Chatbot vs Live Chat: Which Is Best for E-Commerce Websites?

Chatbot vs Live Chat: Which Is Best for E-Commerce Websites?

How does your e-commerce website handle customer inquiries? According to HubSpot, four in five consumers will stop purchasing a business’s products because of poor customer service. If it takes you several days to respond to a customer’s question, he or she may abandon the order.

While you can communicate with customers through traditional channels, such as phone and email, you should consider deploying either a chatbot or live chat. Both solutions can improve your e-commerce website’s customer service. However, chatbots and live chat work in different ways, so you’ll need to learn the differences between them to choose the right customer service solution for your e-commerce website.

What Is Live Chat?

Live chat is a web-based customer service solution that allows customers to communicate directly with a website’s customer service representative in real time. It consists of software that, once deployed, serves as a direct messaging channel between your e-commerce website’s its customers.

The live chat software will add a dialogue box to all or some of your e-commerce website’s pages, depending on how it’s configured. If a customer has a question or otherwise needs assistance, he or she can type a message into the dialogue box. Assuming you’re logged in to the live chat software, you’ll receive a pop-up containing the customer’s message in which you can respond by entering your own message.

What Is a Chatbot?

A chatbot is a web-based customer service solution that uses artificial intelligence (AI)-powered software to communicate to a website’s customers. It’s designed to simulate conversations by responding to customers’ questions in natural language.

Like live chat, a chatbot will also add a dialogue box to all or some of your e-commerce website’s pages. Customers can type their question into the dialogue box, at which point the chatbot will respond with an answer. The difference is that chatbots use AI to automatically respond to customers, whereas live chat requires you or another customer representative from your e-commerce website to manually respond to customers.

Benefits of Live Chat for E-Commerce

Deploying live chat on your e-commerce website may result in higher customer satisfaction. According to a study conducted by Zendesk, 92 percent of customers view live chat favorably, making it more popular for customer service than phone, email and social media. When a customer sees the live chat dialogue box, he or she will feel confident knowing that a customer service representative is ready to answer their questions.

You may experience higher customer retention rates with your e-commerce website when using live chat. According to an eMarketer survey, over six in 10 customers said they were more likely to return to a business’s website if the site offered live chat.

With live chat, you’ll have complete control over the messages your e-commerce website sends to customers. Chatbots are customizable, but because they are powered by AI, they may or may not provide an accurate response. Only live chat allows you to create a custom response to each customer’s message.

Customers may trust your e-commerce website a little more if it offers live chat. Upon seeing the live chat dialogue box, customers will immediately recognize your e-commerce website as being legitimate. After all, scam websites typically don’t have one-on-one conversations with their customers.

Benefits of a Chatbot for E-Commerce

A chatbot ensures customers can always get answers to their questions, regardless of whether you are online. If you use live chat, you’ll be able to respond to customers when you’re online and logged in to the account associated with the software. Granted, most live chat software has an offline mode that allows customers to leave a message, but you won’t receive this message until you log back in to your account.

Chatbots, on the other hand, work around the clock. From noon to midnight, customers can get assistance at any time. Maybe a customer wants to know how long shipping will take, or perhaps he or she wants to know if your e-commerce website has a product in stock. A chatbot will offer an immediate response to the customer’s question, all without requiring any work on your behalf.

If your e-commerce website has a high shopping cart abandonment rate, using a chatbot may help to lower it. You can configure your chatbot to automatically message shoppers who add a product to their digital shopping cart but don’t complete the purchase. A chatbox, for example, may tell the shopper, “You have one or more products in your shopping cart” or “Don’t forget to complete your order before leaving” when he or she tries to leave your e-commerce website. Alternatively, you can configure your e-commerce website’s chatbot to offer a limited-time promotional code, such as 10 percent off in the next 24 hours, to shoppers who abandon their cart.

You can even use a chatbot to collect data on your customers and their needs. All reputable chatbots log their conversations, allowing you to see what questions customers ask them. How can this information benefit your e-commerce website? If you know what questions customers frequently ask, you’ll be able to optimize your online store to better meet their needs. If dozens of customers asked if your e-commerce website carries a specific product, for instance, you should consider adding that product to your online store’s inventory.

Use Both Customer Service Solutions

Rather than restricting your e-commerce website to only live chat or a chatbot, you should consider using both customer service solutions. When you are online and have the available time to respond to customers, use live chat. When you are offline or busy, use a chatbot. By using both live chat and a chatbot, you’ll offer a higher level of customer service that distinguishes your e-commerce website from its competitors.

Live chat and chatbots are two of the most popular customer service solutions for e-commerce websites. The former creates a messaging portal between you and your site’s customers, whereas the latter responds to customers’ questions and messages automatically using AI. You can use either on your e-commerce website, but using them together allows you to deliver a superior level of customer service to your site’s audience.

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