unique ability to recognize the nature of query in an instant and work out the most appropriate approach to solve a certain problem. This is what makes live support chat for website a winner.
Jared is a customer-support expert and a marketing evangelist working with ProProfs Chat for more than 5 years. Being an avid book lover, he regularly visits the library and is always keen to develop new strategies to help customers seeking live chat assistance for a delightful experience.