Live chat 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. Live chat functionality is convenient and useful for customers, offering instant responses without the need to make a phone call.
Live chat can be an invaluable tool for businesses, offering many advantages over other modes of customer service communication. Instant messaging creates a more personalised experience for the customer, building trust and understanding between consumers and the business. A high functioning live chat service can help to build a brand’s reputation for quality customer service, demonstrating a company’s ability to offer assistance and the many options they offer to customers wanting to get in touch.
Additionally, for customers experiencing problems with a product or service, live chat software can assist to quickly trouble-shoot these issues. Customer service agents can interact with customers in real time to efficiently gain an understanding of the problem and work to find a solution. Finally, because live chat software can save all past interactions with clients, it allows businesses to gather data about customer sentiment regarding their brand, products or services. Managers can also review chat histories for further employee training and quality control.
Benefits of Live Chat Software
There are many benefits to using live chat software in customer service. Modern consumers appreciate fast communication, and live chat software reduces the first response time to under 3 minutes for most organisations across industries. Customers want to be able to contact companies in a variety of ways, so having the option to visit a company’s website and chat with a customer service agent, rather than making a phone call, is very appealing for customers.
Most customers will experience the same issues and have the same questions; it is inefficient for customer service agents to provide the same information over the phone multiple times a day. However, live chat software can be programmed to easily transfer customers to help documents, FAQs and more. This limits the need for live agent intervention, freeing up these agents for more complex interactions.
Consumers have shown that they want companies to have an understanding of their needs and circumstances, without needing to explain their problem or situation to multiple customer service agents. An advantage of live chat software is that it preserves past chat history and stores context for agents to access and continue conversations. This means that even ongoing issues can be addressed quickly without the need for repetitive questions.
Unlike during a customer service phone call, live chat software allows agents to send and share rich media files, such as images, videos or GIFs. This gives customers context and helps explain concepts that are difficult to convey via text or voice only. Customers are generally comfortable with live chat software as it closely mimics other messaging apps, and this feeling of familiarity can create a more friendly and personal feel than other methods of customer engagement.
Finally, live chat software offers advantages in its affordability and the ease with which businesses can begin using this software. There is no need for complex IT work or infrastructure, making it easy to introduce to a business.
Key Features to Look for in Live Chat Software
When purchasing live chat software, there are certain features that businesses should prioritise. Because customers want to engage with companies through a variety of convenient channels, it’s important that live chat software is linked to these other customer service tools for cross-channel functionality and a more complete view of the customer. Integration with the company’s CRM and other business applications is vital for creating a highly personalised and streamlined experience for customers.
Live chat software should be easy to use for both customers visiting a company’s website, and for the customer service agents using the software on a daily basis. Preferably, the software will assist in training new agents by offering response suggestions and making all relevant information easily available. It can also store ideal communication examples for coaching purposes.
Business owners looking to purchase live chat software should consider the level of customisation offered by the software. Customers are more likely to give repeat business to companies that offer a superior customer service experience that is tailored to their individual needs. Features that create a better experience for customers include personalised responses and the ability to send files such as images or video using the chat functionality.
Finally, some live chat software will offer advanced analytics that allow managers to monitor the success of their customer service interactions. Analytics, such as first contact resolution time, greatly assist a business in understanding their performance. This can lead to improved quality and growth of a customer service team over time.