21 must-have benefits of a live chat system
What is the biggest problem customers have when calling a company with a question or an issue?
Either waiting for the email to be replied (sometimes several hours, that is, if they will get a reply at all!) or waiting on the phone line to be connected with customer support, being unable to do anything else except listening to annoying background music.
Responding fast to a potential customer can convince them to buy the product they had doubts about, help them with registering an account on your website or simply making them happier by solving their issue in a flash.
Shouldn’t that be common sense?
It should be, but it’s not, unfortunately. On average, it takes businesses 44 hours to respond to an email complaint (while customers expect a response within 6 hours). 42% of social media users expect an answer to their issue within 60 minutes (the average response time is 10 hours).
And let’s not even talk about phone service – getting connected to the customer support and the right person on the first try is…hard to do.
It’s more likely you will fix the issue yourself (or abandon the shopping cart/signup page) before the customers’ service responds!
It’s a problem for companies too – if a customer is in doubt about buying a product or a service, a fast answer can convince him to purchase the product while slow response might end in the customer leaving to search for a company that will answer his doubts faster.
If a customer has a problem with the product, ignoring his attempts to contact with companies also leads to the customer abandoning the brand and complaining about it to his friends and relatives (how many stories about trying to call a customer service phone have you heard already?).
Is there a way to respond to customers questions and issues faster and more effectively?
Yes, there is – by using live chats.
What is a live chat?
A live chat is a website widget that allows your customers to talk with you or your sales reps when they have a question or a problem.
The most significant advantage of the live chat is that your customers can get a reply in much shorter time than if they used email or phone – all they need to do is to click on the chat widget!
For example, the Law Offices of Jay Knispel have a live chat option available that helps them close deals and improve their own conversion rate:
If you never thought about getting chat support on your page, you need to catch up.
Here’s a couple of stats to show you how incredibly useful a live chat is for having more customers, increasing conversion and making your customers happier!
- More than 30% of customers expect live chat on your website. For customers that visit your site on a mobile device, this number is as high as 62%. (Forrester)
- Live chat is expected to grow in popularity by as much as 87% in the next 12-18 months (CustomerThink)
- More than half of all customers prefer to chat with someone in real-time and online, rather than call a company for support. (Harris Research)
- 77% of customers won’t purchase on a website if there’s no live chat option available. (FurstPerson)
- 63% of customers were more likely to return to a website that offers live chat (Emarketer)
- There is a 10% increase in the average order value when reviewing the sales from customers who engaged in a chat before making a purchase, than those that did not use chat (Forrester)
- 79% of customers say they prefer live chat purely because of the immediacy it offers compared to other channels (Econsultancy).
Not yet? So have a look here!
22 benefits of a live chat system
#1 It’s easily accessible
Live chat is incredibly easy to use – customers visit your website, open the chat widget and launch a session.
No need to search for contact details, wait on the phone line or wait for an email reply.
#2 It’s convenient
One of the main reasons why customers like live chats are because live chats are very convenient.
They can use the live chat widget and solve their problem or get an answer to the question whenever they need and while doing other things. No need to waste time waiting on the phone, they can continue doing their work while being on the live chat.
#3 It boosts your conversions rate
A live chat widget makes shopping experiences much more comfortable.
With a live chat widget, you can offer your customers personalised help – questions about the product? Shipping issues? Need for a specific product?
A sales staff can answer all those inquiries and clear all doubts in a flash, and that will surely help you get more sales!
#4 Gives more options for the customer to contact you
The more options a customer has to contact you, the safer he feels – some of your customers hate using the phone. Some don’t have a social media account. Another group doesn’t have time for visiting your shop or waiting for an answer to their email.
A live chat tool is convenient for all of those customers: you get connected with a customer support staff without having to wait on the line (and getting more and more impatient because you can’t do anything else!), you don’t need a website account to use the chat widget, and you can get answer in a flash!
#5 Alerts to site errors
Live chat widget is handy when it comes to quickly fix a page error or helping a customer who can’t log in. Your new sales page leads to error 404? There’s a problem with the login page?
Or maybe the customer can’t make an account because the captcha isn’t visible? Instead of abandoning the page immediately, your customer can contact you directly and get your help in fixing the problem.
#6 Gives you tons of valuable data
Live chats can be a source of useful data for your business – with a pre-chat survey you can quickly get contact details and learn what the customers needs even before starting the session.
The sessions itself are also rich with information, which you can later use to give your customer a tailored service. And if you have a quick survey after finishing the session, you get valuable feedback from your customer about the level of customer satisfaction.
#7 It’s discreet
Have a customer with an issue or question that requires discretion? Or maybe angry customers want to talk with you immediately? Live chats are perfect for this – you can resolve the matter quickly, in a private talk.
Surely it’s much better to talk with an angry customer on a live chat window rather than having him vent on your public social media account right?
#8 It’s multilingual
Plenty of live chat systems offer the option of translating messages between different languages – incredibly useful for international companies.
Your customers type the message in the language they are most comfortable using while the live chat app automatically translates the messages into the language you are using.
The translations are not perfect, but it’s more than enough to deal with a majority of customers questions and issues.
#9 It’s cheap
Plenty of researches show that live chat is a much cheaper as a way to connect with your customers than a phone line. According to Forrester Research, live chat is at least 17–30% less expensive than traditional phone calls.
Compared to email or phone call, live chat is an incredibly fast way for your customers to their issues resolved.
