Webchat vs Conversational Messaging

Both webchat and conversational messaging are two important channels offering real-time conversations. Traditionally, webchat was seen as the lesser of the two as it tended to be more rigid in its conversational flow. However, more sophisticated webchat systems can now have all the conversational AI power that a chatbot in a messaging app offers.
To get started, let’s look at the definitions of both.

What is Online Webchat?

Webchat is a widget that is on a website that lets customers interact with your business by simply texting them online to make queries, look for support or provide feedback. 

Live Chat or Webchat?

If an agent is responding, then it is traditionally called 'live chat' and if it's managed by a chatbot, then it is refered to as 'webchat'. However, these terms are often used interchanegeably, especially when an AI chatbot is used that is powered by conversational AI.
Without the conversational AI chatbot feature, a live chat widget works much like a call to an agent, and getting your query resolved quickly depends upon the inbound call volumes and the agent resources available. But since AI chatbots can now be used, such as in Webio's webchat, waiting on-hold is no longer an issue as the bot handles the query (unless it is complex, in which case, an agent will take over).


Conversational Messaging Explained

Conversational messaging is the back-and-forth engagement between agents and customers over any messaging channel i.e. SMS, WhatsApp, Viber, Messenger, etc. using AI, APIs and Machine Learning. It can be personalised, interactive and automated, using chatbots or other AI tools to provide quick and efficient support to customers.
Being asynchronous, conversations take place in real-time and can extend over long periods of time.  This functionality removes any need for the customer to repeat the information allowing for a better customer engagement experience. In essence, conversation threads are fully intact throughout the whole engagement. With conversational technology, automated chatbots can handle different parts of the conversation, the whole conversation or transfer over to live agents when needed.  


Which is Better, Webchat or Conversational Messaging?

Webchat and messaging are both common channels for businesses to use, and both need to be part of the channel mix. They can complement each other beautifully, with conversations that start in webchat being moved into other messaging channels with ease (provided you have a conversational engagement platform like Webio).

In reality, conversational messaging is more feature-rich than regular webchat as delivered by many providers, but most of the functionalities of Webio conversational messaging are also available with Webio's webchat.

Customers love the instant accessibility of webchat and it gives them easy inbound access to a company.  

One point to highlight is the operational efficiencies that conversational messaging delivers.  We have seen some amazing results from our clients with 70% response rates on proactive outreach, 90% reduction in Agent Handling Times (AHT), and a 52% uplift in payment arrangements. The argument is compelling. 

A clear difference is that webchat is inbound only, whereas conversational messaging can provide both inbound and outbound communication.

In the end, both channels offer real-time communication that allows for swift customer suppor, which can lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty. Both can also be used to gather customer data, track customer interactions, and analyse customer behavior, which can help businesses to improve their products and services.

Ultimately, the choice between webchat and conversational messaging will depend on the specific needs and goals of the business. While webchat can sometimes be more structured, conversational messaging is more informal, allowing businesses to tailor their communication strategy to best suit their audience.

But remember, it does not have to be a choice between one or the other but rather offering the best of both channels to customers.

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