Most people think of chatbots as a new technology, with good reason. They're one of the results of advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) over the last few years.
But the fact is, they've been around for over 50 years, dating back to the ELIZA chatbot in 1966.
The advances in AI and ML have made them much more effective though, especially for companies doing business online. Let's look at how chatbots and live chat can improve your customer service and experience.
Chatbots vs Live Chat
Chatbots and live chat look similar from your website visitors' perspective but they're quite different from your end.
A chatbot is an automated conversion system that uses AI and ML to identify what your visitors need and then provide them with the relevant details. Live chat is handled by a human so your visitors can chat with an actual person.
How Chatbots Work
Chatbots parse the request to try to identify your visitor's intent and the question they're asking. Until recently, these bots were limited to picking out simple words or phrases in the request to respond to.
This limited their usefulness since a visitor could only get a good response if they worded their request "correctly."
Over the last few years, increases in computing power and improvements in AI and ML have made chatbots much more "real" to most visitors. They can respond more intelligently and get more accurate as the conversation progresses.
Chatbots aren't only useful on the web either. You're probably familiar with some of the best-known chatbots - Alexa, Siri, and OK Google.
Chatbots can help lower costs by needing fewer employees but they can also help improve the user experience. Because they don't need a person on your end, they run 24/7 and let your visitors get help no matter what day or time they need it.
Customer Service and Experience Benefits of Live Chat
Live chat lets your visitors get more detailed and customised information since they're chatting with an actual person. They're better suited to more technical topics or further along the sales funnel.
Chatbots work well for the initial inquiries but they can hit limits. If you work in an industry where most customers need to work with a salesperson to close the deal, they'll likely flip your visitors over to the live chat at some point.
Live chat can be a great lead capture method for businesses that need to work with customers face-to-face. They can field the initial questions and capture the prospect's contact details to pass along to the sales team.
Where to Turn for Help Getting Started
If you're ready to improve your customer service and experience by adding a chatbot and/or live chat to your website, Lift Strategies can help. We're passionate about helping your business succeed and can help you through the process from website development through to your entire marketing strategy.
Get in touch with us today to arrange a free discovery session to see how we can help you grow your business.