How Live Chat Agents Differ from Conversational Chatbots

Micky Deming

Every business with an online presence is now adopting or exploring live chat. And when it comes to implementation, people often wonder whether to use chat agents or conversational chatbots.

You’re probably wondering the same thing. In order to fully answer that question, it’s important that we understand how they differ from each other.

Understanding Live Chat Agents and Conversational Chatbots

Before we look at the differences between live chat agents and chatbots, let’s briefly define each.

Live chat agents

A live chat agent is a human being whose responsibility is to respond to your customers who reach out to you through your live chat platform.

Conversational chatbots

Conversational chatbots, on the other hand, are a program designed to respond to your customers’ queries. These are so well-programmed that it can be difficult to tell if you’re talking to a chatbot or a live chat agent.

Now that we have distinguished the 2, let’s go ahead and look at their differences.

How Live Chat Agents Differ From Conversational Chatbots

So how do live chat agents differ from chatbots? 

1. Human vs machine

Starting with the elephant in the room, the first and major difference is that live chat is that one is human interaction while the other is machine interaction. Live chat agents, because of their humanity, are more empathetic and understand user intent. Chatbots on the other hand, while getting more sophisticated by the day, fall short in these 2 areas. 

2. Chatbots can get lost in translation

Another major difference between live chat agents and chatbots is the fact that live agents are better at understanding context and when a conversation has come to an end. For example, say you are enquiring about a pair of shoes and you’ve had quite the conversation with the bot and you finally ask, “How much is it?” more often than not, that will throw the chatbot off as it will not know what “it” is.

Taking it a step further, live chat agents are capable of handling complex queries. Chatbots, on the other hand, usually get stuck and have to call for human help. 

3. Live agents get tired

One of the biggest setbacks of live chat agents is the fact that they need to take breaks - and go home at the end of the day. Chatbots can easily handle your customer service 24/7 without needing a break.

This advantage that chatbots have enables businesses to attend to their customers beyond office hours. And for many customers (in the B2C vertical), this is the time they are free to take engage customer support. Asa result, your customer satisfaction rates increase, as does your customer base as your happy customers will happily spread the word about you.

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Micky Deming

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