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Live Chat, Chatbots & IMs: Survival of the fittest!

Posted by: Gautam Duseja On June 19, 2017 02:39 PM facebook linked in twitter

Live chat is dying, at least in its present form. And the exponential increase in usage of instant messengers and in-built messenger systems on social networks has arguably been the metaphorical final nail in the coffin for an already dated technology. This has led many of our clients to either abandon Live chat altogether or look to augment current Live chat technologies with technologies such as chatbots and integrated customer management layers.

Live chat as an industry has been declining and ranks low in overall usage statistics. While there were a few acquisitions by large enterprise software houses around 2009-12, with some more acquisitions recently like Zopim and Touchcommerce (ATG and Rightnow by Oracle 2009, Activa Live by Salesforce 2010, Zopim by Zendesk 2014, Touchcommerce Nuance 2016), the overall industry is valued at around $750m by some industry commenters (Klimczak).

The main issue with standalone chat has been the fact that it is on a channel (web) used decreasingly as the first touch point for brand engagement. This is owing to the increase in the use of messenger apps such as Telegram, WhatsApp, Line, WeChats, and integrated DMs on Twitter and FB Messenger in mobile first economies.

In addition, the legacy of standalone chat is quite well known, in terms of design (a throwback to sessions in chat rooms), availability of people who respond when people are on the website (No one to talk right now), and it operates in a silo as compared to voice/email and offers no context (What was my last chat?!, and what did I ask the guy ten minutes ago?)

A year and a half ago, we received an enquiry from a very large B2C customer of ours about the possibility of doing away with their chat solution and move everything to FBM , we were taken aback. But when we sat and designed the process, we found that it made a lot of sense. The benefits that we discovered include:

  • Savings in license cost of the chatbot
  • Better UX than any chat provider: A platform that was designed with chat in mind
  • Integration into social CRM
  • It retains context as the person who is using it will do so on the IM or the SNS messenger of their choice
  • And all new channels based on geo (line WeChat in SEA, FBM worldwide), could integrate into one single social management layer

Since then, we do bring up the evolution of chat and the benefits of moving to a completely “social” messenger approach when we talk to our enterprise Customer Experience (CX) colleagues.

While many of our clients do consider wanting to move away, many clients bound by the fact that chat has been used in enterprise B2C contexts since the start of customer service online, are reluctant to do so. They instead work with chat providers that provide great UIs, and integrated customer interaction management layers that also integrate seamlessly with chatbots.

Personally though, I feel that “social” messengers will sound the death knell for live chat, the way messaging apps got rid of voicemail.

P.S. I know “chatting” on IMs or SNS’s are also chat!

Do let us know your views – have you moved away from live chat, never had it, cannot do without it, are refreshing it?

You can do so either in the comment sections or via a tweet/FB or LinkedIn comment.

Disclaimer: the author is from a marketing background and works with customer process design teams for “omni-channel” customer responses.

About Author

Gautam Duseja, Platform Marketing

Gautam is marketing professional with experience in formulating digital initiatives for platform. He is an MBA in Marketing from University of Pune and has worked in areas of web usability and customer journey mapping, SEO/SEM. Gautam loves working out & reading technology blogs to utilise his leisure time.

Follow him @GautamDuseja

Tags: In The Future, Connected Platforms & Solution
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