Chatbots vs. Human Customer Support

When you should consider employing a chatbot and when robotic automation can become detrimental.

Chatbots vs. Human customer support. Guide by Umnico

In today's digital age, businesses are constantly seeking innovative ways to enhance their customer support services. With the rise of technology, chatbots have emerged as a popular alternative to human customer support. These intelligent virtual assistants are designed to interact with customers and provide instant responses, promising efficiency and cost-effectiveness. However, the question remains: are chatbots truly more effective than human customer support?

In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of each option and help you determine which approach is best suited for your business. Join us as we delve into this debate and uncover the most effective solution for your business's customer support needs.

Table of content

Chatbots: advantages and disadvantages over humans

A chatbot is a computer program designed to simulate conversation with humans. Chatbots use artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) to understand and respond to user requests, typically through text-based communication. They can be programmed to perform a wide range of tasks, such as answering questions, providing customer support, scheduling appointments, and even placing orders.

Chatbots are increasingly being used by businesses to improve customer service, streamline communication, and automate routine tasks. They have gained popularity due to their ability to provide quick responses and handle a large number of customer queries simultaneously. Here are some advantages of using chatbots for customer support:

24/7 Availability

Chatbots can be programmed to operate around the clock, ensuring that customers can receive assistance at any time of day or night. This eliminates the need to hire and manage a large team of customer support representatives, reducing costs for businesses.

Short response time

Chatbots are capable of analyzing and understanding customer queries instantly, allowing them to provide prompt responses. This helps improve customer satisfaction by reducing wait time and resolving issues in a timely manner.


Implementing chatbots can significantly reduce labor costs associated with hiring and training customer support representatives. While there may be upfront costs involved in developing and integrating chatbot technology, the long-term savings can be substantial.

However, chatbots also have their limitations. Here are some disadvantages to consider:

Lack of human touch

Chatbots are programmed to follow predefined scripts and algorithms, which means they may not possess the empathy and emotional intelligence that human customer support representatives can offer. Some customers may prefer interacting with a real person who can understand their unique needs and provide personalized assistance.

Complexity of queries

Although chatbots have advanced natural language processing capabilities, they may struggle with complex or ambiguous queries. In such cases, customers may become frustrated with the automated responses and may require human intervention to resolve their issues effectively.

Initial setup and maintenance

Developing and implementing chatbot technology requires expertise and resources. Businesses need to invest time and effort into training the chatbot and ensuring its accuracy and relevance. Additionally, regular maintenance and updates are necessary to keep the chatbot functioning optimally.

Human customer support: benefits and drawbacks

While chatbots offer several benefits, human customer support brings a personal touch and empathy that is difficult to replicate. Here are some advantages of using human customer support:

Personalized interaction

Human customer support representatives can establish a rapport with customers, providing a personalized experience. They can understand the nuances of each customer's query and offer tailored solutions, ensuring higher customer satisfaction.

Empathy and emotional intelligence

Humans possess emotional intelligence, allowing them to empathize with customers and provide emotional support when necessary. This can be particularly important in situations where customers are frustrated, angry, or experiencing complex issues.

Complex query handling

Human customer support representatives excel in handling complex queries that may require critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making skills. They can adapt to unique situations and provide creative solutions that go beyond automated responses.

However, human customer support also has its drawbacks. Here are some disadvantages to consider:

Limited availability

Unlike chatbots, human customer support representatives can only work during specific hours. This may result in longer response times and limited availability, especially for businesses that operate in different time zones or have a global customer base.

Higher costs

Hiring and training a team of customer support representatives can be costly, especially for small businesses with limited resources. The ongoing expenses associated with salaries, benefits, and training can add up quickly.

Human error

Despite their expertise, human customer support representatives are prone to making mistakes. This can lead to inconsistencies in service quality and may require additional resources to rectify errors and ensure customer satisfaction.

Chatbots vs Humans

Custom solution offeringFast response timeMaintain consistencyProvide scalability of any natureNo errors in scripted responsesEmotional intelligenceEmpathy showingComplex queries handling100% understanding the contextRegional dialects grasping

Factors to consider when choosing between chatbots and human agents

Chatbot vs. human: What to consider

When deciding between chatbots and human agents for customer support, several factors should be taken into account. These factors can vary depending on the nature of your business, target audience, and customer support requirements. Here are some key considerations:

Customer expectations

Understanding your customers' preferences and expectations is crucial. Some customers may prefer the convenience and speed of chatbots, while others may value the human touch. Consider conducting customer surveys or analyzing customer feedback to gain insights into their preferences.

Complexity of queries

Evaluate the complexity of the queries your customers typically have. If your business deals with intricate technical issues or requires specialized knowledge, human customer support may be more suitable. However, if the majority of customer queries are simple and repetitive, chatbots can handle them effectively.

Cost-benefit analysis

Compare the costs associated with implementing chatbots versus hiring and managing a team of customer support representatives. Consider the long-term savings, scalability, and return on investment offered by each option.

Scalability and growth potential

Assess the scalability of your customer support operations. If your business is experiencing rapid growth or has a high volume of customer queries, chatbots can offer scalability and handle a large number of queries simultaneously. Human customer support may struggle to keep up with increasing demand.

