Enabling businesses to provide the right set of information, WebChat came into being. Not only this, but it also allows you to have conversations conveniently with your customers while they’re on your website which, in turn, aids in rendering a better service to potential customers and driving more business.
“Live chat has the highest satisfaction levels for any customer service channel, with 73%, compared with 61% for email and 44% for the phone.”
[Note: In this article, we are exploring various types of WebChat for your hotel website along with their pros and cons. We then focus on the Hybrid WebChat (an amalgamation of both the Live Chat and AI-driven chatbots) which is perfect for hotels, as it comes with the advantages like automation, rendering a human touch and providing convenience to both the staff and customers.]
What is a WebChat?
WebChat is a text-based chat that facilitates communication between two parties on the website by answering questions or queries from the customers and helps drive more bookings by engaging in friendly interaction with potential customers. Undeniably, it is a tool of convenience for both the business and its customers.
79% of consumers say they prefer live chat functions because they don’t have to wait on hold and get their questions answered immediately.
Types of WebChat For Your Hotel Website
Based on their requirements, there can be different types of WebChat for your hotel website. For the sake of this discussion, we have classified the WebChat into three categories to elucidate the important of these types of WebChat for your hotel website with their own pros and cons:
• Classic or Human-Based Live Chats
• Hybrid WebChat
1. Classic or Human-Based Live Chats
One of the three types of WebChat for your hotel website, a live chat allows the visitors to address their queries to a live agent assigned by the hotel or business who will be there to respond to the customers’ queries.
However, this type has its own pros and cons:
1. Adding a human factor to your live chat can be helpful (if not really ideal), elevating the visitor’s trust that their questions would at least be answered by someone in flesh and blood and not by some impersonal chatbot. This humane element surely works wonder.
2. You, as an agent, can invite as many agents as you want in order to keep the chat going or if you are unable to solve a particular problem that the customer is facing.
3. Again, a single agent can respond to so many queries at the same time if the solutions are scalable. Thus, there is the possibility of an agent multi-tasking here in solving issues and helping the guests retrieve as much information as possible from this source.
4. Conversations can happen fluidly in real-time.
5. You can convert a Live Chat into a normal conversation which can be carried on through an email or text message.
6. The human agent responding here can do so consensually by sensing the emotions of the human (the visitor) on the other side.
7. Human agents can solve the complex queries by looking into technical terminologies.
1. Although this is out and out humane, one of the biggest challenges in implementing this kind of chat is that it increases or heightens the customer’s expectations. For instance, if a visitor coming to your site sees that they can chat with a human agent right away and if the agent isn’t really available, it will build up the expectations of the customer who can’t really wait to get an instant reply and the chances are that unable to get a reply from your end, they will be disappointed and will instantly leave the chat which might just decrease your chances of turning a visitor into a customer. In short, unattended messages will leave the users frustrated and will hamper customer experience.
2. Again, the “agent availability hours” can come across as a sort of limitation here as this chat is classic in nature with a beginning and an end. Again, if the visitor idles for too long or goes offline, the chat will end and no further messages can be posted in that particular live-chat session.
3. Not suitable if the queries are common, simple, generic, repetitive and even monogamous.
4. Live agents cannot be online 24/7. So it is here that the guests’ expectations to have immediate help can be frustrated, in case if the agents are not available or fail to respond.
5. In a live chat, there surely is a potential to multi-task, However, when compared to the bots, their capacity to handle the number of queries will still be limited.
6. If the live chats cannot track customer information, they will fail to provide a personalized experience.
7. Costly as it will require a lot of agents to serve the purpose.
“A chatbot is a computer program powered by AI that allows you to interact with the customers via a chat interface.” In fact, they made their advent into the world of Live Chats as a remarkable improvement over the human agents and to breach the limitations of the Classic human-based Chat.It surely is of great significance as one of the types of WebChat for your hotel website.
1. They can breach the limitations of a human agent.
2. Since it is automated, there is no expectation factor coming into play because they will be responding to the visitors right away.
3. There are certain fixed questions or queries which can be answered by a chatbot. For instance, if somebody wants to know about the breakfast timings for a particular property, they can very well click on the ‘breakfast’ category and see a set of answers under that category like breakfast timings, type, food/drinks offered, etc.
4. Chatbots are swift when compared to a human-based or live chat. They can respond to the conversation anywhere, anytime.
5. If the bots are AI-driven or well-trained, they will be intelligent enough to solve even complex queries or can converse very well when trained in the native language just as a live agent. In short, they can provide multilingual benefits too.
6.Provided with the AI mechanism, they can handle any number of chats.
7. They are ubiquitous and most suitable if the queries are repetitive, monotonous, and generic
8. Has the ability to pair conversational data with the user’s details which help in customizing the experience.
9. They do not require any human supervision or intervention and can operate very well without that. 80% of customer’s queries have been resolved by chatbots without human supervision, according to a study by this source.
10. It has a unified interface allowing both the users and bot to chat in the same place which qualifies as the ease of use.
