Live chat, automated chat, chatbots — is there a difference? What is natural language processing and how does it work? What is HIPAA compliant live chat and does my business need it?
These are just a few questions that web chat newbies might have. Let's de-buzz some of the most popular buzzwords in the web chat industry.
Different types of web chat
Live chat, automated chat, hybrid chat — some might think these terms are interchangeable. And while they're all forms of web chat, they are very different. Let's take a look.
Live chat is a messaging session between two humans with no automation involved. Live chat usually takes place on a company website between a site visitor and a customer service agent.
Pros of using live chat:
- Adds a human element to your conversations
- Lets your customers reach your business using their preferred platform
Cons of using live chat:
- Customer wait times may be longer
- Businesses need staff standing by 24/7 to answer messages
Automated chat uses a chatbot to answer messages instantly. Fully automated chat operates without any human intervention.
The functionality of chatbots varies. Some use natural language processing (another buzzword we'll discuss later) to provide accurate responses. Some of the most advanced chatbots use machine learning to teach themselves new responses based on incoming messages.
Pros of using automated chat:
- Automatically qualifies leads
- Replies instantly to every message
- Works 24/7
- Cuts customer service costs
- Can handle an unlimited number of chats
Cons of using automated chat:
- Requires a set of scripts to answer questions accurately
- May not be able to answer every possible question
Hybrid web chat
A hybrid web chat solution like ZyraTalk combines live chat and automated chat to give you more control over your conversations.
Automated chat is capable of answering FAQs, qualifying leads, and ensuring your customers are never left on read. But there will be times when your customers want to speak to a human. Hybrid web chat allows your team to break the automation and jump in at any time.
Pros of hybrid web chat:
- Saves time
- Delivers a personalized experience
- Gives businesses more time to spend solving complex queries
Cons of hybrid web chat:
We might be a bit biased, but we couldn't think of a single con of using hybrid web chat. It strikes the perfect balance between live and automated chat. With hybrid chat, you'll never miss another lead or customer again.
HIPAA compliant live chat
HIPAA compliant live chat adheres to regulations set out by The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. This law protects private patient data and secures sensitive data logs. Businesses in the medical and health insurance fields must ensure their web chat platforms are HIPAA compliant.
ZyraTalk is a HIPAA compliant live chat platform. We rely on Amazon Web Services' HIPAA compliant servers, and we've also signed a Business Associate Agreement with AWS. Built-in sensitive data logs are masked by a secure PIN. You can also set HIPAA authorized users to prevent unauthorized team members from accessing sensitive data.
Other web chat terms to know
Natural language processing
Chatbots use natural language processing to analyze a human text input through an algorithm to produce a human-like response.
ZyraTalk's chatbot uses natural language processing to provide accurate responses to customer queries. As we'll see in the next section, our intent engine contains hundreds of intents that recognize human text and respond accordingly.
Check out our post "What is Natural Language Processing?" to learn more.
Intent-based chatbots use an intent engine consisting of two elements — intents and entities — to trigger different rules.
Intents are pretty straightforward. They're basically the user's intent and include different ways they might say something.
To borrow an example from ZyraTalk COO Brian Scruggs, "For example, we might have an intent called “AC_Installation” which could include user examples like “I need to install an AC unit” or even something non-specific like “I have a 2-ton Trane unit that needs to be replaced.”
The intent "AC_Installation" includes a variety of user examples. As the chatbot continues to use natural language processing to analyze chat data, it will learn more examples and trigger the correct response.
Entities include a set of keywords within each intent for the chatbot to recognize. One example is "pricing". Keywords within the pricing intent may include: quote, pricing, cost, how much, etc.
Check out our post "How Does Natural Language Processing Work?" to learn more.
An Application Programming Interface, or API for short, allows different apps to communicate and share data.
APIs are slightly different from user interfaces like Zapier, which let users connect and configure rules for different apps. API works behind the scenes to make integrations happen.
Let's say you use Gmail and Trello for communication and task management. Integration software like Zapier lets you connect those two apps. For example, let's say you want to turn emails into new tasks in Trello. Set up an automation in Zapier and boom — within seconds, every new email you receive in Gmail will appear as a task in Trello.
Some web chat software also uses API to integrate with other services. ZyraTalk connects with your CRM software, Google Analytics, and Facebook Messenger so you can analyze your chat logs in different contexts. Our Messenger integration even allows you to create your own Facebook chatbot and manage your messages from your ZyraTalk dashboard. You can even hook up to Zapier for more integrations, or add your own through webhooks.
Web chat buzzwords, de-buzzed
And there you have it — 7 web chat terms explained in plain English. Got questions about web chat? Click the chat icon in the right-hand corner of your screen to give our hybrid web chat platform a test drive.