Online Chats and Chatbots to Offer Effective, Instant, and Interactive Customer Service

According to Econsultancy, 79% of consumers say they prefer live chat functions over phoning customer service because they don’t have to wait on hold.

Interactive customer service, such as online live chats and chatbots, is giving businesses more opportunities than ever for creating connections.

There are two main types of interactive customer service functions that businesses are using: live chats and chatbots.

Live chats are conversations online where a customer enters a query and a human staff member from your organization responds in real time. Live chats often have limited hours of operation (unless the business runs in 24-hour cycles). They can be more personal for the customer but are also more resource-intensive as they require a dedicated staff member. If the same question is asked repeatedly, that can also prove repetitive for the designated employee (but is also another opportunity: if you have many customers asking the same question., is there something missing in your communications or training processes?).

Chatbots are similar to live chats, but they use an automated responder that operates without human supervision. This means they can run for 24 hours a day, regardless of whether your business is actually open for 24-hour cycles. With proper instruction, chatbots can also chat for several hours without human help.

A recent study from Acquire found that 80% of customer queries have been resolved by a chatbot without supervision.

Chatbots can also multi-task, answering multiple customer queries at once. And there is no need for multiple chatbots — often, you only need to complete the installation once.

The main challenge with implementing chatbots is your knowledge base: do you have an established database of frequently asked questions? If not, can you build it? With chatbot technology, the bots can learn over time but you will still need a place to start.

Many businesses are implementing both live chat and chatbot features into their customer service strategy. For instance, a chatbot can take care of simpler questions or frequently asked queries. If a situation is more complicated, a human employee could get involved through a live chat.

There are numerous advantages to this type of system — both for your customer communication and for your own business data.

One advantage, of course, is quick and convenient customer service. A client with a question won’t have to call in, sit on hold, be transferred between departments, etc. — it can all be taken care of nearly instantaneously. This can result in a better customer experience for the client, and less resources used by your business.

There is another benefit to online chat functions: helping your Customer Relationship Management (CRM). With chatbots and the like, you can easily and automatically track what questions are being asked and connect that information to your CRM. You can then use that data to inform your social messaging or even your business decisions.

For instance, say that you are frequently asked about a certain product. This could either inspire you to add more information about this product on your website or in your marketing materials, modify your online user experience, or (depending on the questions and feedback) to create similar products, accessories, etc.

This type of data might be difficult to track or quantify through a traditional customer service model, especially if a query is bounced between departments, but with an automated system it becomes much easier to recognize and analyze such patterns.

Interested in using live chats or chatbots for your customer service strategy? SHEA Global can help you find the best technology and connect your online chat functions to your CRM. Call us at (905) 470 6830 or visit to learn more.

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