If you’re reading this blog post, you probably already know that live chat is a platform that allows you to chat directly with your website visitors.
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 — these platforms have distinct differences.
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What you may not be aware of, though, is how exactly live chat benefits your business when compared to email, phone support, instant messenger services and other communication platforms.
The blog post is included in [eBook] Starting with Live Chat: Strategy and Planning. Click here to read or download the full ebook.
Live chat is a must-have tool for your business, and this blog post is going to cover exactly why that is. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the biggest live chat benefits:
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.
This is mainly because 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 serve the same amount of customers as a larger team of phone support employees.
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Studies have shown time and time again that live chat helps to increase sales.
One of these studies by the American Marketing Association study shows that live chat can 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.
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.
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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. Customers feel more confident doing business with companies that make support easy, hassle free and instantaneous. In fact, a consumer research study from Oracle found that 90% of customers said the “Live Chat” button gives them confidence that they can get help if they need it.
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 loyalty.
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The Internet Revolution and digital marketing brought about many new business terms, and “pain points” is one of them. 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, 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.
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 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 are features that can save agents and businesses a tremendous amount of time in helping resolve problems your customers may have.
At the end of the day, the overall quality of your product or service will be the biggest decider of whether or not your business is successful. However, how easily accessible and convenient your customer service is may be a close second.
Live chat provides your website visitors with instant access to salespeople and support staff. When your visitors can easily contact you with any questions or problems that they may have, they will be more confident in your company as a vendor and a source of valuable knowledge and support.
An 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. This also leads to better reviews on sites such as Amazon, Yelp, or your own website, which can also help you attract new customers.
Another report by Econsultancy shows that customers appreciate the convenience of being able to use live chat without committing a large chunk of time and attention to the task. According to the report, 51% of customers prefer live chat for multitasking purposes, with another 21% preferring live chat so they can shop while they work. As technology makes things more and more convenient, what is convenient has become a large part of what drives us, as consumers and as people.
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So, what competitive advantages come with live chat?
A recent report published by TELUS International found that many major companies still do not use any sort of live chat system on their websites. In fact, a recent study of 1,000 websites found that only 9% of websites use live chat to provide real time support to their customers.
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 an advantage over your competition in terms of friendly, instant support access. You will also have more opportunities to engage your website visitors proactively and make more sales, nabbing customers before the competition does.
In the last five years, the number of U.S. online shoppers who use live chat has increased from 38% to 58% (Forrester), which means that more and more companies are adopting live chat every year to meet this demand. Millennials also prefer live chat, and many companies are scrambling to win their favor as this populous generation gains spending power.
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 that they have quick and easy access to.
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 customers who are far, far away from your physical location can contact you instantly and make inquiries or arrange purchases. This includes international customers, who may not be able to reach your company over the phone due to expensive international dialing rates.
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 potentially convert more browsers into buyers.
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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 have the ability to 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.
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What are other live chat benefits have you observed but are not covered here? Share with us in the comment box below!
Better communication allows you to help customers set right expectations, which is an essential skill for agents to be top performing. Here we offer 12 essential tips for live chat agents to communicating effectively, addressing customer issues efficiently, and representing your brand professionally.Download Free