Chatbot vs Live Chat: Which Is Best for Customer Service?

Stefan van der VlagGeneral, Guides & Resources, Support


AI revolutionized how customers interact and engage with businesses. Companies are now moving toward building conversations instead of solely focusing on transactions. Chatbots have provided a new way in which businesses can establish meaningful relationships with customers. Predictions suggest that by the mid of 2023, 85% of consumers will be able to manage their connections with businesses without interacting with a human.

According to Oracle, 80% of businesses have started to opt to use chatbots because of their advantages over traditional methods. This reveals the growing popularity of AI-powered chatbots and their potential to revolutionize customer service. The dominance of chatbots in customer service may soon become the “new normal.”  It is, therefore, becoming increasingly important for businesses to consider integrating chatbots into their customer service frameworks.

So, if, being a business, you had a choice between chatbot and live chat to provide customer service, which one would you choose? This isn’t a straightforward yes or no answer as each of these solutions offers unique advantages. In this article, we’ll create a detailed comparison between chatbot and live chat support options to help you better understand which would be best for your customer service needs. But first thing first.

Why is Live Chat Important?

Live chat is an important tool for companies, as it helps build relationships with customers. This type of customer service provides a personal touch and can help to create a more positive customer experience. In fact, the study shows that 70% of the customers prefer live chat compared to other support channels and are more likely to be more satisfied with their experiences than phone and email customers.

Live chat provides faster customer service than phone and email customer service. This is possible because customers can ask questions and get answers in real-time. Live chat operators can also handle multiple chat sessions simultaneously.

Live Chat Statistics

Source: Finance Online

Why are Chatbots Important?

Chatbots are becoming increasingly important for businesses, as they offer several key benefits over live chat customer service. For example, compared to humans, chatbots can provide 24/7 customer service. They also work faster than humans and are able to handle a large volume of queries without any issues. In addition, chatbots reduce costs associated with human customer service by reducing labor costs and the need for extensive training. Chatbots can also access customers’ past interactions and use this data to provide better customer service.

Key features of chatbots:

  • Always active: Chatbots are always available and active, which means they can provide customer service 24/7.
  • Personalized experiences: Chatbots can create personalized customer experiences by using past conversations and data to provide better services.
  • Easily scalable: Chatbots can easily scale to meet customer demands as they have the power of artificial intelligence.
  • Less prone to errors: Chatbots are less prone to errors than humans and can provide faster customer service.

Let’s take a look at the live chat vs. chatbots comparison:

Live Chat Chatbot
You can use live chat to provide a human touch to customer service You can use chatbots to provide automated customer service
Skilled operators can handle multiple conversations at once Chatbots can handle multiple conversations simultaneously
You need human resources to manage the live chat No need for extensive staff training
You need to train staff to handle customer queries No need for extra human resources
Not reliable on busy days like holidays Available 24/7 and less prone to errors
You can provide personalized customer service You can provide personalized customer service
May not help solve complex customer queries
Implementation requires time and money

Since some chatbots use NLP, they provide better opportunities to replace FAQs, educational resources, and other customer service tasks. But on the other hand, live chat is completely dominant when it comes to providing personalized customer service and complex customer queries. So, which one should you choose?

The answer is quite complicated. Before deciding, let’s analyze all the factors, cases, and customer service requirements. There are many circumstances where using chatbots is of great help. For instance, if you are a new business, a chatbot can help you establish a 24/7 customer service system without needing additional human resources. This is because you are new to the market, and you need to focus on other aspects of your business.

On the other hand, some businesses would require live chat customer service. For those businesses, human interaction is very important. For example, live chat could be a great way to provide personal customer service if you sell luxury products or services. If you are reading down here by now, you will understand what chatbots and live chat do, their key features and benefits, and what makes them different.

Let’s go into the main factors you need to consider before making a choice.

Speed of Response:

Chatbots ★★★★★ | Live chat ★★★☆☆

So, the very first thing you need to consider is the speed of response. Chatbots are always faster than humans when it comes to responding to customer queries. Customers hate waiting, and it is important to respond as soon as possible. In fact, if a business in 2022 doesn’t provide a fast response, it’s set to lose more than 70% of its customers. The latest study claims that 90% of customers say it’s important to respond immediately. Another study revealed that this is the most frustrating thing for a customer if support does not respond quickly enough.

Hubspot Research – Consumers’ Patience

Today, millions of businesses are competing in the same market, and customers have a lot of options to choose from. As a result, you need to provide faster service than your competitors. Let’s say you are using live chat; it would be quick when the customer service is live, but what about the off days? Or what about the long waits when the customer service is busy?

