The benefits of chatbots over email and live chat
As chatbots continue their upward trend and popularity, it’s time to take a look at the benefits of chatbots over other channels.
Looking at it on the surface for customer service, the ability to have an always-on personalised, efficient, high-quality interaction makes sense.
And that’s before we get to their other big pluses which are how they add to the customer experience of brands and cost benefits (including a strong ROI).
Chatbots are perhaps the single most important advancement in customer service since businesses began creating online web portals for customers to serve themselves.
They open up a new dimension of engagement on mobile devices (via messaging apps) where we are spending most of our time today.
Apps were and are still great, but perhaps their days may be numbered.
In a previous article, we learned chatbots can be deployed in messaging apps, your website or in your app.
Focusing on messaging apps, this article will discuss chatbots on Facebook Messenger compared to e-mail and live chat.
Facebook Messenger is the number one place to launch a chatbot as it has the most users of messaging apps, widest reach, most support, a smooth in-app experience, continually evolving functionality for businesses to leverage, in addition to allowing you to go outbound.
Comparing the benefits of chatbots versus e-mail
E-mail is a one to one medium, i.e. one support agent to one customer which has worked well.
When comparing e-mail to chatbots, however, emails really start to fall behind.
Below are some key points.
Chatbots vs E-mail benefits:
- Instant response, say bye to sending auto-response messages
- Efficiency (one to one but much faster)
- Opportunity to significantly optimise e-mail resources (due to less enquiries needing human intervention)
- Save on e-mail software licensing costs
If your business launched chatbots for customer experience benefits, would you still need your e-mail channel?
Just think about the savings of those licensing costs!
Instead of the link on your contact us page saying E-mail us, it could say Chat with our service bot on Messenger and hey presto!
All your customers who would have e-mailed before would get the help they needed faster than ever before.
Both small and large businesses have the opportunity to leap forward by considering this carefully.
Comparing the benefits of Chatbots versus live chat
Have you ever visited a company website and viewed a Chat with us live chat link down the bottom right of the page, but then when you clicked on the linked received something to the effect of Leave us a message?
This likely means there was no one available at that moment to assist.
Businesses in these situations would benefit enormously from a chatbot.
Here are some points that come to mind in this scenario:
Chatbots vs live chat benefits:
- Now someone will always be there
- Instant response
- Opportunity to significantly optimise staffing resources (due to less actual queries needing human intervention)
- Save live chat licensing costs
Again instead of Chat with us, it could be Chat with our service bot on Messenger.
Utilising Messenger in this example achieves two goals.
Customers who are on your website in addition to those on Messenger searching for you both benefit.
This is more desirable than plugging your chatbot into your current live chat vendor, as in this scenario the customers on Messenger miss out.
There is also no opportunity for you to go outbound and once the webpage is closed the interaction is finished.
Messenger keeps the conversation ongoing which allows you to build relationships with your customers.
The potential is also there for large businesses to capitalise due to the significant automation chatbots bring, but again this would depend on the business needs, goals and their customers.
In both cases, the chatbot could hand over to a person if required, or information sent via a ticketing system for immediate contact.
The handover can be set up in any way depending on what works best for the business.
Chatbots add value and have undeniable advantages compared to live chat and e-mail especially.
Does it not make sense to consider Facebook Messenger chatbots resolving queries for three channels?
These being those reaching out on Messenger, those that would have e-mailed and those that would have begun a live chat.
Chatbots aid further by resolving simple queries, taking the burden off your team and your business.
You’ll now only have the optimised staffing of this channel to manage!
When you consider that customers are ready and want to converse with businesses on messaging platforms, the outcome for businesses that embrace this technology is a win for themselves and also their customers.
What about the future?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) Chatbots step things up another notch and they’re starting to gain traction in the industry.
The main difference between a ‘normal’ chatbot referred to in this article versus an AI Chatbot is that an AI Chatbot uses machine learning and natural language processing to better understand human intent.
This, of course, results in a better customer experience.
Whilst they can still be a bit clunky at times, there may be a time in the near future that it will be impossible to differentiate between a human and AI chatbot.