By Guest Blogger – Marie Fincher
Three things are for certain:
- customer service for online businesses is a challenge
- customer service can make or break a business, and
- today’s online consumer is an impatient person.
All of this adds up to a demand for companies to devise methods by which they can serve their customers rapidly and well.
Providing a contact phone number and an email address is no longer the solution. Potential customers will not sit on hold, nor do they want to wait for an email response. Current customers with issues and questions feel the same way.
The solution is live chat, a function that provides customers with real-time answers, either via a human-manned help desk or through scripted chatbots, many of which now include built-in artificial intelligence and machine learning. Over time, these bots become more sophisticated in their responses, as they churn the data from chat histories and incorporate it into their repertoire of conversations.
There are a number of key benefits of live chat, the most important of which are the following:
Real-Time Customer Convenience
Today’s consumer is comfortable communicating on multiple devices. If he can engage in conversation in real-time with customer service, he has the convenience of getting answers immediately and is far more satisfied than the slower phone or email messaging venues.
Live Chat is Cost-Effective
Consider this. A live agent, manning a chat desk, can handle multiple chats at a time – something a call center agent cannot do. A live chat function thus costs less in salaries and benefits.
Consider this as well. When live chat can provide immediate responses, the potential for returns or lost sales decreases.
Live Chat Provides a Competitive Edge
It’s a competitive online world. Companies offering specific products and services are not the only ones doing so. Getting a strong market share means serving customers well, both through their searches, ordering, and payment processes, but also through effective and successful customer service before, during, and after the sale. That service can make the difference between a mediocre or poor experience and a great one. Companies that provide customized live chat give a better experience to their customers.
Live Chat Increases Conversions
When there is live support to guide a customer through any part of the decision-making and purchasing processes, the customer is far more likely to complete the purchase. And when post-sale service is handled to that customer’s satisfaction, the chances of future purchases increase significantly. Trust My Paper, an online writing service, states that, once it instituted a live chat feature, it saw almost an immediate increase in conversions. Potential customers could get answers to all of their questions immediately and were far more comfortable ordering writing products and services. That comfort and satisfaction, says the company, resulted in repeat business from those customers too.
Live Chat Builds Relationships
A key factor in business growth is establishing personal relationships with customers. This is why businesses establish social media presences and try to engage their target audiences in conversations; it is why they create content that shows themselves as real humans who care about more than just making a sale.
Live chat promotes personal relationships as well. When a potential or actual customer can engage in conversation and feels cared for and well-taken care of, that customer develops a loyalty to a company. That loyalty translates to repeat business. And it is far less expensive to keep a customer than it is to acquire a new one. Further, when customers feel cared for, they are far more likely to share their experiences with their communities, especially on social media.
Making All of This Happen
In setting up a live chat function, there are some important considerations.
- When customers access your site, be certain that your chat feature provides an invitation to chat.
- The chat should be manned around the clock if you are using human agents. The more “offline” time you have, the less you will serve customers in all time zones or even those who are just “night owls.” If manning 24/7 is impossible, you should as a minimum offer an online form for customers to write their query.
- Agents who man live chat desks must be trained well and have full knowledge of policies, procedures, and products so they can respond rapidly and accurately.
- Put functions in place to track the performance of chat agents. This is critical in constant improvement of your chat feature.
- Request feedback from your customers who use your live chat feature. Again, they feel cared for. And you get important information that allows you to improve your service.
- If you make the decision to use chatbots rather than humans, then be certain to add features that make that chatbot more human. You can add humor, ask questions, and use language that personalizes the interactions. More and more consumers are accepting chatbot communication, given that Siri, Google, Alexa and other personal assistant bots are now commonplace, but they do expect to be treated as humans with real needs.
Winding it Up
A live chat feature has undeniable benefits. And any business that intends to remain competitive in this 21st century will implement live chat as a means for its customers to achieve their service needs.
Marie Fincher is a digital content director at Trust My Paper company with a background in marketing, technology, and business intelligence. She frequently writes about data science, BI, new marketing trends and branding strategies. Marie gradually changed her focus from working in marketing to writing about it.
So, do you see why Business Websites Need Live Chat?
Netop develops and sells market leading software solutions, enabling quick, secure and easy transfer of video, sound and data between two or more computers. We have done this for more than 30 years and we have used this knowledge to make Live Guide the most secure and reliable solution on the market. Live Guide helps companies deliver excellent customer service, reduce support costs comply with strict security demands.