According to eDigital’s Customer Service Benchmark report, customers enjoy live chat more than any other customer service channel. In fact, live chat has the highest customer satisfaction levels, at 73%, compared with 61% for email and 44% for phone.
Think about it. There are often times when you have to wait 10 minutes ‘in line’ just to speak to someone over the phone. Aren’t there more productive things you could be doing with your time? Live chat eliminates that waste of time for customers – and everyone can appreciate that.
Personally, I love live chat. Whenever I need to contact a service provider, I prefer to use live chat because it’s often during my business hours and I can multi-task by responding to emails while waiting for the live chat representative. This makes the experience more enjoyable, convenient and productive.
Let’s explore three reasons why live chat must be considered in your customer experience strategy.
1. Live chat provides an instant response
In today’s busy world, we want instant responses to our questions and problems. For example, when we research products before we make a purchase, we often have questions for sales and support teams.
Unfortunately, waiting times to get a customer service rep on the phone, automated answering services and being put on hold for long periods of time can get be infuriatingly frustrating. Furthermore, waiting 24 hours for a response via a ‘ticket system’ or email is not fast enough.
That’s where live chat can add the most value to your customer experience. It offers a customer service channel that gives customers instant responses to their questions and problems. You want to be able to help quickly or your customer might look to competitors for answers. Can you afford to miss out on new business because you can’t offer fast responses to customer inquiries?
Let’s look at an example from online retailer, Best Buy:
Instead of searching the internet or driving to a store to find answers to their questions, live chat offers an opportunity to keep the customer on the Best Buy website and give them the information they need quickly. This gives Best Buy the chance to demonstrate strong product knowledge, show that they are willing to go the extra mile and provide a high level of service so the customer can be confident in receiving amazing service moving forward.
Live chat offers tremendous value to Best Buy. It creates a customer experience that customers find useful, valuable and convenient.
2. Live chat is engaging, interactive and useful
Phone calls and emails offer very little engagement and interaction between the company and the customer.
Live chat gives you the ability to create an experience that goes beyond the traditional customer service channel. Tools like Olark let you co-browse a customer’s computer screen so you can walk them through a checkout page or help them set up an account. Here’s a quick screenshot to show how cobrowsing works with Olark:
Olark also has a ‘cartsaver’ feature that can sync with your existing ecommerce platform and tell you exactly what products a customer has in their shopping cart. This type of data helps you provide a better level of service to your customers. For example, let’s pretend we are Best Buy and a customer has a custom gaming laptop in their shopping cart.
When the customer selects live chat, we can specifically transfer this chat to a sales rep that understands gaming laptops so they can provide the best possible pre-sales support. A truly bad customer experience would be having to transfer the customer to another sales rep for answers or spending 15 unnecessary minutes looking up an answer. No one wants that!
Best Buy can use the co-browsing feature inside live chat software to quickly solve complex problems. For example, if the customer was having troubles customizing the laptop to meet their specifications, the live chat rep could co-browse and walk the customer through the process. This makes the experience seamless and easy.
If the issue being discussed becomes a bit too complicated to resolve via live chat, you can quickly escalate the inquiry to a phone call without the customer having to wait through the phone queue.
3. Live chat offers a personalized experience
Imagine if you could quickly access a prospective customer’s name, location, past purchases and past customer inquiries all from a single dashboard while you’re answering a new inquiry. This type of personalization is possible with live chat because you can sync it with your helpdesk and customer relationship management (CRM) tools. Check out the sort of customer data available to you:
Now instead of customers spending five minutes giving you all of their personal information, you can automatically pull it all up and provide support tailored to their specific needs. If we look at the Best Buy example again, let’s picture a customer who begins a live chat by stating, “I’m looking for a new computer.”
By using any available past data, the sales rep can address the customer by first name and see the specific location from which the inquiry is being made. They can build rapport with a sports- or location-related conversation and continue to look at what type of computer the customer has purchased in the past and what their budget was. If the customer previously bought a MacBook in the high-budget range, then the sales rep can suggest the latest MacBook model knowing that they’d probably like to stick with a similar operating system. This type of personalization shows that you care about the customer and leads to higher customer satisfaction and stronger customer loyalty.
Don’t ignore your customers’ preferred customer service channel
I challenge you to consider live chat as an additional customer service channel inside your business. It’s been proven that customers prefer live chat to telephone and email because it’s easier, faster and more engaging. When used correctly and in conjunction with other channels, it offers a better customer experience. Why neglect a customer service channel that your customers love? Listen to your customers and improve the customer experience with live chat.
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