Businesses need to constantly interact with their customers to sell a product or offer support for their existing customers. Many small businesses are torn between hiring a virtual assistant or engaging chatbots.
Implementing either of these customer service interventions requires budgetary considerations. If your business revenues are insufficient, scouting for affordable small business loans would be a worthy consideration.
But for most small businesses, how exactly do these two differ, and why would you prefer one over the other?
- 1 What Is A Chatbot And A Virtual Assistant?
- 2 Differences Between A Chatbot And Hiring A Virtual Assistant
- 3 Pros And Cons Of Chatbots And Hiring A Virtual Assistant
- 4 Getting Funding To Implement It
What Is A Chatbot And A Virtual Assistant?
A Chabot is an automated program that’s designed to interact with customers in conversations that offer answers to specific queries. Chatbots are programmed to respond to the most common queries raised by customers by instantaneously searching the company’s databases and providing accurate answers.
Instead, a virtual assistant is a freelance worker who provides administrative support to businesses by operating off-site. Virtual assistants know the organization’s products, procedures, and escalation matrix for complex situations.
Differences Between A Chatbot And Hiring A Virtual Assistant
Hiring a virtual assistant and using chatbots have their differences.
Solving complex queries
Chatbots are programmed to provide precise answers to specific queries. They sift through the key terms of the conversation to identify the customer’s main pain point and provide accurate information. For instance, they’ll provide the eligibility criteria for loans or the cost of swimming lessons in a business.
In contrast, virtual assistants can respond to complex queries and piece together varied organizational information on a wide range of issues. For instance, a chatbot may not divulge details on whether to expand to new locations or add new products.
Dependability and consistency
Chatbots are programmed to give accurate, and consistent answers making them ideal for responding to repeat queries speedily.
Virtual assistants need to acquaint themselves with organizational procedures to respond to client issues accurately. Human interventions present the possibility of error due to knowledge gaps or communication challenges with the customer.
Availability to customers
Chatbots are intelligent computer programs that are available to users round the clock. Virtual assistants may not be available continuously unless you hire several of them in a shift system. That would translate to more costs.
Moreover, chatbots can engage several customers simultaneously, unlike virtual assistants who can only handle one query at a time.
Empathizing with customers
Although chatbots are intelligent and consistently provide accurate answers to customers, they lack the human touch of a virtual assistant. Chatbots are incapable of the empathy that emanates from the complexities of a human conversation.
Dynamism in conversations
Since chatbot conversations are mainly data-driven, they lack the dynamism of human interaction. Should your chatbot session be interrupted for whatever reason, you’ll have to restart a new conversation as the chatbot is incapable of recalling the contents of your previous conversation.
Virtual assistants differ in that they quickly adapt to a dynamic conversation and integrate aspects that you had previously discussed. This creates a refreshing dialogue that feels natural.
Pros And Cons Of Chatbots And Hiring A Virtual Assistant
- Speedy resolutions to customer inquiries with automated answers
- Can respond to multiple clients simultaneously
- Standard responses
- Available round the clock
- Frees up organization staff to focus on complex, value-adding queries
- Lack of human emotion in communication
- Can’t pick up conversations from previous encounters
- Cannot respond to complex queries
- Initial costs may be prohibitive for small businesses. Business owners can opt for small business loans to invest in a chatbot.
A virtual assistant
- Empathizes with client
- Refreshing human communication
- Can handle complex inquiries and escalate where necessary
- Responses are not always standardized (especially if there’s miscommunication)
- Humans respond to one query at a time.
- May be unavailable during off-shift hours.
- Continuous hiring costs
Getting Funding To Implement It
Reach out to digital lenders for small business loans to effectively outsource customer services. You can start with a chatbot to automatically respond to potential customers interested in your products or services online. This will help improve conversions and also free your in-house customer agents to focus on higher-value conversations.