Live Chat Should be Happening on Your Company’s Website and Here’s Why
Full disclosure: I use one of those monthly clothing rental subscriptions, and I love it. I’m obsessed. People, go indulge your COVID-19 pandemic-fashion-moment-deprived selves — you will not be sorry. We won’t get into the glorious mechanics of it all, but twice I have needed to connect with the company’s customer service team. Admittedly, I dread calling upon the services of any customer support personnel, because ‘on hold’ is not where I wish to ever be, and I’d rather be cycling.
Instead of dialing the company’s number, I opted for the live chat, because hello, I grew up in the golden age of AOL Instant Messenger, and I’ve trained for this. From their homepage, I was able to completely solve my fashion crises (not even), and if I recall, both were solved in less than five minutes each. No rigamarole involved. Obviously, I’m not alone in my love for live chat (or subscription boxes), but it got me thinking about how many others would much rather be live chatting with a customer service team versus using phone support.
From both sides of the B2C coin, the immediacy of live chat seems incredibly valuable. Customers can get their questions answered quickly, and sales teams can work on abandoned carts and conversions. But what are the real wins from a customer experience perspective? LiveChat released their 2020 stats, and there’s no question that the technology will soon be reigning supreme as the most popular and efficient customer support channel.
1. Give your customers what they want: instant responses
Your customers drive a hard bargain when it comes to connecting with your support teams — i.e. there isn’t much time to dilly dally. Studies show that 60 percent of consumers expect to receive an immediate response when they reach out for assistance — hence the reason 79 percent of consumers would rather interact via live chats. The communication method is perceived to be the most effective for instant responses. When utilized properly, live chat support can solve a myriad of issues, concerns, or questions for consumers within the reasonable 10 minutes or fewer benchmark customers now expect.
2. Your customers are more satisfied with live chat
The satisfaction of your customers should be one of the brightest guiding lights when it comes to most decision-making opportunities in your company. Both Zendesk and LiveChat took an inventory of how happy customers were when using live chats over making phone calls or typing out an email. Come to find out, the numbers are illuminating, to say the least. Between the two live chat providers, it’s fair to say that the satisfaction rates are hovering between 82 and 92 percent — stats that are based on an audit of over 25,000 websites using the technology.
3. Most of your customers don’t actually want to use phone support
When a consumer is in buying-mode, specifically on your website, questions arise that need to be answered. Believe it or not, 53 percent of those consumers will abandon their carts if they don’t receive answers to those questions. The ability to interact with a customer service agent directly from the website often makes or breaks a buying decision. Despite a staggering 87 percent of businesses adopting live chat, there are stragglers who are hesitant to provide the service, based on the notion that consumers still prefer phone support. While the satisfaction rate of phone support still reigns supreme, the trend towards live chat lends itself to being the number one method of communication by 2021.
4. There are still some kinks to work out
Like any up and coming trend, there are some wrinkles that inevitably will need ironing. Integrating a live chat tool into your website requires that your customer service agents are equipped to manage customer inquiries coming through the pipeline. At a bare minimum, it begs for a squad of omnichannel agents that are trained on how to best respond to inquiries from the multitude of channels your customers are utilizing. SuperOffice’s study of 1,000 websites discovered that just over 20 percent of live chats wind up in the unanswered abyss.
Luckily, antsy customers have admitted that they would forego instantaneous responses for better quality service. Bestowing such grace gives businesses a unique opportunity to find ways for better integration of their communication channels. For that, I have one word: omnichannel.
5. Streamlining the communication channels keeps agents and customers happier
With all the different means of communication made available to customers, toggling from one platform to another is nonsensical. Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc for brick and mortar businesses, customers have developed brand new buying habits, much of which revolve around doing business online. As a business, it’s your responsibility to streamline your processes and communication channels to evolve with market and customer demands, considering relevancy is on your vision board. Adopting an omnichannel platform to house all of your third-party communication tools and technologies makes a workday for your customer service agents far more enjoyable and fruitful, a vibe that trickles directly to the support your customers end up receiving. As for the inner workings of an omnichannel platform, imagine every method of communication offered to your customers living in one, harmonious environment – no toggling required. Give the people what they want, and it’s likely they’ll keep coming back for more.