When surfing the web, many people probably don’t notice the number of live chat options that pop up to offer us assistance. Even when used, most people rarely consider what goes into making them work. But with 41% of consumers expecting to find a live chat option on a website, according to Superoffice.com, it’s clear how important live chat is. The technology has come a long way since it was first established in chatrooms when the internet first launched commercially and grew in popularity with MSN in the 2000s. But with technology launching us further into the future, what can we expect next from live chat software and the growth of chatbots?

Live Chat and Chatbots

The integration of live chat and chatbots will be growing increasingly in the next few years as the technology behind defining responses from chatbots becomes more refined. Distinct from live chat, current chatbots are used to streamline the customer service process, with many benefitting from rudimentary AI technology that allows queries to be solved quickly. Chatbot technology has seen an increase in attention in recent years as social media sites have normalised the use of pre-prepared responses.

The benefits of this combination include authenticity from the human interaction and qualitative understanding, but with the initial buffer of triggered responses from chatbots based on previously asked queries. Chatbots have been utilized by Facebook, for example, to allow businesses to answer FAQs from customers and perform basic tasks such as booking for a restaurant or making simple orders. Human representatives can monitor these interactions and then step in. The extent of what chatbots can do before human intervention is set to increase in the future.

Prevalence of Live Chat

Live chat is fast becoming the preferred method of communication with companies, receiving an 85% satisfaction rate compared to other methods such as email, according to helpscout.com. For example, financial investors Betterment use live chat to be proactive with customers who need to know that their money is in good hands, identifying specific issues each customer may have and pointing them in the right direction as their next step on the site. At BetJaw.com, live chat software is considered as a factor in reviewing online casino sites, as it’s important for customers to be able to discuss anything they may need. Knowing that support is available may help them choose a given casino.

Moreover, pet insurance company Petplan offers live chat on Facebook which would help push potential customers towards the service by dismissing any doubts the customer may have about purchasing insurance. Whereas Mavenlink shows how live chat information can be operationalised for sales and marketing teams to chase up leads. Larger companies are less likely to be able to offer a live chat, which is where chatbot technology comes into play. The prevalence of live chat means that more businesses will turn towards it as it becomes ‘expected’ by their customers. Many of these options for live chat may see integration with chatbot technology.

For most people, the evidence of the growth of PC technology will be in how users are able to interact with it. Increasingly, this will be shown through how live chat functionalities on sites improve. By taking advantage of chatbot technology, live chats can be more intuitive and save time for both the customer and the customer service team who are responsible for following up queries. With simple issues taken care of, they can focus on expediting the bigger issues to create an overall more positive customer service experience.