Email and phone calls are quick too but only when your email get answered almost immediately (which is rarely happening) and when you manage to call the right person on the first try (which is even rarer). Live chats offer instant access to a real person.
#11 Easy to control
Live chats are very easy to monitor – all you need to do is to look at the session transcripts, the analytics and eventually the post-session feedback from the customer. Live chats make it much easier for you to monitor your sales agents and respond timely in case there is an urgent problem.
#12 Prevents cart abandonment
Do you have a problem with your customers being so close to buying a product from you only to turn back at the last minute?
By reaching out to your customers at the right time, with the right message (such as answering their doubts or giving them a handy discount coupon), you can convince your customers to buy the product instead of abandoning the cart.
#13 Makes your business more approachable
An often overlooked benefit of a live chat software is that it makes your business seem “closer” to the customers and thus helping with the engagement.
If a customer knows he can contact you whenever he needs and has plenty of options to do it, he is happier and trusting your company more. He’s also more likely to tell you when he has a question or an issue, rather than abandoning your company because he doubts he will get any help from you.
#14 Helps with giving tailored service to your customers
All live chats can seamlessly integrate with your CRM.
That means not only you have all the details about your customers right in your live chat system (and can offer service tailored to them), but your chat system can also automatically send the new data back to your CRM – about new leads, new customer contact details or customers feedback.
#15 It’s secure
Data security is of utmost importance in today’s world.
All data exchanged via live chat system is encrypted, the system can be set to be used only on specific IP’s number (for example, only for company’s computers), and you can also set the system to mask sensitive data such as credit card number – then, also last few digits will be shown.
For maximum security, a two-step login can be set to make sure no one except the agents can access the data.
#16 Makes agent work faster and more effectively
Sales agents can only handle one phone call at once, and if the matter is a complicated one, the agent can be busy for several minutes and not being able to do anything else.
Live chats are much more efficient to use – trained sale agent can handle 2-3 conversations at once (depending on the difficulty of the inquiry), meaning they can deliver faster customer service, to more customers and keep them happier.
#17 Saves agents time and energy
To help agents further save time and energy, pre-made “canned” responses are available. Why should your agents waste time on answering the same question several times?
If there’s a question often asked by customers, sales agents can prepare a canned response and send it to a customer in a few seconds instead of spending time on answering the question over and over again.
#18 Live chats have an inbuilt analytics tool
Whenever you need it, your chat software can provide you with detailed reports on live chat usage, sales agent performance, customer satisfaction, customers feedback and more.
All data is safely stored so you can access it anytime you need it and clearly organised, so you don’t need to waste time looking for metrics that matter the most.
#19 Allows for exchanging documents easily.
When a customer has a more complicated issue, there might be a need for him to provide additional documents to sales reps.
This is especially troublesome if a customer is on the phone and suddenly he needs access to email to forward the documents to the customer service.
Live chats have this covered too – the customer can simply use the chat window to send the needed documents straight to the sales rep he is talking with, to get his issue solved as quickly as possible.
#20 Helps with managing peak hours
Using live chat analytics feature, you can quickly notice when you get the most questions coming from your customers and when you should schedule more sales agent to the live chat to meet the demand.
No need for your customers to wait in a line anymore!
#21 Your customers love live chats and want you to use it
Because live chats are so comfortable, fast and convenient means of communication, more and more customers pick them as their prefered method of contact with a brand.
Live chat has the highest satisfaction levels for any customer service channel (73%), compared with email (61%) and phone (44%).
79% said it’s because they get their questions answered quickly, 51% because they could do other things while using the live chat and 46% because it was the most efficient communication method.
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Are there any cons of using live chats?
There’s no thing in the world without disadvantages, live chats have them too. There are a few things you need to have in mind if you want to add a live chat widget to your website and stay out of trouble.
Fast response is crucial
Customers love live chats because of how fast they can get their problem solved. But that also means they expect to be connected to an agent in minutes – if they have to wait too long for an agent to appear, they will leave and possibly not come back.
If your offer live chat help only during the working hours, make the information visible to your customers (for example, right to the chat widget or in the pre-session window)
Don’t go overboard with canned responses
As useful as the scripted responses are, don’t use them too often. Canned responses are annoying many of the customers (especially if the response is not related to the reason why your customers contact you).
It’s okay to use them for answering basic questions but to deal with more complicated customers issues or to talk with angry customers you need to have a real person behind the live chat.
Don’t try to replace phone communication with live chats
Live chats, while seen as easy to use and fast by many customers, are still for the more “computer savvy” people. Some customers might not like the chat window or don’t know how to use it and prefer to use the phone as it’s easier for them. It’s definitely a bad idea to abandon phone lines entirely or send the majority of your agents to live chat support while neglecting the phone line.
Keep an eye on your bots!
In case you are using a chatbot, you must triple-check are they appropriately configured and keep an eye on them.
While using chatbots is convenient for companies (a bot can work 24/7 and deal with several clients simultaneously), it takes a mere second for the programming to go awry and you risk of infuriating the customer if they get the same response three times in a row or get a solution to a different issue than they actually have because the bot send wrong answers to wrong customers!
If you’re in the mood to try a live chat software, there’s plenty of tools for you to use – free and paid ones, simple tools and robust system, for small companies and enterprises.
To get the best one for your needs, it would be a good idea to sit with your team and discuss what options do you have and what needs to you have.
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