Chatbots vs. Live Chat: Finding the Sweet Spot Between Human and Artificial Intelligence

Hello. How can I help you today?

Chat has become a familiar feature on websites, and for good reason. Having a guide who can lead visitors to the information they’re seeking is a smart way to improve their digital experience.

But do you need a team of human operators standing by, or can a chatbot powered by artificial intelligence (AI) tackle the job? Who wins in the battle of the bots?

In One Corner, We Have Live Chat

Living, breathing humans have a lot going for them. They’re good at understanding the nuances of a user’s question, even if it’s phrased in an unusual way. There’s also something reassuring about talking to another person. Healthcare questions can be sensitive, and sometimes users need the assurance of a human voice to address their concerns.

Of course, live chat requires human resources – and there are obvious limitations to human resources. People expect prompt answers to their healthcare questions, and websites don’t just operate from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. It can be costly to hire enough customer service staffers to engage in live chat 24 hours a day.

And in the Other Corner: Artificial Intelligence

Let’s be honest. Even the smartest chatbot can’t answer every question a user has. But a well-programmed AI can answer a lot of questions and do it well.

How do I sign into my electronic records? Where do I go to reset my password? Who are the cardiologists in my area? Can I schedule an appointment? When users land on the website of a hospital or health system, it can be confusing to find the page they need to answer their question. AI is great at answering the more straightforward questions that could take up a lot of time for a human operator.

Digital Experience for Tech-Savy Consumers

As you’re probably realizing, pitting artificial intelligence against human intellect kind of misses the point. In reality, a combination of AI and live chat is the sweet spot for a patient’s digital experience.

In a best-case scenario, live agents are on hand to take over only when AI isn’t up to the job. And there’s another benefit to integrating live chat with chatbots: Chatbots are capable of improving over time as they learn from the questions that users ask. By extracting data from live conversations, the AI systems are being trained to handle more complicated queries without human help.

Plenty of people are still skeptical that a machine can meet their patients’ needs. In reality, today’s digital consumers are both savvy and forgiving. More and more people are using Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa to answer questions and handle basic tasks. Those digital assistants don’t always get it right, but people are surprisingly accepting of their missteps.

Users don’t expect technology to be perfect 100 percent of the time. But they do expect (and deserve) accurate, sensitive and timely answers to their healthcare concerns. Loyal’s HIPAA-compliant chat can help fill that need.

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