Live Chat Customer Service Software vs Chatbots

Chatbot vs Live Chat: How to Use Chatbot-to-Live Agent Transfer Like a Boss

If you’re considering using live chat customer service software should you be using live chat as an alternative to chatbots?

FALSE! There’s no reason to think “chatbot vs live chat”. No need to decide between EITHER chatbots or real humans. Why?

Chatbots vs live chat customer service is like deciding between peanut butter OR jelly. Salt OR pepper.

We don’t live in a black and white world. And excelling at customer support isn’t about making a choice between chatbots OR humans.

chatbot vs live chat solutions

Chatbots are estimated to save businesses $8 billion dollars by 2022. Yet we all recognize that a chatbot can’t replace a real human 100% of the time.

In this article we explore why (and how!) you can use both bots and live agents in your customer support solutions — as well as the best way to utilize live chat and chatbot support software.

Chatbots vs. Customer Service Live Chat Software & the Missing Super Power

Live chat customer service software lets businesses engage with customers on a one-on-one basis. Critical stuff.

However, let’s face it. Live customer support is a big investment, especially if you have a big and growing business or you are an agency that looks after a lot of clients. There is a lot of time required to personally communicate with each and every customer.

Enter customer support automation — a time-saving, resource saving and budget saving solution to all of a business’s repetitive customer service tasks.

Chat Support Software Challenge

Employing a chatbot builder in business can do a lot of the heavy lifting of customer support:

Especially if you employ many live agents to handle your customer enquiries!

What matters to customers is that they get the answers to their questions quickly. Because chatbots won’t ever have all the answers, the best solution marries the best of both worlds:

A customer support chatbot with live chat takeover.

In this solution, a chatbot can do all the initial legwork and a live agent can take over once the nature of the conversation has been established in your chat support software.

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What is live chat takeover?

Live takeover, or chatbot to live agent transfer, is a process where a customer is talking to a bot, and at some point in the conversation, a live agent (aka real human) jumps in and takes over the conversation.

Live agent transfer from a bot in your customer support chat software can be initiated in any or multiple ways.

4 common ways to initiate a chatbot to live agent transfer:

  • Mobile app push notification
  • Web app notification
  • Email notification
  • Integration-based notification to a help desk or customer support platform
ways to set up chatbot to live agent transfer

We’ll cover how to set up these triggers that a live customer service agent should jump into the conversation in the tutorial below.

What are the signs that customer support agents need to look for in order to know it’s time to jump in and take over?

Using a customer support chatbot makes it possible to not have to actively monitor all conversations happening in real time between customer service bots and customers.

Instead, customer service (CS) teams rely on automated process that allow the CS agent to identify at which point they can jump in.

Generally the way this works is:

  • The customer can indicate that they aren’t obtaining the information they requested and ask to speak to a live agent
  • Or the bot can be programmed to trigger a notification to the CS live agent team.

Chatbot vs Live Chat Agent Example: eCommerce

Say you run a small eCommerce website. You have a website chatbot that handles customer enquiries.

The bot can answer a lot of basic questions about your products and it will introduce your customers to those products.

But once in a while a customer asks a question that a bot doesn’t know how to answer.

At that point, if you have a system like MobileMonkey, that’s designed to notify you when your bot can’t service a particular user’s needs, as an agent, you can receive an alert via email or on your phone.

Then a real human can jump right in and talk to the customer.

Chatbot vs Live Chat Agent Example: Running a Marketing Agency

Imagine you handle all of the incoming bot conversations from your customer’s pages but you don’t necessarily know their businesses really well.

In this scenario, you would want to set up a very smooth way to be able to alert your agents so that they can jump in and answer your user’s questions at the right moment.

Where Live Chat Customer Service Takeover Is Crucial

Say you have a customer support team of five agents and they are specialized on different parts of the product that you’re offering. You want to route the different questions to the right agent.

As a question about pricing comes up, you want to alert your pricing specialist or a problem or a question about the in-stock status of a certain product, then you want to route it to the member of your team that handles those types of questions.

It may not even be a customer that’s saying, “I’d like to speak to someone live instead of conversing with a bot.”

Supporting Special Requests with Chatbot to Live Agent Takeover

It’s simply a customer going through the process and then making the company aware of the fact that they’re enquiring about something specific such as pricing and their actions alerting a customer service representative.

