Almost 20 % of all companies use live chats (Benchmark Study on Customer Service in the Digital Age) to advise website visitors and answer their questions. Only half as many companies, just 9 %, already use chatbots, an automated form of live chat. However, companies do not even necessarily have to choose between these two digital channels, since a combination of the two channels can often be a possible and appropriate way.
The following article summarizes the advantages of the two channels and explains how they can be combined effectively to deliver significant and measurable benefits.
Chatbot and live chat in use
The digital channels chatbot and live chat are both frequently applied in customer contact. They are used for consulting and lead generation of potential customers or for answering customer questions. For this reason, they are mostly positioned in the customer service area. Both channels offer numerous advantages, but there are also topics and areas that can only be fully covered by a combination of both channels.
The chatbot channel makes a lot of sense especially if it can answer frequently recurring and simple questions automatically. Moreover, the digital helper convinces above all through its comprehensive accessibility. The chatbot is available around the clock and there are no waiting times for the customer.
A chatbot is particularly successful when it focuses on a specific area of application. It is therefore clear that it cannot answer all questions of the website visitors and sometimes reaches its limits. In such moments, the chatbot has the additional option of referring its dialog partner to a direct customer service contact to answer the question. However, this means a media break, as the customer must now switch to either the telephone or email channel.
The live chat, on the other hand, is a very personal channel. Depending on the capabilities of the live chat agent, he can respond very individually to the needs of his chat partner. This requires either immense know- how on the part of the company and its employees or an excellent knowledge database.
However, the support of a live chat is very resource-intensive. In addition, it can happen that an above- average number of live chat requests are received in the evening or over lunchtime and the customer then queues up in a similar way as on the phone, which naturally does not create a positive customer experience. In addition, live chats are only online when the employees are also on site, i.e. usually only during office hours. However, many customers prefer to clarify their questions in the evening or on weekends. This is unfortunately not possible via live chat.
The hybrid chatbot
By combining the two channels chatbot and live chat, their advantages can be maximized and any disadvantages of the two channels eliminated. Chatbot and live chat combined as a hybrid chatbot are a team with a lot of power, which is beneficial for both the customer and the company!
The chatbot answers the customer's simple questions at any time and around the clock in an uncomplicated manner, and the live chat takes over seamlessly when the chatbot can no longer help. The Chatbot here fulfills an important triage function for the enterprise, by recognizing on the one hand, if the customer needs an individual consultation by a real person and forwarding the customer on the other hand with his agreement directly to the live chat. A big plus here is that the chatbot does not forward the customer to just any employee, but to the person with the appropriate skills. Thanks to a description, the live chat agent can already see the direction of the customer's request when taking over the dialog from the chatbot and can respond immediately and precisely.
If no live chat is available at the time of the inquiry, the chatbot is at least able to provide the customer either with a direct contact option or to arrange a concrete date for a contact with the customer.
The advantages for you in a nutshell
Already as channel for itself chatbot and live chat offer many advantages to the customers as digital assistants. They provide fast, efficient and uncomplicated support and are extremely popular with users who are now digitally literate. If they are used as a team in the form of a chatbot hybrid, their joint potential increases many times over and the channels complement each other perfectly.
While the chatbot scores points with its round-the-clock availability and its speed in answering simple standard queries, the live chat is characterized by direct contact with an employee and individual advice for more complex issues. Above all, the fact that the transition from chatbot to live chat is seamless and customers do not have to change channels or repeat their request makes this hybrid solution perfect for both sides.
In concrete terms, the chatbot reduces the number of simple queries that would otherwise have been answered by an employee via live chat by means of automated replies, and the live chat agents can turn to more complex issues or solve individual cases. In the area of lead generation, the chatbot can check a potential customer's initial interest, and the live chat advisors can then take over individual consultation and possible closure.
Enterprises, which already have a live chat in use, can start by placing a chatbot for triage before it, and if a chatbot and sufficient personnel resources are already available, the chatbot can also be easily supplemented with a live chat component.