Get the conversation right: Chatbot vs. messaging

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, personalised customer service. But these two platforms aren’t interchangeable.

Chatbots and messaging each serve a vital role in the overall customer journey, and contact centres 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?

A 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 centre associates only when needed.

For your contact centre 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 centre 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 centres 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

The ultimate business case for messaging: Read this white paper to learn why messaging is an essential channel and next steps on how to add and optimise it in your company's contact centres.

4 steps to accelerate contact centre digital transformation: Read this strategy guide to learn the 4 steps to accelerate your contact centre digital transformation and move from effort to effortless experiences.

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

Everyone wins when humans and bots join forces: Uncover how a balance of AI and humans can create an amazing customer experience.

Remote CX + Messaging = A Perfect Pair: Discover how to combine messaging and remote operations to deliver amazing and effortless experiences.