Perhaps the customer service representative that tends to deal with those kinds of queries could then jump in without specifically being asked for help.

In other words, there are a couple of cases where you could do a live takeover. If the customer actively wants to talk to someone, you can set up alerts for that.

Chatbot to Live Agent Best Practice: Offer the Live Agent Option

It’s a recommended best practice when designing a customer service chatbot to give your customers a clear and easy option to talk to a live agent at any time.

For example, you can have your bot asking, “Hey, you seem confused! Do you want to talk to a real human?” Then if the customer says yes, you can set up an alert at that moment to notify the correct member of your team.

The other way is the built-in automated process where at a certain point your bot doesn’t know how to answer whatever question the customer asks, all members of your team could get an alert and then you can jump in and answer those questions.

Is it possible to use chatbots for customer service and not use live agents at all?

In a perfectly efficient world, the customer would never have to talk to a live customer service agent at all!

Any information they needed would be available to them instantly, 24/7. This ideal is why chatbots came into existence.

Because especially for a website that has thousands of visitors a day who all might want to talk to an agent, there just aren’t enough real humans out there to talk to customers!

This is why it makes so much sense to have a chatbot field the responses to all of the initial questions in your chat support software.

However, would we recommend no real humans in a customer support role? No, not really.

Customers Still Need to Talk to Real Humans

As we all know, in any industry, customers still like to talk to real humans; automations and robots have their limits.

The best solution marries the efficiency, expediency and affordability of chatbots for customer service with real humans that respond as quickly as possible.

Business owners have systems available to them that offer everything their customers are seeking, with affordable solutions like MobileMonkey that start at $19/mo.

Advantages fo chatbots as the first line of customer support response:

  • Instant 24/7 response
  • Answers standard initial questions (FAQs)
  • Guide customers to information they are looking for
  • Transfers conversations to live agents at the right time

Whenever the customer gets to a point where they have more complex questions that the bot can’t answer, that’s when you absolutely need to have a real human to jump in and handle the situation in your preferred live chat customer service software:

  • Live agents have a variety of convenient notification methods from email to desktop to mobile app notifications
  • Live agent transfers can be programmed to trigger both by the customer chatting with the bot or by the bot
  • As a result, customers talk to real humans when they need them

Chatbots vs. live chat is a myth.

The solution that businesses are using today bring together chatbots and real people for winning customer service.

What business are doing live agent takeover well?

MobileMonkey has MobileMonkey agency partners as well as customers across verticals upping their customer service game with MobileMonkey’s chat support software.

Here is what successful businesses using bots for customer service have in common:

  • Set up a bot that collects customer information such as email and learns what the customer is interested in.
  • Bot asks the customer if they have any further questions and whether or not they would like to talk to anyone.
  • If the customer says yes, a live agent receives a notification (mobile app, email, etc.) and the real human jumps in to answer questions, knowing ahead of time what the customer is looking for.

From ecommerce to service businesses, SMBs to enterprises, any business doing customer service or lead generation online can benefit from smart, chat-based automation.

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Live Chat Customer Service Software Review: How to Set Up Chatbot to Live Agent Transfer in MobileMonkey

MobileMonkey is a premier chat automation platform for marketing and customer support. MobileMonkey plans start as low as $0 a month for unlimited contacts.

Let’s go ahead and set up a customer service chatbot with live agent transfer triggers. We’ll give you a tour of the MobileMonkey inbox so you can see features.

Step 1: View all customer conversations in the MobileMonkey Inbox

Let’s jump to the MobileMonkey Inbox to demonstrate how you can be aware when a customer requires your attention as a live agent.

The MobileMonkey Inbox
The MobileMonkey Inbox

In our left hand menu, next to the Inbox see a pink icon with a number next to it.

In this example, the badge tells us is that there are five conversations that require our attention. A customer has sent a message and the bot doesn’t have a programmed response to that message.

At this point we assume that an agent needs to jump in. The agent can jump in and decide what they want to do in this case, whether or not the conversation’s done or if the conversation requires some additional input.

Managing conversations in the Inbox

Within the Inbox, here is a list of conversations and you can filter the conversations at the top. At the moment it’s set on the main conversations that are happening.

