Live Chat: What It Is and Why It’s Useful

Live Chat: What It Is and Why It’s Useful

While improvements in technology have led to greater convenience, they also cause norms and customs to change, especially around communication. This has created a need for adaptation in both interpersonal circles as well as professional ones. Today, many people also suffer from phone phobia and prefer to socialize or conduct business nonverbally via text or email.

How can businesses meet customers’ expectations of being easily contactable while also adapting to their preferred methods of communication? Live chat support is one solution.

What Is Live Chat?

Live chat involves exchanging messages over the internet in real time. Such communications can be used to provide information about and troubleshoot problems with the products a company produces or sells. What makes live chat different from having a social media customer support account?

Firstly, live chat services appear on a company’s website as opposed to a separate app or server such as Twitter or Facebook. Live chat is also free of the distractions that accompany social media chatting features like direct messaging. This is because live chat has a single purpose: connecting companies and customers.

With the importance of speedy service only increasing, the ‘live’ part of live chat is growing in importance, too. As opposed to messaging applications or built-in communications options on social media platforms, with a chat service customers are promised minimal wait time and rapid responses. Even those who are not phone-averse should appreciate this fast service.

How Effective Is Live Chat?

Although this option may sound good, it’s better to do research before making any decision on implementation. Thankfully, existing data has revealed that live chat support is indeed an effective method of customer service. In fact, according to a 2019 Forbes report, in recent years customers have been happier with this method of communication than ever, and in 2018 over 80% of customers were reportedly satisfied after using live chat support. There are further benefits to using live chat support.

Many companies have frequently asked questions or other problem-shooting resources available on their websites. However, even the most internet-savvy of people sometimes overlook these tools, especially when the issue that they’re facing is urgent, expensive, or otherwise stressful. With live chat, customer support representatives can easily redirect consumers toward the relevant information or pages by simply copying and pasting the links into the chat.

This has the triple benefits of saving time and money as well as ensuring customer satisfaction with effective service. Another bonus is that live chat customer support can be performed almost anywhere, and multiple chats can happen at one time, allowing for greater employee flexibility and efficiency as well as creating even shorter wait times for consumers.

How Do You Choose a Live Chat Service?

As the saying goes, we only have one chance to make a good first impression. There are several steps businesses should take before deciding on a particular live chat provider and product. Firstly, it is important to have data about website traffic and overall usage available so as to better understand how much information the live chat service should be able to handle.

Knowing this information will also allow businesses to be able to plan where on their websites to implement live chat support. Customers being unable to access or find customer support features will only lead to frustration for everyone. Having a working knowledge of how consumers utilize websites can help avoid bad rollouts as well as prevent frustration caused by user error.

It is also important to understand the gap in current customer service methods and what the desired outcome of a new method would be. For instance, is the goal to connect on a more person-to-person level, or simply handle greater numbers of consumers and shore up the existing customer service apparatus? The answer to these questions may influence a business’ decision as to which live chat support software best meets their needs. Another way to answer these questions is by asking consumers directly, either at the end of a customer service experience or through a general survey.

The Take-Away

Although there is much to consider when choosing a new method of customer service, the effort of adapting to and implementing live chat customer support can be worth it.