24/7 customer service isn’t for every business, but if you need it, then a chatbot is the perfect choice for that. The chatbot would handle customer queries 24/7, even when you are offline. In a world where every second counts, you don’t want to lose customers because of slow customer service. So, the winner is the chatbot here because of its faster response.


Chatbot ★★★☆☆ | Live chat ★★★★★

The cost is the most important thing you need to consider when choosing between chatbot and live chat. Generally, chatbots are less expensive than hiring a customer service staff. The cost of a chatbot depends on the complexity and features you need. But generally, it is cheaper than providing live customer service. You can’t say the same thing about live chat because it requires you to hire staff and pay salaries. It also might require additional costs for training, management, etc. Even then, you will be limited to working hours and the number of people on staff.

So, if you need a system that is both inexpensive and efficient, can respond to limitless queries quickly, and provide excellent customer service, then top chatbot platforms like Clepher are your best bet. There are many reasons for that because you don’t need to worry about additional costs once you’ve set it up. All you need is just pay once for the chatbot and its setup.

Another great thing about chatbot is that it doesn’t need any maintenance and provides excellent customer service 24/7. Imagine the cost savings you could make if you don’t need to hire additional staff or pay salaries. Here is a brief comparison of the cost for both live chat and chatbot.

Live Chat:

  • Can handle any complex message but need training
  • Need more agents to handle more users
  • Hiring costs, salaries, and other additional costs


  • You need to pay once for the chatbot setup, with no maintenance cost and no additional staff costs.
  • If you want to change strategy, you must create another strategy that might need some extra cost.

So, the winner here is live chat because of its cost-saving opportunities.


Chatbot ★★★☆☆ | Live chat  ★★★★★

Personalization is another important factor when choosing between chatbot and live chat. When customers visit your website or app, they want to feel like they are being heard and that you are considering their needs. The way to make them feel special is to provide personalized customer service. Remember, customers, want to feel like you are catering to their individual needs.

Live chat provides that opportunity as it allows customer service representatives to engage with customers on a personalized level. They can provide tailored responses based on the customer’s individual needs. Live chat will also help you build a better customer relationship as they are able to provide more human touch. Take an example of an angry customer; you can enhance your customer retention by providing a more human approach to their disagreement.

On the other hand, chatbots might not be able to provide the same level of personalization as they would be programmed with general responses. However, you can use AI and machine learning to train your chatbot to provide more personalized service. In fact, a study found customers get really frustrated with the impersonal customer experience they receive from a business. Since the customer is the King, providing them with the best personalization experience is one way to win their hearts.

So, in terms of personalization, the clear winner is live chat because it can provide a more personalized experience to customers. The sky becomes the limit when it comes to providing personalized customer service.

Features and Integrations:

Chatbot ★★★★☆ | Live chat ★★★★☆

Features and integrations are other important factors when choosing between chatbot and live chat. Nothing in e-commerce and customer service is a one-size-fits-all solution. You need to be able to customize and tailor your customer service experience to fit the unique needs of your business. When it comes to features and integrations, both chatbot and live chat offer plenty of them:

Chatbot Features:

AI-driven customer service means chatbots can provide intelligent and personalized customer service.

  • Integrated with social media platforms: This means sending messages and responding to customers on the go.
  • Integrate with CRM platforms: This means keeping customer data organized and easy to access.
  • Analytics: Track and analyze customer interactions to identify opportunities for improvement.
  • Conversational interface: This feature offers customers an easy and intuitive customer experience.

Live chat features:

  • Real-time chat: This means customers can get an immediate response instead of waiting for hours.
  • Integrate with other support channels: This means you can integrate live chat with other channels, such as email and social media.
  • Customizable interface: This means you can customize the design of your live chat to match your brand.
  • Analytics: Track customer interactions to identify opportunities for improvement.

Both chatbot and live chat offer plenty of features and integrations. However, chatbots can provide more features and integrations than live chat, making it the clear winner here.

Messaging channels:

Chatbots ★★★☆☆ | Live chat ★★★★★

When it comes to messaging channels, live chat is the clear winner. Live chat allows customers to get in touch with you via a wide variety of messaging channels such as web, mobile, social media, and email. This means customers can contact you through their preferred channel. Chatbots, on the other hand, offer fewer messaging channels. The thing is, every chatbot is designed for a specific use case and is limited by the messaging channels it offers. Chatbots can also be integrated with other platforms such as Messenger, WhatsApp, Telegram, and Slack.

