Livechat vs chatbots: which one is right for your business?

Dhiraj Nallapaneni

6 min read Last Updated Jul 6, 2020

When’s the last time you tried to get in touch with a business for customer service help? Maybe you sent an email that never gets a response. Or you got left on hold for a long time until you finally just got frustrated and end up hanging the phone. Maybe you finally got through to a representative, only to be told a less than satisfactory answer to the question you had. No matter what, each one of these scenarios is sure to leave a sour taste in your mouth. But maybe all that was needed to make these terrible interactions great was quick and easy communication tools, such as live chat and chatbots. Let’s talk about why both of them work and compare livechat vs chatbots.

Let’s talk about what live chat and chatbots are, what the differences are between the two, and which one is right for your business. Here’s what we’ll discuss in this article. 

Differences between livechat and chatbots 

In case you don’t know the difference between livechat and chatbots, let’s break down each one. 

Livechat 

Livechat works like this: if a customer has a question, they’ll be connected to a live customer service representative. The representative can chat with the customer in real-time to help solve their problem. 

Chatbots 

Chatbots are automated programs that are designed to respond to a customer. These programs are designed to give human-like responses to commonly-asked questions. Unlike live chat, these chatbots do not require live representatives to respond. 

Livechat vs chatbots — factors to consider

There’s no right and wrong answer between livechat and chatbots. Every business has its own unique situation, so it’s important to take into account the pros and cons of each one. 

Why livechat might be the best option 

Here are a few reasons why livechat might be the better option for your business. 

  • The human touch

Let’s be honest: if someone has a question that’s complex, chances are that they want or need to talk to a real human being. The human touch that comes from a live customer service representative is in some aspects irreplaceable. 

  • Can go outside the box

Some problems are just too big for automated scripts to handle. Maybe a customer has a question that requires more research on the part of your representative. While the rep can communicate with the customer that they’re looking for an answer, a bot would most likely not be able to answer the question. 

  • Can understand typos 

Human beings, unlike automated programs, are great at understanding context. While you might be able to understand what a customer is saying even with a few typos, a chatbot will not be able to understand the query. 

Why chatbots might be the best option

Now let’s talk about why you might want to consider chatbots. 

  • Cost 

Hiring a customer support team is expensive and it’s just not feasible for every business. Chatbots can help make contacting customers and prospects much cheaper. Research shows that by 2022, Chatbots will help businesses save $8 billion per year. 

  • Scalability

If your business is growing, it might not be feasible to keep on hiring livechat representatives every time you have growing needs from more customers and prospects. In this case, it might make more sense to use chatbots to handle the increased amount of communication. 

  • Availability

Your customer service representatives need to go home and rest up, just like everyone else. On the other hand, chatbots are available around-the-clock. It doesn’t matter if it’s 2 AM, a chatbot will be able to provide a response to one of your customer questions. 

  • Easy to Set Up 

While training a representative takes time and effort, a chatbot is easy to set up. If you’re using a service like BirdEye, setting up a chatbot is quick and inexpensive. 

Why not both livechat and chatbots?

We’ve found that it’s valuable to use both together.  If you’re using both livechat and chatbots, your team can work more efficiently than ever. Simple queries can be handled right away by chatbots without the need for one of your team members to get involved, while complex queries can get handled by your live chat team.

What happens when neither livechat or chatbots are adequate?

Not every business has the resources to have a 24/7 customer support team available. So what do you do if a customer contacts you with a question after business hours that are too complex for a chatbot to handle?

There is a solution to this. At BirdEye, we offer webchat to handle these kinds of situations. Webchat works like this: The website visitor leaves their phone number and gets a message like: “Thanks for contacting us. We’ll reach out to you as soon as we’re available.” The next time one of your customer service representatives is available,  they’ll be able to respond to the website visitor’s query via text message. 

Chatbot examples 

You might be wondering what kind of queries chatbots are capable of handling. Let’s describe a few common scenarios where chatbots can work well. 

“What payment options do you support?” 

“When are you open?” 

“What kinds of services do you guys provide?” 

For queries like these, BirdEye’s chatbot can provide answers based on information provided by you about your business settings. This way, you can make sure that your customer service representatives are handling more complex questions. 

How can you implement livechat and chatbots on your website 

Want to get started with livechat and/or chatbots? BirdEye can help. BirdEye’s all-in-one platform gives you access to both livechat and chatbots so that your team can respond to customer questions efficiently. You’ll be able to see all of your team’s customer conversations in one place, making it easy for you to follow up and make sure that your team never misses a message. 

Not a technology person? That’s okay. BirdEye’s support team can help walk you through the implementation of livechat and chatbots on your website. 

Can I train a chatbot to answer custom questions? 

Sometimes businesses frequently have questions that are unique to their situation, You can train chatot to answer these questions as well. BirdEye allows you to train your chatbot to answer as many custom questions as you want. 

Simply upload a list of commonly-asked questions and their answers to the BirdEye platform and allow your chatbot to answer these questions effortlessly on its own. You will be amazed how much time and resources the BirdEye Chatbot will save you.. 

There’s no limit on how many FAQs you can add to your chatbot and you have the ability to update your answers anytime.. Just make sure to keep your chatbot answers short and sweet. Customers are typically not looking to read long paragraphs when they are chatting with businesses. 


Stay on top of customer conversations with BirdEye 

No matter what method you choose for connecting with your customers, BirdEye can help you. There’s a reason why more than 50,000 businesses use BirdEye to help customers be found, be chosen, be connected, and be the best. 

unbeatable CX