11. Cost-effective and cheaper to install
Although advanced and deemed as a bit of marked improvement over the human agents, chatbots have their own limitations:
1. They can’t really answer beyond what they have been taught to say (if not trained adequately).
2. They are impersonal and just a machine that does not really have the ability to sense emotions. It can annoy a customer since the human touch is missing.
3. Since most of the bots are command-driven, they might not be able to solve complex queries, unlike the human agents.
4. Might be sensitive to spellings and might not be able to interpret some of your queries due to the sensitive spell-case. But AI-powered chatbots are certainly a marked improvement.
There is no denying the fact that both the live chats and chatbots have their own pros and cons. But a perfect fusion of the two will definitely work wonders and will be the most efficient in running a hotel business by responding to the customer queries. Thus the preference for a hybrid chat is growing nowadays allowing the hotels to reap the benefits of both the types.
For instance, there will be set categories in the WebChat interface like “Breakfast,” “Wi-Fi,” “Shuttle,” “Miscellaneous,” which will try to incorporate as many expected or frequently asked questions as possible. This will allow visitors to get most of their answers. If the question is monogamous or generic, the chatbot will instantly reply to that. On the flip side, if a customer poses a question that isn’t there in the specific set and is something that calls for human intervention, the human agent will come into the picture and help to carry on a seamless conversation.
Benefits of Using a Hybrid WebChat For Your Hotel Website
1. Expedites the response process: It is a valuable form of integration that allows reaping the benefits of both the types and expedites the process by allowing a hotel to respond to multiple or concurrent chats faster.
2. Divides the workload: Since the bots can provide round the clock support and can handle thousands of chats at the same time, it allows human agents the time to focus on more difficult cases.
3. Ensures perfect co-ordination: Just as the bots can transfer their chats to human agents, human agents can do the same. Thus there is perfect co-ordination and allows the bot to take the seat as one of your agents.
4. Helps to train the chatbots like humans: Just like your human agent, the chatbot can be trained to send transcripts of the conversation directly to the client.
5. Getting more sales: With WebChat, you have the potential of moving so many customers down the sales funnel quickly provided it’s implemented properly.
6. Helps establish a connection with the guests: Since your Website is the first point of contact that the visitor will have with you, it’s important to not leave it as an empty and unwelcoming space just as you will have a representative at the hotel lobby waiting to welcome the guests during check-in. Adding a WebChat feature to your website will serve the purpose well. In a way, it will open up the door for the guests to establish a connection with you.
7. Lets customers know about the special services: It allows the customers to know more about you before booking their experience with you. Whether it’s inquiring about the specials/packages, trailer parking or shuttle service, your customers can get the most of it through a conversation on WebChat. For instance, if there is a customer looking for a room suitable for accommodating 5 people, you can very well recommend the option of a family suite for them.
8. Does not take much of the visitors’ time and helps keep the communication at a minimum: It solves the customers’ queries without them really resorting to texting or emailing you again and again for inquiring about a particular thing. It either replies instantly or lends the assurance of getting back and quite remarkably, does so, thereby saving much of their time in the process.
9. Answers efficiently and sensibly to all your queries: Again, specific or tailored questions that are not present on the website can be easily answered through a web text. Imagine, a guest looking for a well-insulated room for a good night’s sleep can always resort to WebChat in order to know the “noise-level” which might not always be a parameter mentioned on the website. Again, a guest who is not really interested in the view and all and is simply looking to book with you for a night and wants to know about the breakfast timings as they have an early morning flight to catch can always get in touch with you through a live chat on your hotel website.
10. Helps to customize and enhance the guest experience: Since you are able to know what the customers are expecting from you beforehand, hybrid chats can help to a great extent in not just enhancing but also in customizing the guest experience. Thus in the customer mapping journey based on the various touchpoints (pre-booking, pre-arrival, on-arrival, mid-stay, check-out and post-check-out), WebChat surely plays a pivotal role.
11. Cost-effective: With a perfect amalgamation of human and technology, hybrid chat can provide instant real-time support at a considerably lower cost.
12. Lends a human touch: It humanizes your brand.
13. Provides convenience to your clients: Perhaps, one of the biggest advantages of using a Hybrid WebChat is that it powers convenient interactions by meeting your leads on their preferred mode of communication-texting.
14. Saves the time that goes into fishing for contact information: You will start out with a name and a real phone number, so you can immediately focus on closing the deal instead of hunting for the visitor’s contact details.
15. Allows the leisure of chatting limitlessly: Since both you and your customers are not tied to a live chat, you can still keep the conversation going even after the lead or visitor has walked away from the computer.
16. Provides FAQS: It also offers FAQs in real-time.
Thus, a Hybrid WebChat as one of the various types of WebChat for your hotel website, is indeed a game-changer designed to convert website visitors into customers. It helps to engage with the guests through friendly interactions and also aids in driving more bookings.Again, it also helps in enhancing the experience of the customers even before they have booked with you by leading them to trust you with the fact that they can always fall back on you when they have specific requirements.