Livechat vs Chatbot: what's the difference?

Live chat 3CX
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Whether you’re looking to enhance an e-commerce website or to provide a more personalized approach to support, chances are you’ll be considering some sort of customer-facing chat tool.

Understanding the difference between Livechat and Chatbot is crucial to ensure maximum customer satisfaction, however the solution is not black and white and what will work best for your company depends on your goals.


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What is Livechat?

As its name suggests, Livechat offers a live chatting tool that companies can use to put customers in touch with real people. This presents an effective opportunity to answer more complex questions, however it comes at the cost of employing agents.

Livechat’s functions aren’t just limited to pop-up windows on your website, though. It acts as one central location for other support channels, too, like Messenger, WhatsApp, Apple Business Chat, email, SMS, and plenty more.

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Livechat: features

Depending on the type of channels you’re using, it’s possible to see what the company calls ‘sneak peaks’. These allow agents to see what the user is typing in real time before they hit send, allowing them to source information more effectively and ultimately provide quicker answers. 

If a customer asks a regularly asked question - for example business hours or discount codes - it’s possible to pull information from canned responses, which can save time and ensure consistency. More detailed messages will benefit from interactive cards that can present images and CTA buttons, or menus with quick reply buttons. It’s also possible to share files like documents, images, and videos, using Livechat, which helps keep customer communications inside one channel rather than having to deflect to an email attachment or a download URL.

More advanced setup allows companies to automatically direct chat users to the right team based on the URL they land on (like sales and support), however if a user lands on the wrong chat, behind-the-scenes transfers can connect them with the right team without them having to experience a break in connection. Agents can also tag chats to help them manage their workflow more effectively. Transferred or not, a chat will be able to show previous message history, and supports emailed transcriptions, too.

We also like the customization that’s on offer with Livechat, which includes branding and color palette setup for maintaining consistency, and profile picture and name setup so that users feel that they’re getting a more personal experience.

Livechat: insights

Some users may choose to fill in one of the post-chat surveys, however Livechat collects plenty of other information to help companies understand and grow their businesses.

For regular chats, you can see figures like totals, missed chats, engagement, agent availability, duration, and response time. Support-based conversations surface other insights, too, like the number of new and solved tickets, as well as how long it took for a customer to get their first response, and how quickly the issue was resolved.

Overall, these sorts of statistics offer valuable insight into staffing prediction so that you can have the right number of agents on hand at any one time, which you may wish to balance with an automated service like Chatbot.

Livechat: security

Any connection to the Livechat servers is encrypted with the 256-bit SSL protocol, and admins can set up whether to use European or American data centers. That’s on top of GDPR compliance and HIPAA readiness, along with some other legislation preparation.

In the chat interface, it’s possible to automatically hide sensitive information so that, even if a customer types their full payment card details, only the last four digits will be displayed. Furthermore, if a user becomes disruptive, it’s possible to block them.

There’s also support to add trusted IP addresses for agent login to prevent unwanted access being gained, as well as two-factor authentication at login and single sign-on support for tools like Google sign-on, Okta, and Auth0.

What is Chatbot?

Unlike Livechat, Chatbot doesn’t rely on real people to speak to customers. Instead, it provides a platform to build conversational chatbots that use technology like artificial intelligence and machine learning to respond to customers.

Setup is simple with no coding experience required, and it’s possible to pair Chatbot with Livechat to offer a balance of autonomy with a more personalized, detailed approach. It, too, works with other third-party platforms like Messenger, as well as the pop-up window on a company’s website.


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Chatbot: features

Once Chatbot is set up, there are no active agents required to handle queries, which allows it to be operational 24/7/365, helping an unlimited number of customers at any one time. The company claims that 100% of commonly asked questions are answered and that the tool should be able to stand more conversational language.

Despite being able to help an uncapped number of customers, pricing is based on the number of interactions, which are reflected in several tiers. Regardless, maintaining Chatbot should prove less expensive than employing multiple agents, allowing companies to grow without drastically adding to their overheads.

Chatbot: how it works

A certain amount of setup is required before you can begin to roll out Chatbot for your organization. This primarily focuses on building a network of possible routes that customers could take, lining up a number of suitable answers and redirects. 

The process looks a little bit like a family tree, or a flow chart, and there are plenty of opportunities to embed information and media to support the conversation. 

For more complex queries that can’t be handled by Chatbot, it’s important to set up fallbacks. These could include links to support pages, creating support tickets, or getting in touch via Livechat where applicable.


Because Chatbot can handle multiple queries simultaneously and save a company money, we think it’s a no brainer.

However there will always be customers that require more detailed support. While it’s possible to redirect them to a regular email conversation, we think being able to embed Livechat straight into the same window will provide the smoothest experience for the customer, which in turn could see a boost in satisfaction and loyalty.

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Craig Hale

With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the decarbonisation of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!