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Get the conversation right: Chatbot vs. messaging

A man texting

Customers want to reach brands on their own terms, whenever, wherever. Chatbot and messaging capabilities are the essential tools needed to provide this 24/7, personalized customer service. But these two platforms aren’t interchangeable.

Chatbots and messaging each serve a vital role in the overall customer journey, and contact centers need to know when is the right moment to deploy an automated or human response. Let’s explore their differences to find the right fit for customer needs.

What’s a chatbot?

chatbot is automated software that simulates a chat conversation with a user in natural language through messaging applications, websites, mobile apps, or through the telephone. Chatbots are primarily text-based and scripted to answer specific questions.

In most cases it’s an artificially intelligent virtual agent that greets users in the corner of the screen with the option to continue the conversation with the AI or transfer to an agent. Chatbots perform an important role in the omnichannel ecosystem, but chatbot platforms often keep the customer glued to one channel. They are typically a web-based option that occurs in a pop-up screen where both parties must be logged in to continue the conversation.

Chatbot CX wins

Chatbots resolve simple tasks faster and eliminate the manual associate responsibility to resolve issues by directing customers to self-service right from the start. Self-service is powered by intelligent automation capabilities that deliver seamless support, with skills-based routing to contact center associates only when needed.

For your contact center operations, this can be beneficial by deflecting lower value Tier 0 and Tier 1 interactions, while also delivering 24/7 customer support at scale. At the same time, the faster resolution times chatbots can accomplish for simple tasks, such as resetting a password, can help improve overall contact center KPIs such as average handle time and customer satisfaction ratings.

What is messaging?

Messaging is a text-based, two-way conversation between a customer and a live associate that usually occurs on a mobile device or platform like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, SMS text messaging, or within an app. Messaging is asynchronous, meaning users don’t need to stay in a session to send or receive messages.

Messaging takes the idea of web chat, simplifies it, and moves it to where consumers already spend their time – on their smart devices.

Messaging CX wins

Messaging is an excellent channel for real time consumer conversations on smart devices, which work best when it’s quick, authentic, and personal. When an issue is stressful, such as a lost order, consumers want to contact a live person who can provide empathy, navigate complexities better than a bot, and resolve their problem.

Asynchronous communication across platforms like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and SMS text messaging allow for flexible and effective conversations for customers on various devices, whether on the go or at-home. Messaging provides features and services throughout the customer life cycle from the acquisition phase of discovering and exploring to the retention and support phase.

Find the right mix of technology and humanity

Technology should never be introduced for technology’s sake, and neither should a human be introduced to a problem that can be solved in mere seconds with a bot. Effective contact centers understand the right moments to introduce chatbot or messaging capabilities into a conversation to meet customer expectations every time.

Learn more about messaging and chatbots today

Guide to effortless omnichannel experiences: This guide walks through 4 key strategies to hit the right notes for effortless omnichannel CX throughout the customer journey.

Customer Assist bot to the rescue: Learn how basic inquiries handled by associates were reduced through deployment of AI-powered Customer Assist, freeing up time to focus on more complex interactions.

A humanized approach to automation yields positive results: Discover essential robotic automation applications your organization needs to deploy to create effortless employee and customer experiences.

6 proven ways to win with messaging: Discover and explore why your customers want to message you, the best ways to implement the evolving channel, and 6 key steps to achieve CSAT success.