14, February 2017
The world is changing and with each passing moment, the changes are manifold. As smart technology keeps increasing, customer behavior also keeps changing. Customers are becoming savvier than ever before. According to eMarketer internet adoption will surpass the halfway mark in 2018, when 51.1% of the world’s population will go online, equating to 3.82 billion people. With growing adoption of the internet, there is a change in customer attitude. Everything is turning into “I want it now”. Customers are no longer patient. They expect instant replies to their queries and if they don’t get the answers, they are ready to switch over to competition with just a click of a button. So instead of relying on traditional mediums of communication, organizations have to make use of ‘Live Chat’, one of the trends in customer support. While live chat has been around for quite sometime it was only used as chat rooms in the early days of the internet. Now it has become a powerful tool to provide differentiated customer experience.
For any contact center, it is important that the customer problems are immediately attended to in order to avoid customer churn. Live chat is one such powerful tool that enables agents to handle concurrent communications with the end users. Thus, an agent can provide faster resolutions to customer queries and concerns in real-time. Let us now look at some of the benefits of live chat.
1) Reduced wait times – Usually when a customer calls the contact center, that call is put on hold. Depending on the availability of the agent, the wait time varies. Longer wait times lead to customer frustration and call abandonment. However, with live chat, wait times are less or almost nil as the customer is able to connect with an agent immediately.
2) Faster resolution to complex issues – One of the advantages of live chat is that it provides faster resolution to complex issues. On the phone, if a customer has a query that is complex, the agent will invariably transfer the call to another agent or supervisor as he/she is unable to provide the answer the customer expects. However, with live chat, as multiple agents can answer at the same time, even complex issues get sorted easily. There are no hold times, dropped calls or frustrating transfers.
3) Better call handling – While a phone agent can handle only one customer at a time, live chat facilitates a skilled agent to handle multiple sessions with many customers. This also reduces turnaround time.
4) Lowers operational cost – The cost involved in implementing a live chat solution is very low. Moreover, the cost per interaction is low when compared to other communication mediums such as emails or phone. It also decreases phone cost and the cost of hiring additional agents.
5) Increases customer satisfaction – According to a survey conducted by Econsultancy, 73% of customers were satisfied after using live chat, higher than any other form of customer support such as email, telephone or social media. In another study conducted by Forrester, 44% of the respondents said that having a live person answer their questions while they were in the middle of an online purchase was one of the most important features a website could offer. Higher customer satisfaction rates lead to higher customer conversions.
6) Easier to provide customized service – Live chat offers greater scope for personalization. A chat agent can quickly browse through the database and look at customer history, purchasing power, preferences, and then quickly provide the information that the customer is looking for.
7) Reduces negative impressions – Usually, when a customer is dissatisfied, they vent their anger through a social Live chat, has the possibility of reducing customer dissatisfaction as customers get an instant reply to their queries. Customer pain points are discussed at length and necessary steps are taken to address the issues.
8) Help in upsell /cross-sell – This is a great way to up the sales ante. After an effective query resolution, agents can upsell or cross-sell related products and offerings. Unlike phone conversations, which are relatively kept short, chat conversations can make a user comfortable. Agents can be ‘influential’ and help users in their decision-making. The more comfortable the user becomes, the more likely he/she is to make additional purchases.
9) Edge over competition – While customers prefer using live chats, most organizations do not offer a live chat facility on their website. By doing so, organizations can gain an edge over their competitors.
While online chat should not replace your traditional phone/email systems, businesses that look to provide an engaging customer relationship should look towards utilizing live chat.