For instance, Clepher is designed to be used with Facebook Messenger and Instagram. Live chats can also integrate with all these platforms, but they offer more flexibility than chatbots. Let’s say you want to offer customer service on all platforms, including web, mobile, social media, and email. In this case, live chat is the clear winner. However, it’s still not a good option when it comes to the cost, as we discussed earlier. Implementing live chat on each of your platforms will cost you more than setting up a chatbot.

Analytics and Reporting:

Chatbots ★★★★★ | Live chat ★★★★☆

When it comes to analytics and reporting, chatbots are the clear winner. Chatbots offer advanced analytics and reporting features that provide insights into customer behavior and preferences. Chatbot analytics can show:

  1. How many conversations have been had
  2. What kind of questions are being asked
  3. The time it takes to resolve each conversation
  4. What kind of words are used in conversations
  5. How many customers have been converted into leads/sales
  6. What kind of topics are being discussed.

Live chat also offers analytics and reporting capabilities, but it’s not as advanced as chatbots. Live chat analytics can show how many conversations have been and what topics are being discussed, but it lacks the more advanced features such as tracking customer conversions. You can’t deny the importance of analytics and reporting when it comes to customer service. Having access to insights about your customers can help you make better decisions, improve customer service and identify opportunities for improvement.

Ease of implementation:

Chatbots ★★★☆☆ | Live chat ★★★★☆

When it comes to ease of implementation, live chat wins hands down. Live chat is much easier to set up and requires minimal technical expertise. All you need to do is install the live chat software on your website, and you’re good to go. Just train your customer service personnel, and they’re ready to start chatting with customers.

On the other hand, chatbots are a bit more technical to set up. Though they are becoming very handy, chatbots still require some technical expertise to set up. You will need to invest time and resources in setting up the chatbot, including building the chatbot, training it, and integrating it with the right messaging channels. A chat widget needs to be installed on your website and connected to the chatbot. Once you do, everything is easy, as pie. So, though live chat is the clear winner when it comes to ease of implementation, chatbots aren’t far behind.


Chatbots ★★★★★ | Live chat ★★★☆☆

Availability is an important factor in customer service. Customers want to know that their queries are being answered quickly and efficiently. E-commerce is all about convenience, and customers expect to have their queries answered quickly. In this regard, chatbots are the clear winner. Chatbots can be available 24/7 and can respond to customers in real-time. They never get tired or need a break, and they are always ready to answer customer queries. When implemented correctly, chatbots can provide a great customer experience.

Live chats, on the other hand, require someone to be available at all times to answer queries. This means that customers won’t get the immediate response they want. Live chat operators need regular breaks and might be unable to answer queries after office hours. Even if you have 24/7 live chat support, it might not be the best option for customer service as a human cannot handle so many questions that are different, again and again.

This is even more important for businesses with customers from different time zones. Chatbots can provide a better customer experience in this regard as they are always available and don’t need any breaks.

Customer Experience:

Chatbots ★★★★☆ | Live chat ★★★★☆

Customer experience is paramount for any business. Customers expect a personalized and efficient experience, and it’s up to you to provide that. Chatbots offer great response time, but even then, sometimes, they lack a human touch. Chatbots are great for solving simple queries, but they might not be able to provide the same level of empathy and understanding as a human.

On the other hand, live chat works best when it comes to providing personalized customer service. Live chat operators can provide a human touch and offer personalized solutions to customers. Live chats are best for complex queries, as operators can provide detailed solutions and timely answers. But chatbots are gaining ground and have the potential to provide a personalized experience as well. With advanced Natural Language Processing (NLP) capabilities, chatbots can quickly understand the customer’s intent and provide relevant solutions.

How live chat and chatbots can be used together?

Both live chat and chatbots have their own advantages and can be used together to create an efficient customer service experience. Chatbots can be used to handle simple queries, while live chat operators can handle more complex queries. This helps provide a personalized customer experience and ensures that customers get their queries answered quickly and efficiently. When used together, live chat and chatbots can provide a great customer experience that is both fast and personalized. This ensures better customer satisfaction and higher retention.

But implementing both live chat and chatbots can be a daunting task. It requires careful planning, meticulous execution, and ongoing maintenance to ensure the best customer experience. This is why it is important to work with an experienced customer service provider who can help you implement and manage both live chat and chatbots.

Leverage the power of Chatbots with Clepher.

Clepher is a powerful and easy-to-use platform that helps businesses set up chatbots. It allows businesses to create interactive conversations with customers that provide a personalized experience. You can connect bots from Facebook and Instagram, Send automated messages to customers, capture leads, and much more. With Clepher, businesses can leverage the power of chatbots and gain a competitive edge. Leverage the power of chatbot and create effective customer service experiences with Clepher.

Chatbot vs Live Chat for Customer Service


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