When was the last time you spoke to a live chat that was actually live, responded instantly, and did not ask for your email identity to get back to you shortly? You know what I’m talking about. It’s frustrating, but who’s to blame — the humans on the other side? Not so fast. There’s more going on here than meets the eye.
Why live chat fails
Let’s face it, managing live chat support is way easier said than done. Setting up and monitoring engagement on your website, resolving audience queries, and much more is a powerful way of building relations with existing and potential customers.
Except what’s the point if the live chat is not live, is tedious, and is taking up most of your time?
Not to mention the overhead costs that go into buying a live chat service and employing real humans to chat.
The good intentions of live human assistance were definitely there — from increasing customer engagement and satisfaction to driving sales — but time and again the means have just failed to match up to the intent.
Where chatbots win
With chatbots, on the other hand, the time, money, and energy that go into installing and maintaining a live chat interface on a website become irrelevant.
And while big and medium-size enterprises might find investing in a live one-on-one support tool feasible, it just does not add up for moderately small businesses, ecommerce stores, professional influencers, bloggers, and such.
Thanks to the current state of artificial intelligence, however, bots are getting better at the art of engagement. The way I see it, they will replace live chat and virtual assistant services for the better. A number of elements make them a viable alternative to popular live chat services; I’ve listed the key ones:
1. Automation: Chatbots don’t need supervision
Undoubtedly the biggest feather in a bot’s cap is its ability to save us time, money, and energy. Bots with a little bit of training can chat on for hours without any help. The hours you would have otherwise spent sitting behind a PC and answering site visitors can now be spent on the 5,638,921 tasks on your to-do list.
Answering the same questions over and over again can get monotonous and taxing, but bots can handle it with ease and flair. Imagine FAQs and queries — a bot could take care of it all in a jiffy.
2. Online 24/7: Alive and kicking all day
Another key feature that makes personal conversational bots the best live chat tool for all-purpose websites is a 24/7/365 presence. Simply put, anyone, anywhere, anytime can have a conversation with your trained bot and get instant responses.
3. Quick and instant responses: Chat on the go
While you can pour time, money, and manpower into providing instant replies to website visitors, it’s just not humanly possible to anticipate chats and be available at every visitor’s beck and call.
In contrast, chatbots are quick with their responses — they either know something or they don’t, and they are quick to convey that. They make waiting on a live agent to reply or submitting email ids a thing of the past.
4. Handles multiple chats at the same time
When it boils down to actual chat skills, bots dominate even the best of virtual agents. With responses being pre-trained, they can engage countless visitors in conversation simultaneously.
So say you have a number of chats coming in on your landing pages. Instead of giving half-baked answers to keep your readers content, a bot optimizes engagement with each and every user.
5. Cost-efficient: Easy on the pocket
Popular live chat services can cost anything from $12 to $106 /month/agent, but why should you have to pay to talk to the visitors on your site?
Chatbots are a pocket-friendly alternative that are way cheaper than their human counterparts. If you can get your hands on a free and simple chatbot platform, you should be good to go.
Plus, don’t forget the wages going out of your bank balance to pay your customer support team. Your free chatbot in contrast won’t ask for money, ever.
6. One unified interface and dashboard
If you’ve ever worked with live chat software, you know that it comes with twofold interfaces: one for the visitor, a chat box; and the other a dashboard cluttered with useful data, all live and past visitor activity and a variety of settings.
Now, your business can invest time and money in on-boarding sessions to get your support team used to the software and continue to set live chat working knowledge as a hiring criteria. But why overcomplicate simple, result-driven processes?
Bots present one clean, powerful, and unified interface where your visitor talks to your bot and the bot responds. Yet you still have complete control on your bot in the same interface where you can train and make your bot smarter by the day.
Chatbots are already emerging as the next step. Everyone’s enthusing about the gaps they’re filling for businesses and individuals alike. Most importantly, they’re driving user engagement, sales, marketing, customer support, and retention.
In case sci-fi movies like Terminator or Age of Ultron left a bad impression on you, bots are not here to replace us humans, but to help us and make our lives much much simpler.
Is there any other reason why you think chatbots are better than live chat services or vice versa? Will bots improve our daily lives? Please feel free to comment or share and let your thoughts be known.
Nidhriti Bhowmik is an AI and bot evangelist who leads the digital efforts at Bottr.me, a personal chatbot platform.
This article appeared originally at the Bottr blog.