Are you planning to launch a live chat support channel for your business but still wondering whether doing so makes sense?
You know – The easier and faster you make it possible for customers to get in touch with you, the better your chances are to get their business.
This also means that if they have to leave your page to email or call you, they are likely to give up.
Live chat happens to hit all these spots –
- It is quicker than both phone and email
- Gives a real-time conversation experience, like a phone call
- Has the convenience and qualities of an email
But is there more to it? Can live chat provide any real value in terms of ROI?
Well, that’s exactly what we are going to talk about in this post.
Why Use Live Chat Support
Let’s start with how live chat beats all the other customer contact channels – phone, emails, social media, to name a few.
And there are just so many benefits of supporting customers via this communication channel:
- Live chat is the highest customer satisfaction channel, after all – Customer satisfaction is the holy grail for any business, and live chat boasts a satisfaction level of 73%. The other two most popular channels, email, and phone stand far below, at 61% and 44% respectively.
- Fastest instant gratification – In today’s fast-paced world, everyone is looking for instant gratification, and your customers are no exception. Online chat and chatbots happen to be the ultimate channels for instant response –
Image courtesy – Statista
- Quicker than a phone call – Be honest, would you rather chat and multitask your way through a query, or stay glued to your phone, waiting for a support agent to answer?
- Live chat surpasses language and time zone barriers – As many as 58% of small businesses already have international customers. So in some cases, you may be talking to someone in a different country, with a completely different accent than yours. Or you may need help from a company located in a different timezone. Live chat surpasses both – language barriers and time zones, with a much faster response time than emails (another channel beyond time zones and language issues).
Given the above, it’s no surprise that live chat is catching up fast as the preferred channel of communication for the most number of queries.
But that’s still not all…
6 Ways Live Chat Support Can Help Your Business
#1. Live chat makes you stand out among the crowd.
Imagine this – your competitor makes people hold calls listening to background music they don’t even like, while you are responding to every customer through live chat within seconds.
And then, imagine these aren’t queries for support, but leads!
According to research, 53% of online customers are likely to ditch businesses, if they don’t get an immediate response to their queries. Note that this is true for all kinds of businesses. It doesn’t matter which industry you are in, or how big or small you are, your customers are waiting to hear from you.
With live chat, you steer clear of such a situation while your competition may not.
And not just the leads, but when your current customers find you more accessible, they are likely to keep coming back to you. To translate this in numbers, a 5% retention can produce 25% more profit. Neat, right?
#2. Live chat means increased sales and conversions
As it turns out, immediate answers for sale queries do result in increasing sales, and customers converting faster. According to data from a live chat customer support team survey –
- An added live chat channel causes an 8%-20% increase in conversions.
- Chatters (customers who chat), are almost three times more likely to convert than the non-chatters (you get it).
- The big one –
But wait, there is more to this than the response time.
Well-trained live chat agents can gauge what a customer needs better in real-time. They can then offer better deals and discounts to convert. They can also up-sell better, by telling the customers what solutions better suit their business needs and how.
With an increasingly digital world, people are no more uncomfortable with another person whom they cannot see at the other end. Live chat as of today fosters the same kind of confidence as comes with talking to a real person, and nothing can replace that.
#3. Chatbots let you support customers 24/7
Admit it – How many times have you started a conversation outside office hours to make a purchase decision?
Well, it’s not just you.
Research says that 8 to 9 pm on Mondays and Thursdays are consistently the most popular times for online shopping. So if you are thinking that your online business could thrive within working hours, think again. Not to forget the time differences when you are selling internationally.
Clearly, a business that is available 24/7 today is a winner in the revenue realm. However, having agents providing 24/7 customer service can be expensive or unrealistic for some companies. And even if you could afford it, by using the technology intelligently, you could save some big bucks.
Chatbots are evolving fast. Chatbot platforms are using AI and NLP (Natural Language Processing), to better gauge the user intent, and answer accordingly.
Carefully crafted scripts based on used cases also optimize their function, in both customer service and sales.
Chatbots are extremely effective in retaining customers with an instant response as soon as someone lands on your website. Because one in five customers will choose to drop using a product or service for slow response times via online chat.
However, chatbots do have their downside with unusual requests, and getting a ‘bot-like’ response can be frustrating. So, using chatbots alongside human-powered live chat is the best solution. Make sure that the chatbot response should be well-timed, non-repetitive (as much as possible), and contextual to keep things real.