We can change the filter to follow up, so that the follow-up filter is associated with the pink dot in the screenshot. Here we can view the five conversations, where the customer has sent a message requiring a human’s attention.

Step 2: View conversations requiring live agent attention with MobileMonkey alerts

MobileMonkey alerts you that there are some conversations that require your response.

You can communicate with your customers straight from this Inbox. In this example, all we’re doing as a live human responding to a customer is saying, “Hello”.

MobileMonkey alerts
MobileMonkey alerts

After that initial direct message is sent, your bot will be paused so it’s no longer active. You can then continue to talk to your customer without being concerned with them receiving additional messages from your bot.

There is also an alert that tells you if a contact has interacted with you more than 24 hours ago. In this ‘website chat’ example, the customers last talked to us over 24 hours ago, which means that they’re probably not as open to receiving messages. This emphasizes the importance of reacting quickly.

Step 3: Use the MobileMonkey Chat mobile app to see conversations from a phone or mobile device

This is where the mobile app and all the other notifications MobileMonkey have on offer will help you establish the best way of keeping on top of customers that require your immediate attention.

The MobileMonkey app
The MobileMonkey app

What we’ve been discussing so far is a specific case where the bot doesn’t know how to answer your customer.

Now, let’s set up the actual website chat, where customers will be able to chat with you, along with a notification in the chat flow when you’ll be notified.

Step 4: Add the customer chat widget to the business website

While there are a few different places where customers can find and start talking to a business using MobileMonkey (from a link in an email, from a Facebook Page, and more!) we’ll use our website chat as an example.

In MobileMonkey go to Website Chat > Customer Chat Widgets.

If you haven’t already created your website chat, the info you need is in this tutorial: How to Add a Chatbot to a WordPress Site. When you’re ready, come back here.

Opening up the customer chat widget, let’s go straight into the Start Bot where the conversation flow is happening.

Website chat - the customer chat widget
Website chat – the customer chat widget

In this example, the Start Bot has asked the customer, “Hey there, do you need help?” Then the customer will say, “Yes.” This indicates that the customer wants to talk to someone.

The chatbot will then say, “I’m happy to help, but before we get started can you share your email just in case we get disconnected?”

The user then shares their email. This is a really effective way of ensuring that you can continue the conversation with the user, even if they’re not logged-in to chat.

Step 5: Give the customer multiple choice menus to provide them with the info they need quickly

Next, after they share their email you may want your bot to ask your user what help specifically they’re looking for.

Using multiple choice to deal with quick questions
Using multiple choice to deal with quick questions

In this scenario you can use multiple choice quick questions that will allow you to specify some choices that the customer can choose.

In the screenshot you can see that we have provided options such as “bulk orders”, “product questions”, “pricing” and another option for users to click on if their query isn’t covered in our core question categories.

Creating a communications path from the answers that your customer selects

In this section of MobileMonkey we can also create a new path from the question categories that we’ve set up. For instance, if the customer clicks “bulk order”, we need to establish a path for the customer to follow after selecting that option.

This might be as simple as getting your bot to say something like “great, thanks for letting us know. We’ll have a customer agent join the chat momentarily.”

Step 6: Set up live agent notifications

At the same. time, behind the scenes, it’s important for it’s important for you to make the right customer agent aware that a customer is waiting for them.

Use the notification widget to set up a live agent transfer notification that can be sent to the MobileMonkey Chat mobile app or via email.

Notifying agents
Notifying agents

Let’s say that we want to use the mobile app to notify our live agent rep, Tony.

In the screenshot we can see that there’s a field called “notification message”. This is the message that’s going to be displayed in the app.

If you have a special kind of note that you want to send to Tony that highlights specifically what the customer is enquiring about, you can see that here.

Notification handling

When Tony receives the notification, he can see that this is a question about “pricing” or whatever topic has been selected by the user. This is a quick, automated, efficient way for you to communicate internally.

Obviously, the end customer won’t see this message, only the agent sees it. It’s a really nice way to inform agents quickly about the precise nature of a user’s enquiry.

As well as sending Tony a notification, you may wish to send him an email. That’s something else that you can do inside the MobileMonkey platform.

This efficient flow helps business deal with busy customer chat environments as well as agencies who are managing the chat experience on behalf of multiple clients.

