If you are still relying on phone calls, emails or worst of all, a contact form on your website, you need to get with the times and make some changes…fast!
Offering a messaging or chat facility on your website is a more efficient way to handle customer enquiries. If you do not believe me just check out the stats below:
- A messaging facility helps your guests to communicate with you in real time and generates a satisfaction level of 73%, compared to 61% for email and 44% for phone (Econsultancy)
- 63% of consumers reported that they are more likely to return to a website that offers a chat facility (Emarketer)
- 41 million messages are sent every minute (Statista)
It is becoming clearer every day that a chat facility on your own website is no longer a ‘nice to have’. It is becoming more important to your potential guests who are looking for instantaneous answers to their queries when they want them.
So how do you know which chat facility will work the best for you? Well, you have two choices: chatbots or a live chat facility.
- AI CHATBOT – An AI Chatbot uses computer-generated responses that allow guests to receive answers to their questions day or night, with no human interaction required.
- LIVE CHAT – A live chat facility is an instant messaging facility that sits on your website and is monitored by your staff or off-site workers. It is only available during the hours your staff work.
So which option is going to work the best for your property? The truth is, they both have their pros and cons. Following are the 4 factors you should carefully consider when deciding which chat facility is best for your property.
Making your guests wait for a response is a big problem. We’ve all been there, sitting on hold on the phone for what feels like a lifetime for someone to help us or completing an online form only to be told someone will get back to us in the next 24 hours!
Compared to phone calls and emails, live chat will drastically reduce wait times. In fact, live chat blows phone calls and emails out of the water when it comes to speed of response. Although live chat has a fast response time, there is still room for improvement.
Chatbots offer an instant response! Initiating conversations and generating answers within seconds of a potential guest landing on your website. If you are looking for the fastest response times, chatbots win hands down!
Now more than ever it is important that you make cost-effective decisions for your property. A live chat facility will help you significantly reduce costs compared to phone or email support.
Studies show that it is 17 – 33% less expensive to communicate with a guest on live chat than on a phone call. Introducing live chat will undoubtedly improve your operational efficiency, but you do need to keep in mind that you will have to have in-house or off-site staff to handle the live chat facility. You can outsource support to a customer service agency and this will offer cost savings, but you may lose some quality of the responses compared to those given by one of your own employees.
An AI Chatbot will be less expensive than a live chat facility. There will be costs for the AI software but this will be less in the long run compared to paying employees to monitor your chat facility. The added advantage of the AI Chatbot is that it can handle up to 2000 conversations at a time – now show me a human that can juggle that many conversations at once!
Artificial intelligence is advancing at a great pace and chatbots can now mimic human responses. In fact, some guests have no idea they are talking to a machine. On the downside, chatbot jokes are still abysmal!
AI chatbots however cannot replace the human touch. Chatbots cannot feel empathy or convey a specific tone the same way a human can.
If you are going to use your staff to handle live chat enquiries on your website, they are more than likely not going to be available 24/7.
Chatbots, on the other hand, can respond to guests queries 24/7, 365 days a year (366 in a leap year). They are never unavailable as they do not need to eat, sleep, take bathroom breaks or get involved in office gossip!
There are pros and cons to each chat facility – you need to weigh up which factors are most important to your property
Your property can provide better customer service by implementing a chat facility and it is clear that there are pros and cons to both systems.
- Chatbots provide an instant response, but live chat agents are still faster than your current methods of customer support.
- Live chat representatives are less expensive than phone calls from customers, but chatbots offer better value in the long run.
- Chatbots are available 24/7, which will not be the case for human chat facilities. However, chatbots do not add a human touch to the conversation.
- Chatbots bots can resolve the majority of customer enquiries. Both live chat agents and chatbots increase the chances of getting customers to convert.
About the author
Tracey Patterson is the Australian Market Manager of Book Me Bob AI Chatbot. With over 35 years of tourism and hospitality industry experience, Tracey has learnt a trick or two along the way! Tracey is a geek – she loves anything tech-related. She is a whizz on RMS and is known for making well-known PMS work for you.