So, let’s be Clear about what Live Chat and Chatbots are.
Live chat refers to a real-time communication method that allows individuals or businesses to interact with website visitors or customers through a chat interface. It provides a way for customers to ask questions, seek support, or engage in conversation with a representative or agent in real-time. Live chat typically involves a chat box or widget embedded on a website or application, enabling users to send messages and receive instant responses.
Chatbots are computer programs designed to simulate human conversation. They use Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies, such as Natural Language Processing (NLP) and machine learning, to understand and respond to customer queries or commands. Chatbots can be integrated into various platforms, including websites, messaging apps, and customer service systems.
Chatbots are capable of automated conversations and can handle a wide range of tasks, such as answering frequently asked questions, providing product recommendations, processing orders, scheduling appointments, and more. They can operate based on predefined rules or utilise AI algorithms to learn and improve their responses over time.
While live chat involves human agents interacting with users in real-time, chatbots can function autonomously, reducing the need for human intervention and enabling round-the-clock support.
In some cases, live chat and chatbots can work together, with chatbots handling routine enquiries and transferring more complex or specialised queries to human agents.
Both live chat and chatbots have become popular tools for businesses to enhance customer service, improve user experience, and provide timely support. They offer convenience, efficiency, and scalability, allowing businesses to engage with their customers effectively and handle multiple conversations simultaneously.
What do we mean by a Customer Service Chatbot?
A customer service chatbot is a type of chatbot specifically designed to assist and interact with customers in a customer service or support context. It is programmed to understand and respond to customer queries, provide information, and assist with common customer service tasks.
Utilising AI technologies, such as NLP and machine learning, to understand customer enquiries and provide appropriate responses. They can handle a wide range of customer service-related tasks, including:
Answering Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Chatbots can provide instant responses to common customer queries, such as information about product features, pricing, shipping, returns, and more.
Troubleshooting: Chatbots can guide customers through basic troubleshooting steps to address common issues or technical problems with products or services.
Order Tracking: Customers can enquire about the status of their orders, and chatbots can retrieve relevant information and provide real-time updates.
Appointment Scheduling: Chatbots can assist customers in booking appointments, checking availability, and providing relevant details.
Product Recommendations: Based on customer preferences or specific requirements, chatbots can suggest suitable products or services that align with their needs.
Escalation to Human Agents: In situations where the chatbot is unable to provide a satisfactory response or the customer requires more personalised assistance, the chatbot can transfer the conversation to a human customer service representative.
Customer service chatbots offer several advantages, including 24/7 availability, quick response times, consistent service quality, and the ability to handle multiple conversations simultaneously. They can help businesses streamline their customer support operations, reduce response times, and provide efficient and personalised service to their customers.
Supporting the Customer Journey!
Chatbots are a fantastic way to ‘up’ your customer service strategy and processes. For instance, they can begin to gather relevant customer information at the start of a conversation before transferring them to a live agent. The agent will then spend their time helping the customer with the ‘value-add’ elements of the enquiry, which will enhance the relationship with the customer.
An example of a customer journey could be that a customer reaches out to your company by interacting with your website's live chat software and asks a question to your customer service chatbot. Based on the initiated conversation, the bot will decide whether it can resolve the issue. If it can, then using its knowledge database it will respond appropriately, but if it can’t, it will redirect the conversation to the next available agent along with all the relevant information the bot had previously collected.
Another example is that Chatbots could be used to automate responses to common questions such as:
How long does it take for an order to be delivered?
Are you open on bank holidays?
What is your return policy?
Depending on how advanced the chatbot technology is, it may be able to answer more complex questions that begin with, ‘does it’ or ‘can I’. However, if a chatbot isn’t programmed to do this specific type of questioning, the agent would then be brought into the conversation in order to help the customer with their specific enquiry.
They’re bots so they don’t need to sleep or eat or…
Chatbots can be designed to operate 24/7, providing continuous support and engagement with users. Unlike human agents who have limitations in terms of working hours and availability, chatbots can handle customer enquiries and conversations at any time of the day.
Since chatbots are automated programs, they do not require rest or breaks and can operate round-the-clock. This availability is particularly beneficial for businesses that have a global customer base across different time zones, as it ensures that customers can receive assistance and information regardless of their geographical location or the time they reach out for support.
By implementing a 24/7 chatbot, businesses can offer consistent and immediate support, even during non-business hours or peak periods when human agents may be unavailable. This improves customer satisfaction, reduces response times, and enhances the overall user experience.
It's worth noting that while chatbots can operate 24/7, they may have limitations in terms of the complexity of queries they can handle. In cases where a chatbot cannot provide a satisfactory response or the conversation requires human intervention, it can be programmed to transfer the interaction to a human customer service representative during their available hours. This way, businesses can strike a balance between the benefits of automated support and the value of human interaction.