April 27, 2021

LiveChat vs. Chatbots

If it wasn’t clear before, the events of the last year have made the advantages and benefits enabled by the digital economy apparent to all. In 2020, ecommerce numbers reached dazzling new heights: digital shopping represented 21.3% of total retail sales in the US, up from 15.8% just a short year before while total ecommerce spending reached $861.12 billion, up a whopping 44% year over year. 

With so much money up for grabs, it’s no wonder that digital vendors are doing everything they can to optimize the experience they provide to their online customers. According to McKinsey, customer experience is all about putting your customers’ needs at the center of everything you do, while delivering a flawless experience across every touch point. 

When numbers are so high, even tiny improvements to the experience provided can translate into big bucks at the end of the month. 

Some of today’s latest technologies deliver powerful solutions that enable even small vendors to provide an excellent custom experience that rivals and even surpasses that of larger operations. Live chabots and live chat are two such technologies. They both leverage conversational marketing to enable high availability for sales and super fast resolution for customer support. With customers increasingly expecting the ability to engage your brand with personal, 1-on-1 conversations across multiple channels, smart vendors are embracing these technologies to shore up their customer experience. 

We’ll take a look at each below, so you can make the best decision regarding what’s right for the needs of you and your online business. 


Chatbots are automated services that leverage rules and artificial intelligence to interact with your website visitors via a dedicated chat interface. You can use them in most major chat products -- like Facebook, WhatsApp, SMS, Telegram etc. -- or implement directly in your website in the form of a widget. Website visitors message with chatbots like they would with a human, and the chatbot responds according to preconfigured rules and answers. 

  • Fully automated: Once you’ve got your chatbot up and running, you can rest assured that your website visitors are all receiving prompt, relevant answers to their questions, with no human supervision needed whatsoever. No need to hire an expensive manager or train new employees, just configure the answer trees and let the software do the heavy lifting.

The only issue here is that your website visitors will feel the difference. Specifically, answers are very prompt and to the point. They deliver preprogrammed answers, with no room for context or relevancy beyond the preset configuration. 

  • Scale to your heart’s content. There’s almost no limit to the volume of requests that chatbots can handle simultaneously. Even if you have hundreds of concurrent requests at a time, your chatbots will handle them all in a timely manner. 

However, chatbots are very limited regarding the type of answers they can provide. As every answer they provide is preprogrammed, they won’t be able to answer questions that they weren’t provided answers for. A real human on the other hand, will always be able to find an answer, if not immediately, then within a reasonable amount of time.

  • Lightning-fast response times. There’s no waiting at all when it comes to chatbots. As long as your website visitor is asking a question that the chatbot knows the answer to, they can expect near-instant responses. 

The thing is, their spelling had better be perfect. If a question with spelling mistakes is sent to the chatbot, there’s a good chance that they won’t understand it.  This issue is slowly improving over time, but for now, remains a major disadvantage.

Live Chat

Live chat offers a similar experience to that of chatbots, with one major difference. Instead of preconfigured rules and artificial intelligence governing the answers, there’s a real human behind every word that’s written in the chat. While definitely more costly to maintain, the highly personalized, direct experience provided is oftentimes much more effective than that provided by chatbots, especially for complex products. 

  • The human touch. There’s no getting around it, humans are better at providing services than bots. They can go the extra mile, and won’t leave your customer until the problem has been solved. 

  • Limitless answers. Real humans on live chat can potentially solve any problem and provide answers to every question. As long as they have been provided with effective training and have access to people with greater knowledge on the product, there’s no limit to the scope and variety of requests that they can handle.

  • Personalized, high quality communication. In the foreseeable future, there’s no way that chatbots will be able to communicate like humans. The high level of personalization enabled by human reps is critical, especially when dealing with complex products or repeat customers. 

Consolto’s Live Chat

Consolto provides a robust solution for live chat, directly out of your website. Your human reps have access to an advanced, mini-CRM. This enables them to access critical, personal information about your website visitors and deliver a highly personalized chat experience that will delight your customers.

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