Close

Live chat: Balancing human and
automated customer service

By Dan Vanrenen | February 2021

Instant messaging (IM) and live chat have become fundamental pillars of modernised, efficient and responsive multichannel customer service operations.

According to Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg, the company’s instant messaging service WhatsApp is now delivering around 100 billion messages a day. Back in 2016, Facebook’s own IM platform and WhatsApp between them were exchanging around 60 billion messages every 24 hours.

Such is the exploding popularity of instant messaging services, today more than 40% of customers expect to be able to contact a company via live chat on their website. And organisations are responding in kind, realising the mutual benefits to be had from deploying easily accessible live chat services.

The major pull factor that live chat leads to fast resolutions and is convenient for both parties – the consumer can continue browsing the web at their leisure and will be alerted when the live chat replies, and the agent can handle multiple conversations at the same time, moving quickly from one query to another.

Human and automated – the two types of live chat

When talking about best of breed customer service, live chat arguably presents the best reflection of the human-machine dynamic.

On the one hand there is the human, still the focal point of any customer service operation.

They will always be able to better identify customer pain points and empathise with customers than their robotic counterparts, an observation underpinned by numerous studies. For instance, 73% of customers fall in love with a brand and remain loyal to them because of  positive interaction with their service agents.

In the live chat realm, human-operated customer service represents a messaging exchange much like the way people interact via Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.

Human and automated – the two types of live chat

When talking about best of breed customer service, live chat arguably presents the best reflection of the human-machine dynamic.

On the one hand there is the human, still the focal point of any customer service operation.

They will always be able to better identify customer pain points and empathise with customers than their robotic counterparts, an observation underpinned by numerous studies. For instance, 73% of customers fall in love with a brand and remain loyal to them because of  positive interaction with their service agents.

In the live chat realm, human-operated customer service represents a messaging exchange much like the way people interact via Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.

Meanwhile, automated live chat, powered by chatbots, are used to answer commonly asked questions that could otherwise be considered as a sub-optimal use of a human agent’s time.

So, when might a chatbot intervene? Many live chat services start with an automated exchange to obtain the basic information from the customer such as identification and the nature of their query. Once this is ascertained, the chatbot could proceed to answer a number of frequently asked questions:

• When will I receive my order?
• Can I change or amend my order?
• What is your returns and/or refund policy?

For questions such as these, automated live chat can provide a pre-prepared response or very quickly direct the customer to a relevant help page on a company’s website.

Millennials  prefer live chat for
customer service over  any other
 communication channel

Source – Comm100

Millennials  prefer live chat for customer service over  any other  communication channel

Source – Comm100

The key to striking the optimum human-automated balance is knowing when to hand over from bot to human. While chatbots are a great way of getting a conversation started, personal service and genuine human interactions can’t be faked or replaced.

Failure to recognise when the time is right to handover to a human agent can be costly – for example, 29% of customers are frustrated by scripted, impersonal live chat  responses.

With this in mind, how can organisations help enhance the human-automated live chat experience for customers?

In our white paper, Best of Breed Customer Service, we provide four key tips:

Queuing: Provide real-time queue numbers and estimated wait times to manage expectations and offer transparency to customers.  
Department management: Route chats to the right teams and respond faster.  
Customer satisfaction ratings: Obtain instant feedback about your team members’ performance with post-chat customer satisfaction ratings.  
Visitor analytics: Leverage real-time insights into website visitor journeys to help your company have more relevant conversations with customers.

If you manage to master the balancing act of live chat, then a very valuable arm will have been added to your customer service setup.

In our white paper, Best of Breed Customer Service, we provide four key tips:

Queuing:  Provide real-time queue numbers and estimated wait times to manage expectations and offer transparency to customers.  
Department management:  Route chats to the right teams and respond faster.  
Customer satisfaction ratings:  Obtain instant feedback about your team members’ performance with post-chat customer satisfaction ratings.  
Visitor analytics:  Leverage real-time insights into website visitor journeys to help your company have more relevant conversations with customers.

If you manage to master the balancing act of live chat, then a very valuable arm will have been added to your customer service setup.

Latest Ebook

How to create a best of breed
Customer Satisfaction

In this e-book, we cover basic to advanced topics about
how to create a best of breed customer satisfaction
team, as well as how to evaluate opportunities within
your organization for ongoing optimization.

This e-book is essential for anyone involved in an
organization’s customer engagement team or
Center of Excellence setup.

Latest Ebook

How to create a best of breed
Customer Satisfaction

In this e-book, we cover basic to advanced topics about how to create a best of breed customer satisfaction team, as well as how to evaluate opportunities within your organization for ongoing optimization.

This e-book is essential for anyone involved in an organization’s customer engagement team or Center of Excellence setup.

Share this post

Share on linkedin
Share on facebook
Share on email
Share on print