Live Chat vs Chatbots

Posted by Communique at 1:00 PM on Sep 10, 2019

The principle behind both services is essentially to capture the interest of potential customers/clients and keep them engaged with your content. Offering another channel of customer support beyond the traditional formats of phone calls, emails and even letters not only gives you access to a larger audience, but shows to that audience how you are committed to helping in any way you can. That said, there is a clear distinction between the benefits and downfalls of automated and traditional live chat services.

In 2017, a Get App research article on customer service made these key findings:

  • 36.6% of respondents prefered human contact when it came to customer service

  • 88% of respondents wanted to talk to a person rather than a bot

    • 36.8% prefered to talk over the phone

    • 12.7% prefered web chat or email

  • 12% of respondents prefered no human contact with their customer service

  • 9% of respondents wanted self-serve options

It’s hard to gauge the results as concrete, considering the sample size consisted of only 500 US-based respondents aged 25 – 65 with an average inferred annual income of $24k – $150k. What we can gauge though, is that even from such a small sample, over half of the respondents were adamant about their preference for human contact when engaged in customer service — and of that large portion, only a fraction preferred online services.

Meanwhile, on the opposing end we have claims that 73% of consumers prefer live chat as their method of communication when dealing with customer services. It’s hard to verify this finding as the research originator, ChatBee, has closed their site and is currently selling the domain at the time of this blog being written. In fact, most of the current interest in AI live services are vested in future interests, with firms like Grand View Research predicting the global chatbot market to reach $1.25 billion USD by 2025 with a CAGR of 24.3%, which is big news for those invested in the technology.

Who to believe though? With so many conflicting reports based on varied interests, is it best to go with your gut or stick it out based on what’s safe? As of now, it seems most sensible to engage in whatever traditional forms of customer service you can, but for those looking to expand in scope there may be a need for automated service for times when human support just isn’t available.