Is Your Consumer Trust at Risk? Live Chat Can Help

July 19th, 2018 | Hutch Morzaria | Live Chat | Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes
How Can Live Chat Help Restore Consumer Trust

When it comes to doing business in 2018, according to a current Forrester report, the trust of the modern consumer is at an all-time low and continuing to plummet. This is due to a variety of factors, many of which can be controlled, and others which cannot. Fortunately, for many companies, maintaining or regaining the trust and loyalty of their customers isn’t entirely out of reach.

One of the most effective methods is to always be available to your customers through all possible channels, making it easy for customers to get in touch. This means that on top of being reachable through email and telephone, any modern company should also have a live chat feature on their website.

This is the new face of customer service in 2018. With an increasingly difficult-to-please customer base, companies have to do more to retain consumer loyalty. It is essential that they be available when the customer needs them, and that they can instantly resolve their customer’s issues.

The State of Consumer Trust in 2018

According to Forrester, many brands are currently going through a “crisis of trust.” These issues impact both business to consumer (B2C) as well as business to business (B2B) transactions due to numerous factors, including:

  • Increased interaction that people are having with brands. While these interactions are great opportunities to increase trust, according to surveys, in the current state of things they’re actually lowering it.
  • False or misleading statements made by companies, which are now becoming easier to investigate with technologies such as the internet.
  • Customers also feel that the brands that they are loyal to aren’t returning the favor by actually listening to their concerns and complaints. This is especially true in service organizations, where customer service is more important to customers than ever before.
  • The poor treatment of employees has also worked to lower customer trust in recent years. With companies such as Amazon and Walmart receiving negative press due to poor working conditions, these practices bring about mistrust in the minds of consumers. After all, if organizations can’t even look after their own employees, how can they be trusted to look after their customers?
  • How companies use a customer’s data has also brought about quite a bit of distrust among consumers. For the average customer, how their data is being used, and what it’s being used for, can be very confusing. Consumers value their privacy while at the same time desiring a personalized experience. This can lead to some difficulties for brands, although we’ll cover some potential solutions further along in this post.

Consumer expectations have increased in recent years, while patience has decreased. Modern consumers are far less forgiving on companies that fail to deliver on their promises.

Methods a Company Can Take to Improve Consumer Trust

According to a Salesforce survey, improving a customer’s experience is an excellent way to increase trust. The survey results indicated that 80% of customers believe that the experience that is provided by a company is as significant, if not more so than the actual products or services that the company offers.

This same survey went a bit further and demonstrated that up to 57% of consumers have stopped using a brand and switched to a competitor simply because the competitor provided a superior experience.

When you improve a customer’s experience and better meet their demands it can go a long way to improving trust. The only issue with this is that in today’s technologically advanced world, the expectations of customers are continually increasing.

One great way to enhance a customer’s experience, that will last throughout a climate of increasing expectations, is by always having a customer service representative live and available through the channels the customer is using.

Maintaining regular hours of service, and being available to your customers during peak hours also helps to build trust. Peak hours can be ascertained through an analysis of the times in which customers try to contact you the most, using a variety of different tools. As an online business, it’s possible to have customers who reside in all corners of the globe, meaning that the time zone that your primary customer base lives in is incredibly important.

If at all possible, you should always have representatives available during the peak hours of the time zones in which the majority of your clients reside. Hiring remote workers who can live chat throughout different time zones is one way to overcome this hurdle. Chatbot software can also be useful. Even though the average customer prefers to talk to a live person when surveyed, many said that the availability of a chatbot is better than nothing.

Treating your customer like a person and not just a means to make a profit is also very important to establishing consumer trust. Personalization is also becoming increasingly important to the modern consumer, and 59% of the customers polled in the Salesforce survey indicated that this was a factor for them.

After any purchase, customers expect to have real-time service available as soon as it’s needed. To increase trust with your customers, it’s a good idea to have multiple channels available through which they can reach you. Ideally, there should be customer service available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but this is not always realistic within a company’s budget. In these cases, a chatbot, a thorough FAQ section or knowledge base on your website is better than nothing.

How to Balance Personalization and Privacy

One dilemma that is often faced by companies is how to maintain the balance between privacy and personalization. In a survey by Verint Systems, 80% of customers claimed that they prefer it when a service comes customized to their specific needs and preferences. The ability to personalize service is dependent upon the collection of data, and therein lies the problem.

As we already discovered from the Salesforce results, 45% of customers feel confused as to how their data is being used, while a whopping 62% of customers say that they have less trust that companies will be able to keep their data safe than they did two years ago.

While this may seem like a difficult puzzle, the way to resolve it is actually quite simple. Through transparency in how data is collected and saved, as well as spelling out where it is going to be used, most customers concerns over privacy diminish, if not disappear entirely. The Salesforce report demonstrated this when 82% of consumers said that they’re willing to share their private information with a company in exchange for a better experience. It’s just important that they’re aware of how their data is being used to benefit them.

Transparency is also essential when it comes to how a client’s information is being stored. According to the analysis by Verint, 89% of customers would like to know the security measures in place that are keeping their data safe and secure.

Customers should also be made aware if their information will be passed on to any third parties, as the same Virent study showed that 86% of consumers would prefer to know when their data is being given out.

Another successfully used method of increasing customer trust when it comes to information is to give them control over what personal information will be collected and saved. A staggering 92% of customers state that having control over what data is collected dramatically increases their trust in a company.

Why Live Chat Is Such a Powerful Tool When It Comes to Developing Trust

The average response time by a customer service representative through social media is 10 hours or more, and by email, it’s usually longer, at over 12 hours!

In this day and age, where people more than ever before have grown accustomed to instant gratification, these wait times are not acceptable. This is where live chat software comes into play. With live chat software, the average response time is as low as two minutes or less. Live chat offers a similar experience to a telephone call – just one without the nasty IVR!

In fact, an Oracle study which analyzed global trends among consumers concluded that 90% of customers stated that merely the presence of a live chat option on a brands website improved their trust. Respondents said that the live chat button increased their faith that the company would be available for them if it ever became necessary.

Better than email or social media, live chat gives you the ability to instantaneously interact with a customer for any issues that they may have, solving problems as soon as they occur and preventing abandoned carts. What’s better is that unlike telephone calls or emails, using live chat a customer service representative can respond to multiple customers about more than one issue at the same time.

With live chat software, your customer service representatives can also include remote workers that are employed across multiple time zones. This way they’re able to be available for your customers 24 hours a day, every day.

Another way that you can use live chat to increase your customer’s trust is by emailing them any chat transcripts after any conversations that may take place. Giving the customer proof of the interaction helps to instill confidence that your company takes their problems seriously, and will work to resolve them.

Conclusion

As consumer trust continues to decrease, it’s more important than ever for companies to take whatever steps necessary to maintain confidence. This can be done in a number of ways, but what it mostly comes down to is the ability to be available for your customer.

Consumers want to know that the brand that they chose cares about their concerns, and is open to dealing with any potential issues that may arise. This is why live chat software is such an incredible tool. It’s able to establish customer trust in multiple ways. Just the very presence of a live chat option alone helps to increase a customer’s confidence that someone will be available should they need them.

If you have any experience using a live chat service or have any other business tips for increasing customer confidence and then please feel free to discuss it in the comments section below.

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About 

Hutch has been involved with the Internet and technology from the days of dial-up and has been involved in building and growing successful customer service and technical support teams globally. He has a deep and abiding passion for customers and is always looking for ways to make his teams as efficient and productive as possible. In his spare time, Hutch focuses on sharing his knowledge and enjoys spending time with his family. Connect with Hutch on LinkedIn.

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