Integration with existing systems

Consider how chatbots or human customer support can integrate with your existing systems and processes. Seamless integration can enhance efficiency and provide a better overall customer experience.

Test how a chat bot can fit your business by building a powerful chatbot with Umnico and enhancing your customer communication. Setting up a bot is an easy process since it's code-less and hassle-free. Moreover, Umnico offers a set of free tools, such as live chat and social CRM that can further enhance the quality of your customer service. For instance, you can integrate the bot with a chat widget, enabling hybrid responses and lead generation.

Industry use cases of chatbots

Let’s discover several important areas of business where chatbots can be leveraged effectively and come up with significant returns.

Chatbots in e-commerce

Brands are beginning to recognize that email marketing pales in comparison to the engagement levels of instant messaging notifications and chatbots. Rather than relying on chatbots solely for customer support, they can also play a crucial role in the marketing funnel by notifying users when their shipment has been posted or delivered, or by collecting user feedback on the shop. This approach feels more personalized than a standard form email and can lead to upselling opportunities, which can directly contribute to the bottom line and fit into the marketing funnel.

Chatbot in software development

Although boosting sales with automation is the primary objective for nearly every organization, depending on the long-term value of a customer, some strategies may turn out to be impractical. Software companies, especially the Software as a Service (SaaS) segment, tend to have a lower customer lifetime value and require less customization. Therefore, implementing a chatbot can serve as an effective tool for engaging leads and delivering huge results for the business.

Bots in online education

Educational chatbots revolutionize student engagement, simplify learning, and offer diverse activities. They provide personalized attention, monitor study patterns, and assist students in excelling in their fields. Chatbots ensure uninterrupted learning, offer instant clarification, and deliver prompt solutions. They also act as teachers' assistants, relieving their workload. Furthermore, chatbots enable institutions to gather valuable feedback from stakeholders, aiding improvement in all aspects of education.

Chatbots in healthcare

Healthcare chatbots are getting increasingly popular for setting up efficient communication between medical facilities and patients. Chatbots streamline the process of scheduling appointments. By assessing symptoms through patient questions, they also can provide first-line advice and determine what healthcare practitioner to consult.

Moreover, healthcare chatbots provide 24/7 mental health assistance, particularly vital for individuals in remote areas with limited mental health resources or facing crises during unconventional hours when human assistance may be unavailable. Additionally, chatbots play a role in medication management by reminding patients to refill prescriptions and addressing any challenges they may encounter, ensuring timely care delivery.

Chatbots in marketing

Lead generation is an essential aspect of marketing, and it is no surprise that it is one of the most popular chatbot use cases overall. It is often the first item on the list when discussing marketing strategies. Moreover, it is likely to remain one of the leading bot applications for the foreseeable future.

However, for many businesses, generating leads is not sufficient. To streamline their customer acquisition process, they need to evaluate lead quality and the likelihood of conversion automatically. A well-designed chatbot can assess the potential client's interest and stage in the customer journey, allowing businesses to focus on leads with a higher likelihood of conversion.

Best practices for implementing chatbots and human customer support

Implementing chatbots and human customer support requires careful planning and execution. Here are some practices to consider:

Clear communication channels

Clearly communicate to customers the availability of chatbots and human customer support. Provide easy access to both options, allowing customers to choose their preferred method of communication.

Seamless handoff

Use chatbots to handle initial customer interactions and provide instant responses for simple queries. This allows customers to receive immediate assistance, especially during peak hours or when human representatives are unavailable.

If a customer query requires human intervention after initial interaction with a chatbot, ensure a smooth handoff between the two. This can be achieved through well-defined escalation processes and effective integration between chatbot and human support systems.

Continuous training and improvement

Regularly train and update chatbots and human customer support representatives. This ensures that they stay up to date with the latest information, technology, and customer service best practices.

Encourage collaboration and knowledge sharing between chatbots and human customer support representatives. By updating the chatbot's knowledge base with insights and solutions provided by human representatives, you can make the automated responses more accurate and effective.

Analytics and feedback

Leverage analytics and customer feedback to continuously improve the effectiveness of both chatbots and human customer support. Monitor response times, customer satisfaction ratings, and query resolution rates to identify areas for improvement.


Choosing between chatbots and human customer support is a decision that should be based on careful consideration of your business's unique needs and customer expectations. While chatbots offer 24/7 availability and quick response times, human customer support brings a personal touch and empathy that cannot be replicated by machines. By integrating chatbots and human customer support, businesses can create a seamless customer experience that combines efficiency and personalized assistance. Remember to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of each option, consider the specific factors relevant to your business, and leverage the available tools, training, and resources to optimize your customer support strategy.

You can start discovering and taking advantage of chatbots with no strangles right away by developing your own bot in the intuitive drag-and-drop constructor in Umnico — an omnichannel communication platform that combines over 25 messengers and social media in one window. Sign up now for free and build a chatbot that meets your requirements in less than an hour.

You can start discovering and taking advantage of chatbots with no strangles right away by developing your own bot in the intuitive drag-and-drop constructor in Umnico — an omnichannel communication platform that combines over 25 messengers and social media in one window. Sign up now for free and build a chatbot that meets your requirements in less than an hour.

blogpost author

Andrey Palagin

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