The evolution of live chats and chatbots has happened quickly over the last ten years, and today there are a number of options available. As with most things, the option most suited to your business depends on exactly that: your business.
- What are the problems in your business?
- What are you looking to achieve?
- What are your services?
- What are the important questions in order to qualify each and every prospect that comes in?
Chatbots and live chats can be incredibly helpful tools for answering customer questions and concerns, bypassing long and frustrating wait times, and overcoming limited agent availability – but there are pros and cons to consider to find the best option for you.
Live chat versus chatbots
A live chat environment is one that involves a human communicating with customers through a chat box.
- Able to deliver accurate solutions: nuanced questions can be handled by an operator from start to finish
- Less frustration for customers who have a specific question that isn’t in the FAQs
- Customers might prefer a human touch
- At risk of human error such as spelling or grammar issues
- Potential for bias or emotion
- Requires staff that need to be trained and monitored
- 24/7 support is impractical and expensive using this method
- Can only respond to a limited number of enquiries at any one time
- The cost of paying a member of staff member to operate it
A chatbot, on the other hand, is an interface that has been programmed to mimic human interactions. It can be seen as a digital concierge for a business.
- No risk of human error such as spelling or grammar issues
- Remains neutral and predictable; not influenced by emotion
- Requires no staff after initial set up
- 24/7 support
- Can respond to an unlimited number of enquiries simultaneously
- Can’t handle every enquiry; may require human interference
- Best at answering FAQs, may struggle with niche questions
- Customers expect empathy when facing problems or concerns; a chatbot cannot provide this (yet)
Because of the absence of staff costs or training, the quality assurance, and the 24/7 support, many businesses favour chatbots over live chats. As more and more businesses implement chatbots, we have more data to support the merits of such technology – and to warn us about the things we need to be mindful of.
How can businesses leverage the best results from chatbots?
There is a reason we hire a plumber to fix problems with our pipes, a dentist to fix our teeth, and an electrician to fix electrical issues. We could try and do these things ourselves, but the likelihood is that we simply don’t have the expertise or knowledge to complete these tasks properly.
The same thing applies to chatbots.
Successfully implementing a chatbot into a business requires not only technical expertise, but also an understanding of that business. Each business will have different answers to questions such as:
- What concerns do customers have?
- What questions are customers asking repeatedly?
- What style of engagement would customers respond best to?
The same is true in the chatbot world.
Often websites will use chatbots located in the bottom corner of a web page with a bubble that says, “Make an inquiry” or, “Tell us how we can help”.
This approach risks asking too much of the customer. People tend to avoid clicking buttons unless they know exactly what is going to be behind them – usually, they’ll just ignore it.
For example, if we went to a hotel and the receptionist and lobby staff simply looked at us and said nothing, we’d be less inclined to talk to them. We might have questions and concerns that need addressing, but rather than taking the first step to engage, we might simply leave the hotel and find another. If, however, the staff were engaging and initiated a conversation with us first, we’d likely feel more reassured and eager to extend our stay.
Chatbots should be helpful and engaging. They should ask the customer what they need help with and then filter the responses appropriately. If a chatbot cannot answer a question there and then, it’s crucial that it has the ability to correctly route the inquiry and direct the customer to the right place. A chatbot shouldn’t ‘pretend’ to be a human, however much AI can simulate the experience.
This is different for each business, but there are key elements that should be considered.
Case study: EnquiryBotEnquiryBot is a popular, and best in class, all-in-one chatbot, built in response to the three most common problems businesses are struggling with:
- Making sales
- Staying organised
- Keeping customers happy
Offering an all-in-one solution to these three common business problems isn’t the only reason EnquiryBot stands out on the market:
- It’s custom built for each and every business, not templated. This includes building the chatbot all the way down to the design, avatar, brand, colours, widgets, and text.
- Commitment to continuous optimisation and industry benchmarking allows EnquiryBot to continue delivering the best results. (This is not a side hustle business).
- Intelligent ability allows it to engage with website visitors based on the page they are viewing and the service they are looking at.
- EnquiryBot can trigger automations to prospects following an enquiry. This automation is entirely customisable, based on the service, type of enquiry, and time of day, making it easy to keep prospects engaged.
- It’s able to integrate with most CRM platforms, meaning data can safely be passed through the business.
EnquiryBot extends far beyond good customer service – with this sort of technology, businesses can make more sales, save time and money, and maximise every contact that walks through their digital door.
The future of successful chatbotsFor a chatbot to be truly advantageous to a business, it needs to be unique to that business.
The only way this can be achieved is to test it and learn from the results. What questions are people asking that we didn’t predict? At what points is the engagement increasing? Where are people most commonly disengaging?
Programming a system that learns from experience is much more beneficial than having a templated chatbot that does not evolve with the business.
There is a balance to be struck. Overly sophisticated chatbots are not always necessary and in many cases can make the customer feel uncomfortable. For example, some advanced AI chatbots might use data from cookies to recommend relevant products to customers, which may make them feel spied on or concerned about their data privacy.
Striking this balance comes down to our unique business and knowing what our customers are likely to respond well to. A technology company, for example, whose clients are immersed in the world of AI, might find that their customer base enjoys this level of advanced chatbot. A plumbing company, on the other hand, might find that their customers want a quick answer to a problem and don’t respond well to overly sophisticated technology.
The future of chatbots and online engagement is unlimited! This is a train whose destination is as yet unknown. As AI advances, its ability to learn human responses and mimic them automatically means that chabots will be able to handle increasingly complex customer tasks. This will continue to free-up space, time, and money for human interactions – as opposed to replacing them.
Adam is a wizard at helping businesses to optimise customer experience with chatbots. You can get in touch with him here or visit EnquiryBot for a comprehensive guide on how to best leverage the power of chatbots for your business.
For more information on how process automation can help your business, The Business Catalyst offers free discovery calls. This gives us a chance to get to know you and show you how we can help.