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The Live Chat Buyer’s Guide: What to Look for and How to Ask

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Chapter 1

The Top 5 Benefits of Live Chat

From your call center to your sales team, live chat comes with a long list of benefits. Here’s a run-down of the top five.

1. Lower Service Delivery Costs

In 2012, research by Aberdeen Group revealed that companies could save as much as 50% of their support costs by adding live chat to traditional phone support. The primary reason is that live chat operators can handle multiple customer inquiries, whereas phone operators cannot. Add Natural Language Understanding AI and the ratio of customers to agents increases even more. And don’t forget that the fixed and variable costs associated with phone support – hardware and toll charges – far outweigh an investment in web-based live chat.

Companies can save as much as 50% on support costs with live chat versus using traditional phone support. - Aberdeen Group


2. Increased Sales

A recent study by the American Marketing Association revealed that live chat on e-commerce sites can increase conversion rates by 20% or more by helping customers get answers to their questions faster and removing buying objections (Agent: “You’re looking at our most popular sea kayak. I can tell you five reasons why our customers choose this one over other models.”)

What’s more, visitors using live chat are 3 times more likely to buy than non-chat visitors. The more direct, personal interaction tears down buying barriers and can even simplify transactions if your chat window can process payments (in full PCI compliance, of course).

It’s obvious with these numbers that live chat is effective, and that’s true for a number of reasons. Since 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. Being able to answer questions about your products or services, provide recommendations or extend a simple proactive invite to chat may be just the little push a visitor needs to make a purchase.

Live chat helps increase conversions by at least 20%; the typical ROI rate from paid software for sales teams is about 300%. - American Marketing Association


3. Customers Want to Engage via Live Chat

Properly staffed and configured, live chat gives you the ability to engage with visitors 24/7. Even if you don’t keep your call center open around the clock, you can leverage powerful AI and use chatbots to listen to, understand, and respond to customer inquiries.

Let’s face it – no one wants to call or send an email anymore, certainly not the emerging Millennial generation and beyond. Just ask FedEx, where 74% of customers will use another channel before making a voice call1. Chances are high your customers are there too, or well on their way.

Chat: not always live but always on, and thanks to AI, always ready with the right answers.

4. Attain Higher Customer Satisfaction Ratings

According to the latest Customer Service Benchmark results from eDigitalResearch, consumers rated live chat highest compared to any other customer service touch point: 73%, compared to 61% for email and 44% for phone. 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 Buyer's Guide

Being able to “push” links to help or training documents quickly via the chat window makes for a better service experience, not to mention faster issue resolution. Even better, why not co-browse and let you agent walk the customer right to the information they seek?

Doing this via email introduces significant lag and a poorer experience. Trying to do it by phone is a virtual non-starter (remember the last time you tried helping your parents find something on their tablet?)

Live chat is a simple and highly effective method for improving both customer service and loyalty.

5. Differentiate Your Offering

Live chat is emerging as a critical customer experience channel across many verticals, from e-commerce to banking to higher education and beyond. But in terms of adoption, it’s still has minority status. By making the move to live chat now, you can position your organization as a thoughtful customer experience leader and start taking advantage of the all the benefits mentioned above before your competitors.

If you’d like another opinion on the benefits of live chat, read this post in digitaldoughnut.com.