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Is a Chatbot or SMS Right for Your Business?

Find out if traditional text marketing or a chat bot for business better fits the needs of your organization.

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It takes a village to create a well-oiled customer service machine. At SimpleTexting we utilize a combination of texting and chatbots to serve our customers’ needs.

There are obvious pros and cons to each platform, but it can be difficult to know when to use what tool.

That’s why we decided to break down each one according to sample use cases, in-app capabilities, and more.

So buckle up for the chat-tool showdown everyone is talking about. But first, let’s meet our competitors.

What Is a Business Chatbot?

Business chatbots are software applications that allow you to pre-populate a customer chat window with conversation prompts in an attempt to answer their questions before needing a human to manually intervene.

They’re built to save both customers and customer service team members valuable time by getting ahead of FAQs and general queries.

Some folks prefer to speak to a human directly, no matter their question, so chatbots themselves are a bit divisive.

The more you use them however the smarter they become as they feed off of data from past conversations. So often if you’re able to power through the first couple of months, the results should become more and more positive.

What Is Business SMS?

Business texting on the other hand utilizes software to send text messages in bulk or to individuals using the internet. Texting from your personal phone is limited. With business texting software, you can automate texts, schedule them for later, connect to third-party apps, and more.

FeatureSMSBusiness Chatbot
Native to customer’s phones 🚫
Gets “smarter” with customer input
No character limits🚫
Always speaking to a “real” person 🚫
Fast, efficient responses

When to Use SMS

SMS is the solution for giving customers a personal touch.

Even though elements of a conversation can be automated or scheduled ahead, they’re always messages coming from a real person, not an algorithm.

There are also some instances where a customer issue is too technical or specific for a chatbot. For example, say a customer wants to find out how to change an element of an expensive bike they ordered from you. In this case, running the query through a bot would result in a jumbled mess of a user experience. 

SMS on the other hand would allow a customer to work through the issue one-on-one resulting in a far more positive outcome. This is an example of a situation where a customer service rep’s time is used wisely. Chatbots alternatively are better for one-off questions like “what are your opening hours?”

Thanks to its fast and high open rates, SMS is a great tool for:

  • Customer service and success situations
  • One-on-one troubleshooting
  • Small customer service teams
  • Sending follow-ups or feedback surveys
  • Order or delivery confirmations
  • Sending reminders
Hello, thanks for reaching out to Marley’s Monsters Support. On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best, please reply with how satisfied you were with your service?
Great, thanks! Was there anything that made it particularly satisfactory?

When to Use AI Chatbots Online

If your business experiences a high volume of inbound messages, you may want to consider a chatbot to help you serve your customers. These bots are an excellent first line of defense when it comes to resolving easy queries and fending off spam.

In general, AI chatbots are helpful for:

  • Large customer service teams
  • Dealing with spam
  • Information retrieval
  • Self-service questions

When to Use Both

Used in tandem, SMS and chatbots are an unstoppable combination. SMS’s ability to connect quickly with customers in a way that’s familiar combined with AI chatbot’s speedy information retrieval—talk about a team.

Here are just a few scenarios using these two platforms together could benefit your business:

  • Use a chatbot to make a reservation and SMS to send reminders
  • Sign someone up for an event using a chatbot and send a post-event survey via text
  • Answer a customer service question on chat and follow up with SMS to ensure things were resolved
  • Use a chatbot to collect phone numbers for your text marketing list
  • Collect personal information on product preferences via chat then send customized text offers
  • Provide quotes or estimates in chat and follow up with SMS to book a service

Already utilizing a chatbot for your business and curious how it works paired with texting? We’re available seven days a week for you to give us a go.

Text or call us at (866) 450-4185 or use the chat at the bottom of your screen (see what we did there 😉).

Alternatively, request a demo or sign up for a 14-day free trial, no credit card required.

Meghan Tocci
Meghan Tocci

Meghan Tocci is a content strategist at SimpleTexting. When she’s not writing about SaaS, she’s trying to teach her puppy Lou how to code. So far, not so good.

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