MobileMonkey: Smart Live Chat Customer Service Software and Chatbot Software In One

Chatbots can be an amazing first line of defense on your website. By figuring our how chatbots work, you don’t have to answer every single question that comes in on your website or on your Facebook page.

You really need to know when to use chatbots as they can’t be expected to answer every question that every customer has.

Here are the 2 big takeaways to being successful with customer service chatbots with live agent transfer.

1. Design a system where your chatbot can hand over the conversation to a live agent

Chatbots aren’t really equipped with all the business knowledge that you have on within your company.

This means that it’s really important to be able to design a system where your chatbot can hand over the conversation to a live agent – and not just to any live agent, but the right live agent in a timely manner!

By doing so , you can ensure that your customers get exactly what they want – i.e. a quick response time – and at the same time, they also get to feel important by talking to a live agent.

2. Use advanced customer service features for assigning agents, viewing different conversations, and jumping into the conversation live.

At times, customers want to be able to talk to live agents and that’s not likely to change.

It’s important to equip your CS teams with the tools to jump into the right conversation at the right time, to answer questions and give customers real human care and interaction.

Of course, you’ll always want to tweak this process, and the more you do so the better the user experience will be, which will result in more leads and more sales.

Chatbot vs Live Chat Support Software FAQ

Got more questions about chat support software and chatbot to live agent transfer? We’ve got answers!

Here are some of the common questions we get asked about the chat support software.

Q: How does a customer know if a bot or a real human is talking to them?

A: One way to indicate to your customer on the other end of the conversation that you are a human talking to them is to use a user persona. If the agent chooses, they can send a message as themselves and not as the page.

Another way to tell the customer chatting with your business that a human is talking to them is to say so! “Hi, I’m Van and you’re actually talking to a real human now” will be a clear message to your customer on the other line.

And one more way to communicate that they’re talking to a human is for your bot to give the signal. A business can program the bot to say something like, “I totally understand that you need to talk to human. Let me get you in touch with someone right now.” This could happen at the same time that the bot triggers a notification to a live agent.

Those are three ways your customer can be informed that they are speaking with a real person.

Q: How much of the agent’s profile is shared with customers using agent persona view?

A: If an agent drops in to the conversation as themselves (user persona), should they be concerned about sharing too much personal information with the user through their Facebook profile?

No – when MobileMonkey creates the agent persona, it’s just a profile image and a name so that the customer knows that they’re talking to someone real.

So there’s no additional information displayed to the customer.

Q: How is the agent persona created?

A: When the live customer service agent is signed into MobileMonkey, they connect to the Business Facebook Page using their personal Facebook profile.

MobileMonkey pulls the CS agent’s photo and name from their Facebook profile. This is what is displayed to the customers they chat with using live agent persona.

MobileMonkey does have plans in the future to allow customers to choose the  photo they want presented.

Q: How can agents be alerted when a customer wants to speak with a real person?

A: There are a number of alert and notification options for the CS teams using MobileMonkey customer support software including:

Web app notifications: When you use MobileMonkey’s full-featured web application, you will see a badge that says how many conversations need attention.

Mobile app notifications: For customers who are on the go, who aren’t sitting in front of a computer, the MobileMonkey Chat mobile app can be configured to send push notifications whenever human agent attention is required.

Email alerts: MobileMonkey can also be configured to send an email to any email address when a customer asks to speak to a live human or when a customer has reached a trigger point in a conversation.

Q: Can agents or business owners customize their customer communication notifications?

A: Yes – MobileMonkey recently rolled-out a new, special widget called the “notification widget”. This allows you to choose the point in the bot dialogue where a member of the team would be notified.

This could be you being notified or selecting someone else within your team to receive the notifications.

The great thing about it is that it’s something that happens silently in the background, allowing you to notify members of the team via the MobileMonkey app or via email.

We hope that you enjoyed this episode of the Chat Marketing Train! How are you using chatbots vs live chat software as part of your customer service strategy?

Find your Ideal Customers with RoboBDR™ Sales Outreach Automation and B2C Prospecting Data

Fill your sales pipeline and win more deals faster at a fraction of the cost of human sales development reps using the MobileMonkey RoboBDR™ database of +100 million B2C prospects and proven sales outreach automation cadences for email and SMS.


Chatbot vs Live Chat: Important Next Steps

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