When it comes to solving technical problems or answering questions, e-mails are way too slow. Most businesses are aware of this fact and have already introduced instant messaging as an alternative way of establishing contact and assisting customers with various issues. However, with the advent of smart chat bots that completely automate conversations and fulfill multiple functions without direct human oversight, it is worth asking should marketers go a step further and completely trust technology to handle their relationships with customers.

There are reasons for and against such a move, and we will try to succinctly present both sides of the argument while taking into account specific requirements related to business size and strategy.

Key advantages of live chat

The primary difference between e-mail and live chat is that users have a feeling they are actually talking to a real person in real time. This is a very natural form of communication where it’s possible to go back and forth on important issues and gradually build trust between the two sides. Since a human operator is answering the questions, this communication channel is very flexible and useful for responding to even the most unusual requests. At the same time, live chat largely eliminates the delay typical for e-mail communication which can be crucial for clients who need urgent solutions. Instant availability of knowledgeable and motivated agents signals a readiness to go above and beyond to make the customer happy, which translates will into strong brand reputation and a high level of customer loyalty.

Unique benefits of using chat bots

AI-driven chat bots can deliver very human-like performance and maintain organic conversations on a range of relevant topics. Bots have access to all company databases as well as previous interactions with the client, which helps them to quickly identify a solution and recommend a viable course of action. They can also be trained to recognise certain scenarios based on the content and tone of incoming messages and to drive the user towards the most desirable outcome. Most importantly, chat bots can serve an unlimited number of users simultaneously, which allows businesses to grow quickly without inflating their workforce. This affects financial considerations as well, and in many cases it could be more affordable to use chat bots than to hire and train additional employees.

“The cost of automation is low compared to the live chat because you are paying for a person’s times and they have limited capacity to handle the conversations. It’s really easy to scale automation, with people you have to train and pay them. Automation doesn’t need to replace humans or live chat. When combined it can make a killer combination. Each approach has its own strength and weaknesses.” Explained Sam Kirklee, a chatbot developer and automation strategist at Chit Chat Agency.

How to decide which chat mode works better for you?

Two questions are essential when trying to determine whether live chat or chatbot is the better option – which duties will be handled through the chat channel and at what scale. Companies that expect to see a relatively limited volume of traffic and have complex business models that aren’t easily broken down into simple offers may be better served with a live chat solution with human operators. Real people can help customers understand sophisticated products or services and guide them through the process of overcoming their reservations. Conversely, highly dynamic businesses that receive a lot of requests for assistance or additional information would be wise to deploy a chat bot to manage at least a part of the work automatically. A custom-built bot can provide instant expertise in multiple fields and fuel quick expansion of the customer base at a price that even small businesses can easily stomach.

About the Author

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Mirko Humbert

Mirko Humbert is the editor-in-chief and main author of Designer Daily and Typography Daily. He is also a graphic designer and the founder of WP Expert.