Chatbots vs live chat: Which is better for your business?

Both chatbots and live chats have their own strengths. But, what do you need to put in place in your business? TL;DR – In chatbots vs live chat, it depends on the various needs of the businesses. Read along to know more.

6 MIN READ | September 8, 2021

The process of digitization has effectively erased the 9to5 timeframe for businesses. With customers expecting to talk with customer support instantly, it poses a challenge: How to suffice them? Utilizing chatbots can solve this issue, and it has its own advantages. In fact, studies show that over 74% of customers preferred chatbots among other services ( 61% to email, 48% to social media, and 44% to phone calls). Chatbots also saw the highest growth among other communication channels, and by 2022, 75-90% of queries are expected to be handled by chatbots. But chatbots can be managed by humans or automated to work without Intervention. How can a business know which to use? For that, here is the basic difference between chatbots vs live chat.

Difference between live chat vs chatbots

Live ChatChatbot
Live Chat can be used to resolve
complex queries.
Chatbots can be used to collect
data, engage with the customers,
nurture leads, and answer Frequently
Asked Queries (FAQs).
Live chats are on the other end
resolve customer queries with
real human interactions.
Chatbots use various methodologies
like Rule-Based, ML,  AI, etc.,
to mimic human interactions to
solve queries.
Human representatives can understand
and process the emotions of the
customers, providing adequate
support necessary.
Chatbots often can not replicate an
emotional connection with the
Human representatives can be used to
resolve any type of query -
from simple to complex; making
them exhausted after a
session of repetitive tasks.
Chatbots never complain about any
amount of workload and can be used
to automate mundane, repetitive,
and routine tasks.
A Human representative cannot
efficiently handle more than
three to four chats at a time.
Chatbots can handle any number of
customer interactions at
the same time.
Human representatives need to be
operated in shifts to keep the
process efficient, thus
increasing cost.
As chatbots are automated, they can
work 24*7  without any breaks for
exhaustion and at no extra costs.

How to choose between chatbots vs live chat?

Based on the requirements, there are various scenarios where a business can be forced to choose between one or the other.

  • Instantaneous responsiveness
  • Personalized responses
  • Round the clock support
  • Productivity
  • Deployment time
  • Handling Issues
  • Cost

Instantaneous responsiveness - Live Chats​

A perk of automation, chatbots can be made to respond to enormous customer queries at the same time immediately. This removes the wait time for the customers. To do the same, live chats might need to use more human agents. Thus, for instantaneous responses, chatbots are better to use than live chats.

Personalized responses - Tie

Personalizing a response makes a customer feel more intimate thereby creating loyalty towards the business. we can program chatbots to give personalized responses over time with the help of previous interactions. Live Chat Agents can do the same too as they can address the customers in real-time. So, though chatbots can not reach the personalization level of humans, they are catching up real fast.

Round the clock support - Chatbots

Operating 24×7 for every single day of the year is in the nature of automated chatbots. Thanks to automation, they can work fast and precisely without fatigue. To do the same, live agents need to work in shifts to keep up with the tasks. Thus, chatbots provide better 24×7 Support.

Chatbot working without rest

Productivity - Chatbots

Automating a chatbot allows a business to process any number of customer queries at a time thereby increasing productivity and as a result  this improves customer engagement. Chatbots can also continue the conversation dropped before effortlessly.

To do the same task in live chats, businesses need to employ more human agents  To continue the conversation made by a previous agent, the new agent needs to read through the transcripts. This results in wasting time and efficiency. Thus, the automation of chatbots makes it the productivity champion.

Deployment time - Tie

Creating a chatbot can be done in two different methods.

  1. With Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) algorithms to train a chatbot. This will take enormous time. But, doing this makes it longer to deploy the chatbot.
  2. With a Rule-Based chatbot. any business owner can create a rule-based chatbot in minutes. Joonbot is a good example of rule-based chatbots where one can create a chatbot in minutes. These chatbots can perform various tasks and are sufficient for more than 80% of any businesses’ needs.

On the other hand, businesses need to deploy, train and maintain various human agents for live chat. This can take less or more time depending on the businesses’ needs.

So, when it comes to deployment time, both live chat and chatbots have their own pros and cons.

Handling issues - Live Chats

Chatbots are handling nearly 85% of business queries  without human interactions in 2021. But chatbots cannot resolve every customer query. Chatbots can be used in collecting data, engaging with customers, and nurturing leads. They can also be used to create quizzes, form data, and answer Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

Chatbots with Artificial Intelligence can perform more complex customer service requests too. Yet, the human interactions and emotions of the customers can be handled by live agents effectively, resulting in more success at customer queries being resolved.

Thus, live chats handle complex customer issues more efficiently compared to chatbots.

chatbots and live chat agents comparison

Cost - Chatbots

Let’s address the Elephant in the room – The cost of customer support. Both chatbots and live chats aren’t free and they both cost differently.

Chatbots have an upfront development fee – A relatively low cost option is a Rule-Based chatbot, which require minimal maintenance over their lifetime too. To create an Artificial Intelligence-based chatbot, the cost to create and train the model is way higher and they require constant upgrading during their lifetime too. But, in general, chatbot costs are nominal.

Compare that with human agents for live chat – businesses need to employ more humans for handling enormous chats. This only increases as the volume of customer queries increase. And also live agents need to be worked in schedules, renting an office space, catering to them and many other indirect costs adds up too. This makes the cost for the live chats to blow up considerably over time.

The involvement of human agents makes the live chat feature costlier compared to chatbots. Thus, chatbots are a cost-friendly option, and if your business is on a budget Rule-Based is the way to go.


To answer the question asked at the beginning of the post, “What do you need to implement in your business?” – It can be a chatbot if your needs can be satisfied with them or live chats if you have the money to afford it or a combination of both if that satisfies your needs. At the end of the day, chatbots and live chats both serve a similar purpose albeit in various capacities.

   Vignesh Ram
   Marketing Assistant, Joonbot.

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