If you’re reading this blog post, you probably already know that live chat is a platform that enables you to chat with visitors of your website.
You may also be aware that while live chat and instant messenger applications (i.e. Facebook and Google+) do share some similarities — for instance, they both allow you to chat and transfer files — there are some distinct differences as well. For more information on the differences between live chat and instant messenger applications, please check out our post “What is Live Chat? Where is Different from IM?“
What you may not be aware of, though, is really how live chat benefits your business when compared to email, phone support, instant messenger services and other communication platforms. That’s why live chat is a must-have tool for your business.
The blog post is included in [eBook] Starting with Live Chat: Strategy and Planning. Click here to read or download the full ebook.
Here’s a rundown of some of the biggest live chat benefits:
See more benefits in Comm100’s another blog post: 8 Ways Live Chat Software Benefits Your Business
Phone support is the traditional method of being there for your customers, but it can be very costly – both in terms of toll charges and person-hour costs.
Live chat doesn’t cost much more than a quality email provider and is a lot cheaper than phone support. The main reason is that live chat enables your agents or team members to 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 do the same work as many phone support employees.
There are several different published studies that stress the fact that live chat can help increase sales numbers.
For instance, an American Marketing Association study shows that live chat help increase conversions by at least 20 percent and that the typical ROI rate from paid live chat software for sales teams is about 300%. The same report states that customers that use live chat are three times more likely to make purchases versus those who don’t.
It’s obvious with these numbers that live chat is effective, and that’s true for a number of reasons. 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.
Recommended for you: The Top Ten Ways That Live Chat Can Increase Sales
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 that live chat had the highest customer satisfaction levels at 73%, as 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. Simply put, customers feel more confident doing business with companies that make support easy, hassle free and instantaneous.
Live chat allows you to solve problems faster, give quick answers to questions about your products and provide assurance to your customers that you’re there when they need you. This is a simple, yet very effective, recipe for improving both customer service and loyalty.
Recommended for you:15 Customer Retention Strategies for Long-Term Customer Loyalty
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The Internet Revolution and new digital marketing has brought about many new terms used when conducting business and “pain points” is one of them. Simply put, a pain point is a problem that a customer has that has not been solved or a need that has not been addressed.
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.
Therefore, management can discover the problems or needs of their customers and find effective ways to address and resolve them. This is one of the greatest benefits of live chat.
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, though, 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.
This is something you simply cannot do with phone support and a feature that can save agents a tremendous amount of time in helping resolve issues and problems your customers or users may have.
At the end of the day, the overall quality of your product or service will ultimately be the deciding factor as to whether or not your business is successful. Besides that, making it easy for your customers or clients to contact you about questions or problems they might have is probably a close second.
Live chat provides your website visitors with instant access to sales people and support staff. Therefore, clients and visitors are more confident in your company as a vendor and a source of valuable knowledge and support.
The Aberdeen Group research report found that live chat was hands down the preferred method of communication for online shoppers when compared to other communication methods.
If you take a look at the report, you’ll discover that live chat makes it easy for your customers to do business with you, which usually leads to them responding with increased loyalty and spending.
Recommended for you: Millennials Prefer Live Chat for Speed and Convenience [Infographic]
How can this be a benefit of live chat?
A recent report published by TELUS International found that a considerably high number of online businesses still do not use any sort of live chat system on their websites.
This means that if you do opt to install live chat software on your site(s) — and you should — chances are good that you will have a distinct advantage over your competition in terms of friendly, instant support access as well as more opportunities to engage your website visitors proactively and make more sales.
Because live chat is a lot more affordable and effective than other support solutions, it just makes sense that more businesses will implement the technology on their websites.
Therefore, if you want to start distinguishing your company from competitors — and gain more business in the process — the time to implement live chat on your sites is now and not later. See some of the best practices that you can emply when adding live chat to your sites.
If yours is like most businesses, your shop or office probably doesn’t receive many visitors who fly or drive from great distances to make purchases or request services. That’s because consumers and clients like doing business with companies to which they have quick and easy access.
While the Internet helps you expand your reach far beyond your local area, just having a website does not necessarily mean visitors will feel comfortable placing orders on it. However, if your site has a live chat function, even customer from far, far away from your physical location can contact you instantly and make inquiries or arrange purchases.
Live chat can help you expand your market reach to areas you may never have considered possible. So, if you do get an inquiry from someone on the other side of the world, you can give that person the same welcome and consideration you would someone who visits your office or shop.
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 that live chat affords your business that make it truly powerful.
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.
Modern live chat systems not only allow agents to receive chat requests, but to initiate them as well. 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 also 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 performances can be difficult unless you record all calls and have time to listen to at least some of the conversations.
With better live chat systems, though, you have the ability to view all sorts of custom reports as well as review 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 all of other visitor metrics that can help you better implement marketing strategies to draw more traffic.
Couple all of this valuable data with access to chat histories, visitor tracking and many other relevant reports, and you implement changes as needed and monitor staff/agent performance.
Recommended for you:Comm100 Live Chat Reporting Datasheet
What other live chat benefits that you observed but are not covered here? Share with us in the comment box below.
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