Live chat support is an instantaneous messaging service that allows businesses to engage with visitors to their website in real time. It can be used to initiate conversations with first-time website visitors, to interact with returning customers, and to support users who may be experiencing problems. Many businesses around the world use live chat to drive sales and improve the customer service experiencece.
Live chat can assist a business to provide more personalised customer interactions. Customers feel better supported and that their preferences are understood, as operators can easily see previous conversations on the live chat channel and instantly know the background of an interaction.
Queries are also responded to more quickly, with the added benefit of self-help solutions built into live chat programs so that many customers can receive an answer to their question before a live agent is available.
Finally, live chat can help a business to learn more about customer sentiment around their brand, products or services. The feedback offered through live chat messaging is invaluable to businesses, which can struggle to find out what their customers are really thinking.
Benefits of Live Chat Software
There are many benefits to using live chat software applications to improve customer service. Live chat offers a fast, convenient solution for customers, while simultaneously streamlining operations for live agents and allowing them to provide better service.
The modern customer wants to be able to get in touch with a business at any time of the day or night – not just during standard business hours. Additionally, many global businesses have customers all around the world.
Live chat engagement reduces the first response time to under 3 minutes for most organisations across industries. Customers can contact a business at any time of the day and receive a response. Businesses can choose to allow for self-help responses outside of operating times, or have a cloud-based group of live agents working around the clock.
Many businesses have received feedback that their customers don’t like having to spend time on the phone speaking with a customer service representative. Live-chat customer service allows customers to do other things – like browsing the internet, looking at social media, and even working – while using the live chat functionality. This appeals to customers far more than waiting on the phone for a live agent, and it ensures that when an agent does speak to a customer, they are less likely to be irritated or antagonistic.
Most modern consumers spend time chatting online to friends, colleagues and relatives. Live chat software mimics other messaging apps and feels familiar to modern consumers, creating a more friendly and personal feel than other methods of customer engagement.
Live chat can be programmed to easily transfer customers to help documents, FAQs and more to limit the need for live customer service agent intervention. Most queries have a simple and easy answer, and customers appreciate having the ability to quickly be sent to the instructions to fix their own problem, rather than wait for a live agent.
Live chat preserves past chat history and stores context for agents to access and continue conversations, so customers don’t need to repeat the same information if they are passed on to a different customer service agent. This often is a cause of frustration for customers during phone calls and other interactions.
Live chat customer service allows agents to send and share rich media files, such as images, videos or GIFs. This gives customers context and helps explain concepts, especially for products that are computer based or online.
Implementing Live Chat Software For Improving Customer Experience
If you are ready to implement live chat support in your organisation, there are some questions to consider to ensure that your choice in live chat software best caters for the needs of your customers. Some common considerations before purchasing live chat functionality include:
- Should live chat be offered across our customers and products/services, or for specific ones?
- How can we personalise our live chat to keep it in line with brand identity?
- How will live chat integrate with our existing customer service?
- How will our customer service team use live chat and what training will they need?
While live chat offers a multitude of benefits for improving the customer service experience, it is vital that the software is understood and used well. Businesses should look for features in live chat products that make it easy to use for agents within the business and for customers and end-users.
Personalised live chat offers the advantage of contributing to your brand awareness and ensuring that customers always know when they are online with your business. There is a balance to strike between adding your own touch to the software, and ensuring it continues to be a familiar format that mimics common messaging services. Always consider the level of customisation offered by software.
Some campaigns and products may also require specific and targeted automatic messages. Make sure it is easy to add these and then remove them at the end of a campaign.
Finally, consider the analytics and reporting functionality of a product. Analytics allows a business to discover how live chat is being used, where it can be improved, and how customers are responding.