80% of business-to-customer communication is going to be done through bot messengers within the next three to five years.
Mikael Yang ManyChat

Social Blue has successfully created and incorporated live chat and chatbots into client campaigns to produce higher lead quality. We’ll draw from our experience in sharing some insights.

1. Response time

Chatbots are more useful when a quick response is required. Delayed response time is one of the top 3 reasons why customers leave your website. 59% of customers are more likely to buy when brands answer their questions in just under a minute. Chatbots are preferable for FAQs – to automatically answer repetitive questions – and other straightforward questions.

An example of a chatbot that does this is GWYN, the IBM bot designed to help 1-800 Flowers, a floral and gourmet foods gift retailer. GWYN helps consumers search for and place their gift orders online. GWYN has a straightforward function – “she” helps you find the perfect gift and this gives 1-800-Flowers an edge over other companies selling gifts in terms of user experience.

2. Product necessity

The only time it is probable that a customer would be willing to wait for a response is in the case of a comprehensive answer in relation to a product that’s necessary to the extent that it could be life-impacting. You might want to get all your facts straight before purchasing an oxygen concentrator (a compact version of medical oxygen tanks) for instance. Chatbots might not be your best bet to get comprehensive, personalized responses to a very specific question. “A series of progressively simpler questions for the 1-800 Flowers chatbot yielded increasingly disappointing answers,” says one source.

Given that it is likely that a chatbot might be inaccurate at times or answer ambiguously, you wouldn’t want to take a gamble by purchasing a product that could potentially affect your health without understanding its intricacies. What if the bot misunderstood your question relating to the severity of your hearing loss/the operation of the oxygen concentrator? In this case, live chat would be more useful to address complex personal questions and detailed product specifications.

A live chat agent might take more than a few minutes to answer a question, but this is likely to provide greater customer satisfaction than a frustrating cryptic response from a chatbot. Research indicates that one live chat agent is enough for every unique 5000 views on your website. While it is true that new AI-driven bots can be trained to handle complex queries, most companies are still stuck with command-based chatbots.

A chatbot is preferable to live chat in case of products that aren’t necessary/products that are superfluous. A customer won’t wait around too long for a gift recommendation from an agent. A chatbot prevents users from getting impatient since it can generate answers in seconds, and simultaneously it is likely to engage them more. Customers are more likely to spend time on a website with a chatbot.

3. The demographic that you’re dealing with

Customers still have reservations about chatbots. 43% of people would still prefer to deal with a real-life assistant. 30% of people still worry about bots making a mistake.

Social Blue generates a lot of leads for clients who deal with complex products for various demographics. “The younger demographic is…accommodating of chatbots when they make minor errors”. But when your customer base targets older people, having customer service that provides assistance through traditional methods would prove fruitful. In such cases, if you have to opt for a chat customer service, use a live-chat widget.

4. The importance of the human touch

Engagement built around data-centeredness is very important for live chat implementation to be successful. It’s crucial that the live chat agent addresses the concerns of the customer, asks specific questions that narrow down which product or service is best suited to them. This back and forth is especially essential if your campaign is health centered. Questions could, for instance, revolve around hearing health and history of the lead. The conversation should be ideally followed up with a request for the lead’s details to set up an appointment outlining the next steps. The advantage of taking stock of a lead’s details this way is that it’s organic, and a real-time health assessment and redressal of concerns bolster trust.

Key takeaways for your business

• If your business requires handling FAQs, repetitive and straightforward questions, chatbots are the best solution.

• If your business sells a product that doesn’t qualify as ‘necessary’, you might want to consider chatbots to respond to customers in under 30 seconds, before they start to lose interest.

• If your customers reach out to you with questions that need pattern identification, live chat is preferable.

• If the human touch is important for your customers, especially in cases where the product is of the type that is both necessary for the users and potentially life-impacting, live chat can help you to boost customer satisfaction with a personalized conversation.

• Chatbots delivering a humanized touch is difficult in many scenarios. AI-powered chatbots may seem to be leading the way while gazing into the future, but for now, most companies are stuck with command-based bots that fail to understand complex customer issues which can only be resolved with the help of human agents.

Real-time engagement can really bolster lead quality. Both chatbots and live chat are valuable tools, but it’s important to address the specificities of your campaign to zero in on the right strategy.

Curious how we can help you increase your real-time engagement? Get in touch!