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Image source: 99 Firms
We’ve all experienced it. The elevator music as we wait five, ten, fifteen minutes to be connected to the next available agent. Those days seem to be long gone now. We live in a fast-paced world where people expect instant access to everything, including customer services.
Enter live chat.
Live chat is an online communication tool that enables people to send messages in real-time. You should be familiar with live chat technology using AOL Messenger, Facebook Messenger, or Skype to send messages. You can also encounter live chat whenever you visit a website and see a chat icon at the bottom right corner of the screen.
Live chat is quickly becoming the preferred contact method for customers to engage with businesses. Consider the following live chat statistics:
The reason is simple. Live chat offers customers instant solutions with a human touch.
Now, live chat for customer service isn’t only helpful for customer support. There are other benefits to introducing web chats to your service channel portfolio. I will share just a few ways this technology can enhance your business.
One of the biggest marketing mistakes your business can make is taking existing customers for granted. It’s unethical and downright rude. Plus, it’s more expensive to acquire new customers than to keep the ones you already have. Existing customers don’t have to be coaxed and convinced of the value of a product or service. They only need to be convinced of their value as your customer.
Businesses can maintain or increase customer retention rates in different ways, including customer appreciation events and loyalty programs. While such marketing campaigns stir excitement, it is the day-to-day interaction with your business that drives customer loyalty.
Live chat enjoys the highest customer satisfaction rating of all contact channels. Responding to customers in real-time will help your business make your customers feel important. And when customers feel valued, they are more likely to be loyal. They are also more likely to recommend your business to their friends and family.
Using live chat in your business processes allows you to kill two birds with one stone – customer retention and customer acquisition. Furthermore, according to a 2018 Customer Service Expectations Survey, customers are willing to pay more for better customer service. So the secret to growing your business doesn’t just involve bringing in new customers. It also requires taking care of your current customers.
It’s frustrating for customers to explain the issues they have multiple times – first, to the customer service agent who receives their call through a business telephone, then to the customer support agent to whom they are transferred. Most customers don’t realize that the two roles are different.
If customer service is about providing added value, customer support provides technical assistance. Live chat for customer service keeps customers from being frustrated by automatically routing the chat to the support agent with the knowledge to answer the question.
The level of customer support live chat software offers is also quite sophisticated. In addition to giving support agents access to previous chats and support history, live chat has the option for remote assistance. During a chat session, customer support agents can ask the customer to share their screen or give them remote access to the customer’s computer. That enables agents to better communicate with customers and troubleshoot any issues.
You can also implement live chat in other stages of your marketing funnel. For example, triggering a live chat focused on return visitors or customers demonstrates you value their continued interest, thus improving retention rates.
Live chat is not beneficial to the customers alone. It also increases the productivity of customer service teams. Compare the customer service response times of live chat, emails, and social media.
Source: Super Office
Compared to email and social media, live chat has quicker response times. While the average response time for emails is around 17 hours, live chat allows your customer service agent to respond to customer inquiries within just a few minutes. This figure shows us the added efficiency that implementing live chat will bring to your workflow.
Canned responses are another method you can use to improve your live chat experience. These responses are predefined replies to frequently asked questions like opening hours, store location, refund policy, etc. They reduce response times further and free up customer service representatives to focus on more challenging questions. Furthermore, your live chat agents don’t become tired and frustrated with typing the same response day in and day out.
Source: ProProfs Chat
Canned responses can be grouped by topic or situation, from introductions to negative feedback to promotions/offers. Above is an example of the predefined messages live chat agents can use during a chat session.
Customers encounter issues and require assistance at all hours of the day. Moreover, you likely have customers in different time zones. You need to ensure your customer support is available to all customers at their most convenient time.
Having instant availability to customer service is hugely beneficial for your business. Because customer queries are addressed as they are brought up, there’s a reduced chance that some customer issues will fall through the cracks and go unaddressed.
Self-service options can be activated even when you cannot staff your live chat channel 24/7. FAQs, how-to guides, and troubleshooting instructions give many customers the information they need to resolve their issues. You can incorporate this knowledge base into live chat to provide around-the-clock support. Just make sure navigation of self-help menus is quick and easy to use.
Source: Urban Stems
The chatbot for the online store Urban Stems features FAQ responses on a given query, allowing shoppers to find solutions to their needs quickly. There’s also a live chat option for queries not listed on the FAQ.
Today’s customers have no shortage of choices. If you don’t give them information that will convince them to purchase from your website, they will leave and turn to your competitors instead. This is a massive lost opportunity as visiting your website is an indication of their interest in your brand.
To prevent this from happening, you need to take a proactive approach. Why not create personalized marketing campaigns with your live chat platform?
Live chat for customer service can facilitate and improve your sales prospecting process. While helping visitors find the information they need, your customer service teams passively collect data from customers – their interests, pain points, buying power, and even conversation style.
You can also integrate your email marketing software into your personalized campaign using the data you collect from live chat. This allows you to target specific groups with relevant and personalized content. Compare this to the generic contact form where the only information you learn is a customer’s name, email, and maybe phone number.
The average online store loses up to 75% of sales due to cart abandonment. If customers at checkout have to call or send an email with a question on shipping, for example, that’s a lost opportunity. Triggering a live chat session at the point of abandonment can go a long way in increasing conversion rates.
We know that improving customer service increases conversions and sales. With the highest customer satisfaction rates compared to other customer service channels, live chat customers are 2.8 times more likely to purchase a product or service. Answering questions in real-time during a purchase fosters trust between the customer and the business.
If you are not using live chat for customer service, you are losing out on a cost-effective way to improve customer satisfaction, retention, and sales. Live chat isn’t just nice to have. It’s bridging the gap between traditional customer service and modern customers’ expectations.
There are many other benefits to using live chat for customer service, like multilingual capacity. We’ve touched on six. These six benefits serve as a window to the potential of live chat technology.
Customer service agents can only handle one call or email at a time. With live chat, agents can handle multiple chats at once, delivering faster service to more people. It’s not just a quantity game. Live chat technology enables businesses to collect and qualify customer behavior. That, in turn, can be used to provide personalized service.
Use live chat for customer service, and your business will reap the benefits.
About the author
Matt Diggity is a search engine optimization expert and the founder and CEO of Diggity Marketing, The Search Initiative, Authority Builders, and LeadSpring LLC. He is also the host of the Chiang Mai SEO Conference.