Chatbots vs Live Agents – Which is Better?

The customer support industry has undergone massive changes in the past twenty years. With more business being done online, consumers demand a higher level of support from businesses they put their trust in. Fortunately, companies have been able to rise to the challenge, especially with the advancement of support technology that utilizes artificial intelligence. These tools allow support teams to provide unique service faster than ever before. They also give customers the option of resolving issues via multiple support channels.

One channel that’s transformed the way customers interact with a company is the chatbot. These virtual tools can provide instant assistance that eliminates the need for the involvement of a live agent. With AI at the helm, chatbots are only becoming more powerful. However, live agents are still relevant. In fact, many people prefer them over chatbots. Some support departments are finding that using a combination of chatbots and live support is the best solution. Let’s go over the benefits and pitfalls of each.

The Chatbot

It’s no question that one of the biggest advantages of a chatbot is speed. Customers can get help right away without having to sit on hold or wait for an email response from a support agent. This cuts down on customer frustration and helps businesses boost retention. Artificial intelligence has made chatbot technology even more powerful. Machine learning allows chatbots to gather customer data and use this information to improve the level of service for repeat users. This personalization wasn’t possible before AI.

When integrated into configurable customer support software, chatbots allow live agents to easily monitor interactions and step in when a customer reaches a dead end. Yes, this is a great thing for support departments, but it also points to one of the biggest issues with chatbots. They still can’t solve complex problems as well as live agents. Issues that require improvisation or alternative ways of thinking require the involvement of humans. That’s why many support departments have their agents and chatbots collaborating with one another. The results are very promising.

The Live Agent

We just discussed the need for live support agents when a chatbot interaction leads to a dead end. However, there are other reasons why agents are still extremely beneficial to support departments. The most important reason involves empathy. Regardless of how fast and effective chatbots are, they can’t provide the human touch. Many people still feel better speaking to a live person. They feel their issue is being taken more seriously, and as a result, they’re more likely to continue doing business with a company.

Live agents are also capable of promoting the voice of a company. This is important for businesses that are trying to build their reputation. Support agents can represent the business through their hard work, demeanor and professionalism. Chatbots can’t quite do this. As artificial intelligence advances more and more, they may be able to eventually. But for now, they’re still viewed as robots.

Live Agent or Chatbot – Which is Right for You?

Depending on your client base and support infrastructure, you may be able to get away with choosing between chatbots and live agents. However, using both in unison may be the best way to enhance your overall customer experience.

PhaseWare can provide software for B2B customer support that will help your agents’ performance and also allow for chatbot technology. Contact us to learn more.

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