In today’s fast-paced world, customers expect quick and effective ways to communicate with a business. Because of this, more businesses are incorporating live chat as an additional channel to engage their customers, in order to boost satisfaction and loyalty levels. People prefer to do business with a real person, and enabling live chat on a company’s website is equivalent to staffing a physical store with friendly staff who offer assistance when needed.
In recent years, there has been strong growth in live chat. Zendesk’s research found in 2013, some 52 percent of business used live chat, comparing well with only 30 percent in 2009. And the numbers continue to climb. This is not surprising as live chat is the customer’s preferred engagement channel, with 92 percent being satisfied with it, comparing well to traditional channels such as email (85 percent) or phone (88 percent). But why exactly do customers love live chat?
Benefits of live chat from a customer’s viewpoint
When asked why they prefer live chat, most customers indicate convenience, speed and its user-friendly nature. Let’s explore each in detail:
1. Convenience – Live chat provides real-time response, so customers get the right information at the right time. For example, Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts uses live chat to talk to guests instantaneously, providing them the personalized service they expect. An added advantage is that live chat does not require the customers’ full attention. So he is still free to carry on reading emails, talking to a co-worker or to get up and walk away, without worrying about behaving rudely.
2. Speed – The well-known saying ‘time is money’ is never more true than when it comes to customer service. People hate waiting to connect with a customer service officer over the phone, and the back-and-forth nature of emails is frustrating. Zendesk’s research found that live chat interactions begin on average 23 seconds after the customer first initiates the chat and took about 12 minutes for the problem to be resolved. This is seven times faster than email.
3. User – friendly nature – Most people are familiar with texting and instant messaging, making live chat easy to use. With more people shifting towards mobile computing, live chat becomes seamless. For example, if a question about the product arose after browsing a company’s website on the mobile, the customer would have to leave the web browser if they made their query via phone or email. With live chat, this happens naturally on the same platform.
Benefits of live chat from a business’ viewpoint
When customers love live chat, it helps to boost revenues, making businesses happy too. For example, when a chat agent quickly resolves the problem of an unhappy customer before the issue escalates to complaints on social media, a potential crisis is averted. However, there are several other reasons why businesses love live chat, including its ability to be proactive, efficient and insightful.
1. Proactive – Help channels such as phone or email are passive in nature – they only work when the customers makes the first step. Through live chat, businesses can monitor visitors and set up certain triggers at the right time. For example, a business could trigger live chat to pop up when a new visitor or VIP customer enters the site, allowing chat agents to respond appropriately. Live chat can also engage with customers at crucial moments, such as the checkout stage to prevent shopping cart abandonment. Research has shown that customers are three times more likely to make a purchase, when reached out to via live chat. Businesses can also use live chat as a new channel to offer incentives, such as discount coupons or promotional items. One study showed that live chat increased the average order value by 19 percent.
2. Efficient – Live chat helps to improve employee productivity, as it makes multi-tasking easy for support staff. Chat agents can handle multiple customer conversation simultaneously to resolve issues concurrently, rather than handling one call at a time. Chat agents can also talk to each other via live chat, in order to share knowledge and solve problems faster. Live chat is also less expensive than other channels, at typically half the cost of a call centre.
3. Insightful – Live chat can provide valuable information so businesses better understand customers and new prospects. This information can be used in developing new marketing tactics or adjusting site content with customer needs in mind. Many businesses are using live chat as an easy and cost-effective way to gather customer feedback.
So if your business is looking for a new, effective way to increase productivity, while simultaneously keeping costs low, live chat is a solution. It allows customers to easily find what they need, resolve any problems, and stay on your site for longer.
What are your thoughts on live chat? Have you used it before as a customer or a business?”
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