Running a successful business often requires getting back to the basics, which means earning more than you spend. Even if you have the best product or service in the world, spending too much on operating costs will always result in poor — or nonexistent — profits.
Live chat is an excellent way to reduce operating costs related to support and even marketing. In fact, a 2012 Aberdeen Group Report shows that, on average, companies that use live chat save up to 50% or more on support costs versus other methods.
In this post, I will outline a few different ways live chat reduces your operating costs while improving your bottom line.
Toll-free numbers have been around since the late 1960s as means for customers to contact companies quickly and without cost. For the company providing support, though, those toll-free calls are far from free. In fact, toll-free calling is very expensive when compared to other toll-type calls provided by most consumer long-distance companies. Simply put, toll-free rates are the bread and butter of many long distance companies.
While indeed expensive, toll-free calls remain very popular among American companies as a means of providing support. Fortunately, with the ever-increasing popularity of the Internet, more and more companies are switching to live chat.
Live chat is cheaper than traditional support for a couple of major reasons. One, rates for operating live chat are generally much cheaper than toll free numbers. Two, live chat operators can do something that is very difficult for phone agents to do: help multiple visitors or customers at the same time.
Of course, it is possible for a very good phone support rep to help a couple of people at the same time (if the clients don’t mind being put on hold multiple times.) With live chat, though, even average operators can help three, four or even more customers at the same time. After a while, concurrent or simultaneous chats can add up to huge savings in support costs.
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Imagine this scenario: A user calls you for support on how to set up or use your product. With traditional phone support, the operator or support agent must walk the user through the process step by step, which can take up a lot of time and lead to high phone and man-hour costs.
Now, if you take the same scenario and solve the users dilemma using live chat, you can get through whole process much, much faster. How? That’s easy; by using live chat to push help or knowledge base articles or documents directly to the user.
Better live chat applications enable you to push canned links or document files to your visitors with a couple of mouse clicks. Assuming you have a detailed installation or setup document for your products (and you should), you can push it directly to your customer. This takes only a minute or two (from the start of the chat to the end.)
After you push the help document to the user, the support call is, for all practical purposes, finished. How’s that for timely resolution of a problem? I hope you can also see how this can save you a lot of money in support costs.
The nature of the Internet requires businesses to be available to consumers virtually any time of the day or night, and this poses one of the biggest potential obstacles to companies that implement live chat – how to make agents or operators after office hours.
Better live chat platforms support mobile apps that let operators engage in chats after hours when they’re away from the office, and this can definitely help fill in the spaces. However, another option is to outsource your live chat operations to freelancers or remote workers.
In many cases, you can outsource your live chat support and save a bundle in the process. Part-time remote or freelancer may work for lower wages and won’t require you to pay withholding taxes, social security or other employee-related government fees or taxers.
Costs don’t seem as significant when sales revenues are high. And, while that may not be true in a literal sense, selling and earning more does tend to make any costs you incur much more justifiable. To that end, you should take advantage of every opportunity to try and close more sales, and this includes encouraging your agents and operators to upsell.
Upselling has been common among phone support operators for many years now, but its success depends on many variables, including an agent’s ability to help customer visualize benefits of upgrading. In some cases, it may be difficult to explain an upgrade or more costly option to costumers in a way they can understand or grasp quickly and easily.
On the other hand, live chat allows your agents or operators many more chances to upsell because of the ease with which they can push promotional materials, fact sheets and other documentation that help explain your products or services in detail. Customers that read about your products or services are much more likely to understand benefits than with phone conversations.
If your agent or operator can upsell the customer during a support chat, that leads to not only a savings for the session but makes it profitable.
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