Look at this one from Seattle Balloon Assistant –
Chatbots are also ideal for the first-level response for companies with lots of online traffic.
#4. Improved efficiency both in customer support and customer experience
Another great advantage of the live chat channel is that you can collect customer data. Most good-quality live chat software offers this functionality. And once you have this data, all you have to do is to put it to good use to improve customer experience.
With different kinds of performance reports –
- You can see what queries took longer than the others to solve and you can identify better ways to resolve them.
- You can identify the chat agents who are performing best, can recognize them, and utilize their skills in the best forums possible.
- You can identify the agents who could do better, and train them accordingly. For example, slow typing can be a big detractor as customers do drop-out out of slow responses. So training people to type faster can be a simple but very effective solution to improve customer service efficiency.
- You can even improve your product by looking at customer escalations and resolution queries.
Live chat data when used properly can result in an enhanced customer experience.
Some unique benefits that live chat bring into customer support experience are –
- Faster resolution of queries, as customers can share their queries in detail. They can share attachments of screenshots, and supporting documents in real-time to explain the issue better.
- A good chat agent can help your company establish a long-term relationship with its clients. Although without proper training, it can fall either way. So, training your agents in understanding the tone and sentiments of messaging is very important.
- Proactive chat can literally convert strangers into customers by allowing you to show a small popup window to your visitors, even before they ask for it. Here is an example of what our website visitors see when they come to our page –
#5. Cost efficiency at multiple levels
Here is the cool thing about using a sophisticated live chat tool – you can integrate the software with one of the web applications you are using already. This way you remain in the familiar territory, do not have to train people on anything extra, and save costs too!
For example, Social Intents lets you optimize your process by integrating live chat with MS Teams or Slack, with one click.
By doing this, you can bring in all your communication into MS Teams or Slack, and still have cutting-edge live chat features like proactive chat triggers. It also lets you use canned responses (answers to the same kind of queries) to increase your team’s productivity.
You can also reduce costs by assigning multiple chats to one agent. It is important to do this efficiently, else it can prove counterproductive. Again, good software is critical here so you have proper options for chat distribution.
Please note though that you don’t want your agents to be pulling their hair out, and so training is very important here. A chat agent dealing with multiple clients should know how to maneuvre between them, while –
- Being highly organized to avoid any mix-ups
- Prioritizing intelligently
- Handling FAQs with knowledge-base
- Keeping the tone of every message personal
- Using canned messages cleverly
- Ensuring that the messages are crisp and clear
- Send visitors to the right call queue, etc.
Live chat can also increase average order value as the customer is getting real-time answers as we discussed in point number 2.
#6. Live chat can help you acquire and onboard customers
Sometimes people are plain hesitant to start a conversation, and when it comes to technical products, they do not want to sound ignorant.
So when you greet them with a message and show them you are eager to help, they are able to drop their hesitation. By doing this you can convert people who would have otherwise left your website, into customers. Look at this one –
This proactive chat is nudging you to buy by providing an instant comparison between their products, before you are thinking about it.
Proactive live chats have tons of benefits, some of which are –
- Increased customer satisfaction, as proactive messages show you care.
- Reduced shopping cart abandonment that happens in the absence of immediate support.
- Increase customer loyalty
- Reduced website bounce rate, etc.
Remember to use proactive chatting intelligently. Deploy triggers for the chat to appear –
- At the right time (after scrolling a certain percentage of the page/ website or after a certain time)
- Be non-intrusive (like covering too much of the screen space)
- Not be repetitive (doesn’t keep appearing in spite of closing it once or twice)
Another big benefit of proactive live chat is in onboarding clients. This is especially true for products that are more technical in nature, for example, SaaS. Even after buying such a service, consumers may need a lot of handholding to –
- Become comfortable using the software
- Start using it regularly
- Learn to use all its features, including advanced ones
Here’s an example from Betterment, an online investment advisor –
Proactive live chat is a great tool to provide support at each of these stages, and onboarding can happen fast and seamlessly.
Hopefully, after reading this article, you are clear about whether to offer live chat to your customers and how to efficiently deploy it.
So, now it is your turn to give it a go and take your business to the next level.
All the best!