Chat apps are everywhere these days. People communicate by text message, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, iMessage, Telegram, and dozens of other similar ways. Whereas once everyone communicated through phone calls, now we communicate by typing into our smartphones.
Yet surprisingly, many business still rely on phones to solve their customer’s problems. If a customer has an issue, they have to call into call center and speak to a customer service representative. This process usually takes some time and often leaves the customer frustrated.
What many businesses are now discovering is that live chat is the way of the future. Live chat offers a huge number of advantages over traditional customer service methods and can be the difference between a happy and an angry customer.
Should your business use live chat? Here are 10 reasons why.
#1 – It Allows Customers To Multitask
One of the worst parts about talking on the phone to a customer service rep is that it consumes all your time and attention. You have to wait on hold for a long time, listening to awful hold music, with nothing else to do. It’s pretty difficult to do other activities while you’re waiting on hold. The last thing you want is to miss when the service rep finally picks up.
A live chat function allows customers to continue working on their computers while they wait for a rep to pick up. They can read emails, read the news, work on a project, or a dozen other activities, assured that they’ll hear an alert when the agent is chatting with them.
#2 – Some Customers Prefer Chat
There are many people who simply don’t like to talk on the phone. In many ways, talking on the phone is becoming somewhat outdated with the surge in text messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and Slack. Young people rarely use the phone anymore, preferring texting and social media for conversations.
Live chat gives customers the option of avoiding the phone. It let’s them communicate with you in a manner they’re comfortable with.
Whether it’s used as a customer service tool or as part of the sales journey, live chat can give customers the real-time interaction they want while at the same time being more cost-effective, trackable and flexible than a telephone call.
For many customers, live chat is also more convenient and less stressful than speaking on the phone to a stranger. It’s easier to interrupt a session and return with the document or reference they need, and they can be sure they’ll be understood.
#3 – It’s More Efficient For Your Business
While it may be easier at times for a customer service agent to walk a customer through a problem over the phone, it’s relatively inefficient. After all, an agent can only talk to one person at a time.
With live chat, customer service reps can potentially talk to multiple customers simultaneously, depending on the complexity of the problems.
Additionally, operating call centers is expensive. The business must purchase phones for every agent, maintain the complex call routing software, and have a method for recording all the calls that come in and out. The bill from the phone company alone can be significant.
Contrast this with live chat, which only requires software to be installed on your site and can be easily maintained.
#4 – It Provides Complete Chat Logs
With every chat already being recorded, the customer has the option of receiving a transcript of the chat for their records. This can be extremely helpful for both the customer and your business if problems arise in the future.
Additionally, service reps can refer back to chat logs whenever helping repeat customers. Rather than have the customer go back through the problem, the rep can simply skim the chat log to see what was previously covered. This can save the customer huge amounts of frustration.
#5 – It’s Usually Quicker
Live chat almost always connects the customer with an agent quicker than phone systems. This can result in a huge upswing in customer satisfaction. There are few things customers hate more than being told they are a valuable customer who is 245th in the call queue.
The faster an agent and customer connect, the happier the customer will be.
#6 – It’s Cheaper For The Customer
Many people have a limited amount of minutes on their phone plan, and having to wait on hold for a long period of time can cost them quite a bit.
When the customer can have their problem solved without ever using their phone, it can go a long way towards building good rapport with them.
#7 – It Allows You To Offer More Customer Service Hours
Many customer service centers close down at a certain point in the day and on weekends. Live chat allows you to have a few individuals assigned to after hours service, which in turn gives customers more flexibility as to when they can get help.
Having to wait hours or even days to have an issue resolved is incredibly frustrating to customers. Knowing that they’ll be able to reach you at almost any time can be very reassuring.
#8 – It Allows You To Gather Essential Data
One huge advantage of live chat is that all the data is preserved for you. For example, you can track:
- The link that referred people to your site
- The operating system the customer is using
- Whether the customer has just come on the site
- Whether they’re active or idle during the chat
- And much more
Additionally, because you have transcripts of every conversation, you can run software to identify key words. These keywords can show which problems are coming up most frequently, which types of customers are encountering these problems, the solutions that seem to work best, and a host of other information.
After gathering this data, you can make intelligent choices about how to respond to it so that fewer problems arise in the future.
#9 – Quicker Resolution Of Problems
Many customers need help with the exact same problems. With a standard call center, the service rep has to walk through the same questions over and over: Did you reboot the router, etc.?
With live chat, a customer service rep can easily share a link to the appropriate solution. This leads to quicker resolution of problems and happier customers.
Again, quoting Salesforce UK:
A well-prepared chat agent can direct a customer immediately to the most useful FAQ answer or knowledge base page, without them needing to hunt through your website or rely on search. What’s more, analysis of your live chat sessions can help to pinpoint gaps or navigational problems in your online support content – if many customers are asking the same question, you can create new content to answer it and further encourage self-service.
#10 – It Can Increase Sales
Live chat software can trigger chats with potential customers based on their behaviors. For example, if a potential customer visits a pricing page, a chat bubble can appear with a person saying, “Is there any questions I can answer for you?” This simple action can dramatically increase the amount of sales a business gets.
Just how much can it increase sales? The American Marketing Association found that using live chat can increase sales by as much as 20%. This could represent a huge amount of revenue for a company.
As Kaye Chapman notes:
…allowing customers instant access to your sales and support teams allows for a decrease in abandoned cart rates, since customers can resolve problems at the point of sale. Also, through proactively reaching out to your customers while they shop, your agents can also identify opportunities for up-selling and cross-promotion of products that could be helpful for your customers.
If your business isn’t using live chat, you’re at a serious disadvantage. It’s the way of the future when it comes to customer service. If you don’t believe that, look at the number of people using Facebook Messenger. With over 1 billion users every day, it’s a powerful demonstration that people often prefer chat to phone.
In terms of business advantages, it’s cost effective, drives more sales, creates happier customers, and minimizes hassles for both you and the customer. It really is the ultimate win-win situation.
So what are you waiting for? The future is here.