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Do you prefer chatbots over humans?

You have probably already tried it; You are at a website where you want to clarify a few things before moving on in your buying process. A lot of people in this situation would prefer to ask their questions through chat rather than e-mail or a phone call. 45% of all people prefer to communicate with businesses through chat. So, if the website has a chat, nearly half of all people would use this contact method. However, all of those would be disappointed, if their chat partner turns out to be a bot. Only 0,5% of all people would prefer to chat with a bot rather than a real human being. What would you prefer?

We will take a look at what separates the two types of chats, give you some insights about how people communicate in live chats, and give you an advice that may lead to +300% chat dialogues. Let's get started!

Live chat vs chatbot

Being able to chat with businesses has become a natural part of websites as an opportunity to interact with potential customers in real time. There are two main types of chat - live chats and chatbots. The big difference is that live chats are manned by real human beings. Chatbots on the other hand is a programmed machine which has been fed with huge amount of data. This enables the machine to answer questions that the machine already know the answer to. In the chat world there has always been great debate about the two types of chats and which one is better. On a daily basis we hear both pros and cons for bots and livechats. At Weply we believe that live chats are the best solution for most businesses that are not e-commerce.

As mentioned before only 0,5% of people actually prefer chatbots over live chats. The majority would like their chat partner to be a real human being. The survey also show that over +50% of all the respondents have had bad experiences with chatbots. We believe that so many prefer live chats because of human's ability to feel and show empathy and understand an individual context. In a buying process, customers want to feel listened to which only human chat partners can. Besides the human aspect there are other areas where chat bots are still not developed enough to compete with chats manned by real people.

First and foremost, it is a huge disadvantage that bots only can answer exactly those questions that it is programmed to know the answer to. If a question in any way differs from the known questions, the customer will not get a relevant answer. A simple typo in a question will even do the job. The level of customer service is also a factor that play an important role when comparing bots with real humans. Here, real humans outmatch bots. At Weply we often experience that customers are pleasantly surprised when they realize their chat partner is actually a real human being. We believe that the reason for this excitement is that the customers then know they will be taken good care of and be understood probably. In some buying situations customers want to trust the company before ordering the product or booking the service. Building trust is something that is difficult for a chatbot, as its main focus is to answer simple questions quickly.

The nature of live chat conversations

How do people usually communicate in live chats? Looking at our chat data, which is more than 10 million chat interactions, we have found some interesting trends. It is interesting to see that in 4% of live chats, the customer asks if they are chatting to a real human being. This tells us that there are different expectations for the level of customer service depending on whether you are communicating with a bot or a human being. As mentioned earlier on, our chat consultants often experience great enthusiasm when customers realize that they are chatting with a real person.

The way people communicate in a live chat are typically short and to the point.The average Weply chat is 8 minutes and 40 seconds. People will generally go straight to the point and communicate fast which of course makes the chat consultant's job easier. However, it is also demanding because the customer will expect the same in return. Another interesting insight from the results is that most people would like to stay anonymous until they are sure that the specific company can help them with their needs. Blocking a chat with an information wall is risky as it may scare off many potential customers as they are still not sure whether you are the right fit or not. Some of our customers has experienced an increase of 300% dialogues just because they removed the information wall in their chat.

When we compare the nature of live chat conversations with chatbots' we see many differences. An analysis from Computers in Human Behavior show that conversations in chatbots are generally longer. A conversation in a chatbot typically consist of much shorter and simple questions and the diversity of words being used are minimal. The results also show that there are a lot more swearwords in chatbots. This is no surprise when taking into consideration that half of all respondents have had a bad experience with bots.


Humans want to interact with humans. A survey regarding digital communication convincingly showed that live chat is the most preferred chat solution. Therefore it is also the best solution for businesses that want to interact with customers online. Chatbots can easily frustrate and annoy customers due to their lack of empathy and ability to understand the context. Over time, chatbots may develop to such an extent that we no longer will be able to feel the difference. As it is for now, the majority of consumers would prefer to avoid them as they cause more frustration than they are being helpful. Frustration is not something that any business would like their potential customers to feel. Therefore, the best solution is to let real people handle their customer inquiries in order to convert as many website visitors as possible.