Chatbots are a contact center industry buzzword. In fact, if this was a bingo game, chatbot would be the winning ball. But who would win in a fight, chatbots or live chat?
IBM has identified chatbots as a key trend for enterprise call centers in 2018. They go as far as to call this technology a game changer.
According to a McKinsey Global Institute discussion paper on artificial intelligence, the technology is accelerating digital transformation. Tech giants spent approximately $30 billion on AI in 2016, with machine learning netting the biggest chunk of the change.
It’s clear that the time to invest in tech is now. The number of interactions contact centers have to deal with is only increasing. According to JLL Research’s US contact center outlook report, non-voice channel revenues have nearly doubled since 2011, growing 91%.
But should you be putting all your eggs in the chatbot basket?
Look, let’s be real for a moment. Chatbots meet the demand, they make financial sense, and can be pretty much rolled out 24/7 for basic responses and frequently asked questions.
So, all in all a win right?
Well, kinda. It all comes down to customer experience.
The downside to chatbots
There’s a limit to the number of questions web chatbots can answer. If the query is too complex, or the customer on the other side of the monitor is becoming increasingly frustrated, it’s inevitable that a human will take over the query.
And since we’re being real here, there’s not really much substance to the interaction is there? The customer might start out thinking they’re chatting to a person, but after a while the truth is going to dawn. Then they’re really going to regret the five minutes spent describing their recent holiday to Jamaica.
It doesn’t make for a winning experience.
So, what’s the alternative?
The case for live online chat
Part of a strong customer success strategy is access. Customers want to reach your company without the frustrating journey to get to you. And by ‘reach your company’ we mean they want to talk to a real person who breathes and everything.
With webchat, a pop-up can be deployed within minutes of a customer finding your website to let them know an agent is standing by if they have any questions.
The immediate advantage of going the online chat software route is that your customer gets to interact with a real human being – human beings trained to successfully handle that query.
And it’s just as fast. In most cases, a live web chat query is answered in under three minutes.*
Imagine you’re a customer for a second. There’s no risk of being put on hold, being cut off (unless the cat jumps on the keyboard) and you’re already talking to the right person. It’s a seamless interaction, which is exactly what customers are looking for. Meanwhile you get to benefit from reduced costs and increased efficiency by deflecting interactions to a more lightweight channel.
People are welcome to argue this point all they like, but our money’s on live chat. It works, it keeps the customer happy, and the advantages square up.
That’s why we use it.
*According to Zailab’s crack support team anyway.