Onsite Support Blog

Live Chat or Chatbots: Which Is Better?

Today’s consumers expect round-the-clock support.

To meet this demand, businesses are leaning into AI solutions like chatbots—and they’re getting results. According to Juniper Research, global retail spend via chatbots is expected to reach up to $142 billion this year (2024).

This proves that the contest of live chat vs. chatbot support is no longer as one-sided as it used to be. Human support via live chat still delivers greater satisfaction—69% of US shoppers prefer it over interacting with a chatbot—but that leaves 31% who actually prefer chatbots.

Is AI advancing to the point that human support is no longer needed? Or is it a mistake to rely too much on chatbots when most customers still prefer human support?

Advantages of Live Chat

Happy woman live chatting with a support agent on her phone

Providing customers with an excellent customer experience (CX) is critical to any business’s success. That’s because across many industries (including retail), great CX encourages 94% of customers to make more purchases. Meanwhile, poor or very poor CX can dissuade them from making a purchase.

For 73% of customers, live chat provides them with the most satisfactory way to get in touch with a company.

This means the widespread preference for human-powered live chat support cannot be ignored. It’s preferred by the majority of customers and delivers the highest rate of satisfaction of any support option.

Moreover, just adding live chat to your website can increase conversions by up to 20%, while actually chatting with your customers can directly drive 35% of them to make a purchase.

Those shoppers your team live chats with will likely spend 60% more per purchase compared to everyone else. Likewise, 60% of those engaged over live chat state that they’ll likely return to the same website to buy more in the future.

Impact of Live Chat on Your Customers

60% increase in spend per purchase

60% will likely return to your site to buy again

Maximum satisfaction for 73%

While chatbots keep getting more adaptable and more helpful, humans are still able to provide more personalized service. CS agents can predict the customer’s needs in a way AI can’t (at least not yet), tailor their response to the customer, and think outside the box to deliver better solutions.

Finally, humans are better prepared to deal with unpredictable situations. There’s only so much a chatbot can do to help if a customer’s package was incorrectly marked as “Delivered.” It takes a human to compare it to another customer’s “Item Not as Described” claim and figure out that the shipping label got taped to the wrong box.

Advantages of Chatbots

Illustration of a chatbot conversation

We mentioned before that 31% of US customers actually prefer chatbots over human support. Worldwide, that number is even higher: 40% of internet-connected consumers prefer chatbots over live chat. So, what are chatbots getting right to make them the dark horse of customer service?

Round-the-Clock Support

Of customers who prefer chat over other support channels like email, 79% say they prefer it because it gets them instant answers. Those instant answers simply aren’t possible for human agents to deliver in every single interaction.

Chatbots, on the other hand, allow everyone to receive the immediate replies they expect. And because chatbots are readily available, customers are more likely to start up a chat. This encourages them to get help instead of abandoning their cart or transferring to your competitors. It can pave the way for increased customer engagement, which gives you the opportunity to make a lasting impression on your patrons and gives them a lot of good reasons to stick with your brand.

With reliable chatbots, you can process requests and respond to customer concerns more promptly. There’s no need for you to resort to emailing them or making phone calls because support will be accessible anytime, anywhere—even if your patrons are sending messages outside of your business hours.

Benefits of Combining Human-Powered Live Chat with Chatbots

Man reading while accepting a cup of coffee from a robot

Improved Agent Productivity and Efficiency

While most consumers prefer live chat with a human over interacting with a chatbot, managing a high volume of queries can be tough on your customer service team. Experienced agents can generally handle 3 to 5 live chats at once, but only for a limited time. A constant heavy load of chats can easily burn your team out.

With chatbots that can deliver immediate answers or suggest self-help options, most customers can get the instant answers they expect. This frees up your agents and allows them to focus on more complex issues—and take the occasional breather.

It’s worth noting that not all live chat tools are built the same. They can vary in terms of features or ease of use. When choosing live chat software for your e-commerce business, it’s best to choose one that’s easy to use and integrates seamlessly with the sites where you sell.

Onsite Support includes powerful live chat software for Amazon, Shopify, Walmart and more. With it, you can manage all customer queries in one place—no need to switch between platforms.

Onsite Support chatbot supporting an Amazon customer

An agent-side view of an Onsite Support chatbot gathering info from an Amazon customer. Detailed info on the customer’s order is available on the right.

As you chat, you can do all the following and more:

Onsite Support agent live chatting with a Shopify customer and canceling their order

Resolving a Shopify cancellation during a live chat.

And to deliver the best of both worlds, Onsite also includes programmable chatbots.

Chatbot gathering a Shopify customer’s order ID

This chatbot is programmed to request the customer’s order ID to enable the order info display on the right.

Onsite’s chatbots are already extremely advanced and customizable, but we’re also working on incorporating the full power of modern AI. In fact, if you’re interested in trying the new AI features out, you can contact us and ask to become a beta tester.

More Conversations

You can make the customer’s journey more unforgettable by using chatbots to welcome them to your site. When they engage, a customer service agent can take over the conversation, giving you an opportunity to speak directly with your customers. This gives you a chance not only to close sales or prevent returns, but also to gather honest feedback that you might struggle to get any other way.

If you use Onsite Support, you can review the customer’s order info on the same screen as your chat. This lets you offer personalized recommendations and a more in-depth discussion of their concerns or questions. Because you already know their details and the nature of their problem, your customers won’t have to suffer through having to repeat themselves during your conversation.

Chatbot gathering a Shopify customer’s order ID

If you’re out of other ways to resolve a situation, you can issue a refund from your Onsite live chat screen, even for an Amazon order like this one.

By engaging more customers directly, you nurture loyalty, boost reviews, and transform problems into opportunities. These factors all work together to build a strong positive reputation for your brand.

Live Chat vs. Chatbots: What Wins?

Businesses can achieve the best possible results by combining the strengths of live chat and chatbots. Chatbots reduce costs and provide instantaneous 24/7 support, while human agents better drive sales, solve unexpected problems, and maximize customer satisfaction.

For a platform that synergizes live chat, chatbots, and e-commerce integrations like Amazon and Shopify, look no further than Onsite Support. Learn more about our live chat software or schedule a demo to learn more.

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