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If you’re reading this blog post, you probably already know that live chat software is used to chat directly with your website visitors in real-time. What you may not be aware of, though, is how exactly live chat benefits your support team, customers, and overall business – especially when compared to traditional communication channels like email and phone support.
Live chat is a must-have tool for any organization in today’s world, and this blog post is going to cover exactly why that is and the key live chat software benefits. So let’s dive straight in.
To help you get a better understanding of how much customers appreciate access to live chat, consider the eDigital Customer Service Benchmark survey of 2000 consumers that found live chat had the highest customer satisfaction levels at 73%, compared to 61% for email support and only 44% for traditional phone support.
With numbers like these, it’s easy to see why customers return to businesses that provide live chat. Customers want to interact with companies that make support easy, hassle free and instantaneous. In fact, 90% of consumers rate an immediate response as ‘important or very important’, while the same percent want the experience to be convenient.
Live chat allows you to give quick answers to questions about your products, solve problems faster, and assure your customers that you’re there when they need you. This is a simple, yet very effective, recipe for improving both customer service and overall CX.
Phone support is how companies have traditionally been there for customers, but it can be very costly – both in terms of toll charges and person-per-hour costs. Live chat doesn’t cost much more than a quality email provider and is a lot cheaper than phone support. In fact, Forrester research has shown that live chat customer service is 17-30% cheaper than a phone call.
The primary reason why live chat is much cheaper than phone support is because with live chat, agents can multitask and assist several visitors at once. On average, with proper training, most live chat agents can handle three or more chats simultaneously.
This live chat benefit, called chat concurrency, saves companies a huge amount on personnel costs as it allows a few live chat agents to serve the same amount of customers as a larger team of phone support employees.
Recommended for you: 4 Ways Live Chat Reduces Your Operating Costs
Studies have shown time and time again that live chat helps to increase sales – and companies are reaping the benefits. It’s been shown that live chat can drive 3x – 5x more conversions and deliver up to 6000% ROI. The same report states that customers that use live chat are three times more likely to make purchases versus those who don’t.
These numbers make one thing clear: live chat is effective in generating leads and making sales. Because live chat provides visitors with instant access to your support staff and sales team (and vice versa,) your team has many more opportunities to turn these visitors into paying clients or customers, and makes it one of the key live chat benefits.
Recommended for you: The Top Ten Ways That Live Chat Can Increase Sales
With traditional support systems, such as email or phone calls, it is sometimes difficult to know the pain points of your customers because they may only be heard or received by one team or individual.
With live chat, though, administrators and supervisors have access to all chat histories, which can be sorted, searched and filtered to quickly learn customer pain points.
Therefore, management can easily discover the problems or needs of their customers and find ways to address and resolve them. This is one of the greatest benefits of live chat for customer service.
Knowledge bases and help articles are excellent ways of providing support and helping customers solve problems. If you have many such documents or help articles online, though, customers or users may not be able to find or use them quickly.
With live chat, agents are able to “push” links to help or training documents quickly via the chat window. Therefore, instead of walking users through troubleshooting and resolution procedures step by step, agents can instead link the visitor to the appropriate document or content directly.
What’s more, screen-sharing and co-browsing capabilities mean that even the most complex of issues to troubleshoot can be solved in a quick and efficient way. This is something you simply cannot do with phone support. These features save agents and businesses a tremendous amount of time in resolving queries, improving team efficiency and CX with fast resolution times.
As we’ve discussed, live chat is the most popular customer support channel primarily because of its speed and convenience. It should not therefore come as a surprise to hear that offering live chat can rapidly help you to engage with more potential customers.
Canadian Blood Services enjoyed these results when they set up Comm100 Live Chat. CBS recognized that just offering telephone support was creating a barrier to engagement and reducing donor sign-ups. Once they launched live chat, they were able to connect with a much larger and previously unreachable audience and saw a significant increase in donor sign-ups.
Live chat also helps organizations connect with people abroad and in different time zones too. With chat, customers anywhere in the world can easily reach out without expensive international calling rates or waiting hours or even days for a response via email. Some live chat software also offer auto-chat translation so agents can speak with customers in any language, expanding market reach even further.
Live chat’s ability to allow your visitors and customers to reach you instantly cannot be stressed enough. However, it’s the proactive outreach abilities of live chat that make it truly powerful and makes it stand out as one of the key live chat benefits.
While your website visitors have the option of clicking your chat button to contact you at any time, better live chat systems allow your agents to do the same. The best live chat software allow agents to initiate chats. Using sophisticated monitoring and tracking features, live chat platforms can alert agents to visitor arrivals on websites and provide valuable data they can use to initiate conversations.
Chat requests from agents can be sent either manually or automatically based on pre-defined rules. This type of proactive chat initiation can help visitors find the information they require faster and potentially convert more browsers into buyers.
Recommended for you: 8 Proactive Chat Best Practices with Ready-to-Use Scripts
With email support, you have a record of the messages sent between you and your customers or others that make inquiries, and that provides a limited degree of accountability and the ability to review staff performance.
With phone support, though, reviewing staff performance can be difficult unless you record all calls and have time to listen to at least some of the conversations.
With quality live chat providers, you can view all sorts of custom reports as well as the chat histories of all your agents. Access to this type of data lets you see how many visitors your site(s) receive, how many chat requests are accepted or ignored, and an array of other visitor metrics that can help you better implement marketing strategies to draw more traffic.
Live chat analytics give you valuable insight into your agents as well. Couple visitor data with access to chat histories, agent performance reports, wait time reports, and more, and you are set to monitor agent performance, and adjust staffing and training as needed.
Recommended for you: Comm100 Live Chat Reporting Solution Sheet
If you think live chat is the right tool for you and your customers, then it’s time to take action! Book a personalized live chat demo today with our specialists and start your journey on the path towards CX excellence. Alternatively, find out just how much money live chat could save you with our Live Chat ROI Calculator below.
Note: This blog post was originally published in July 2015. Because it is one of our most popular posts, we have updated it to include the latest research, up-to-date statistics and best practices in this topic.