Starting with Live Chat: Strategy and Planning

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Chapter 2

Benefits of Live Chat

When it comes to benefiting your business, live chat outranks all other support channels. Let’s explore these benefits now:

Reduced Expenses

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.

Increased Sales

There are several 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 helps 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 a purchase than those who don’t.

These numbers make one thing abundantly clear: live chat is effective. 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.

Improved Customer Service and Loyalty

To help you get a better understanding of how much customers appreciate access to live chat, consider the eDigital Customer Service Benchmark survey of 2,000 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.

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.

Discover Customer Pain Points

The Internet Revolution and new digital marketing has brought about many new business terms, 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 that may have gone unsolved and find effective ways to address and resolve them. This is one of the greatest benefits of live chat.

Faster Problem Resolutions

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 link the visitor to the appropriate document or content directly.

This is something that cannot be done 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.

Customer Convenience

At the end of the day, the overall quality of your product or service is usually the biggest factor of your business’ success. However, easily accessible, quality customer support is 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 spending, more often.

Competitive Advantages

A 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), chances are good that you will have a distinct advantage over your competition in terms of support access as well as more opportunities to engage your website visitors proactively and make more sales.

As time passes, more companies are implementing live chat technology on their websites. Therefore, if you want to start distinguishing your company from the competition — and gain more business in the process — the time to implement live chat on your sites is now rather than later.

Expand Market Reach

If yours is like most businesses, then your store 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 can access easily online.

While the Internet can help you expand your reach far beyond your local area, just having a website doesn’t necessarily mean that visitors will feel comfortable placing orders on it. However, if your site has a live chat function, even customers who are far from your physical location can contact you instantly to make inquiries or arrange purchases. This is especially useful for international visitors, who may be charged expensive calling rates when trying to reach your company by phone.

Offering live chat support 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, go ahead and give that person the same welcome and consideration that you would give to someone who has stopped by your office or store!

Proactive Outreach

Live chat’s ability to allow your visitors and customers to reach you instantly cannot be stressed enough. However, it is the proactive outreach abilities that live chat affords your business that make it truly powerful.

Advanced 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 can potentially convert more browsers into buyers.

Reports and Analytics

With email support, you have a record of the messages sent between you and your customers or others that make inquiries. This provides a limited degree of accountability and the ability to review staff performance.

With phone support, reviewing staff performances can be difficult unless you record all calls and have time to listen to at least some of the conversations.

With advanced live chat systems, 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 the following:

  • How many visitors your website (or websites) receives.
  • How many chat requests are accepted or ignored.
  • Several visitor metrics (visitor location, what the visitor searched to find your site, etc.) that can help you better implement marketing strategies to draw more traffic.

With the information extracted from chat histories, visitor tracking, and relevant reports, you can easily monitor agent and website performance, and implement change as needed.

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