This article originally appeared on The Next Web
Great customer support can be summed up in one goal: make it easy for customers to get their problem solved quickly and painlessly. Out of all the customer support channels available—phone, email, social or chat—live chat is by far the fastest, simplest and least obtrusive. So it is no surprise that nearly a third of consumers now expect live chat to be available for contacting a business.
Customers prefer live chat for many of the same reasons we all enjoy chat in our personal lives—it’s quick, familiar and private (no more awkward phone calls on the morning commute). Most importantly, it’s convenient. Customers are able to carry on checking email, working, and even eating while maintaining a conversation. It’s customer service that fits into their lifestyle.
It’s not only customers who feel the benefits of live chat. Businesses are realizing that using live chat can increase sales, boost revenue and help gather valuable consumer insights. For all of these reasons, the use of live chat as a customer service channel has increased and continues to grow. With increased adoption, comes increased customer satisfaction.
Customers report their highest satisfaction rates on live chat (73 percent) as compared to traditional platforms like email (61 percent) and phone (44 percent). That’s good for business—brand loyalty is born from satisfied customers.
Two live chat services that are leading the market are Zopim and LivePerson. Zopim is an affordable, feature-rich, easy-to-use choice and offers a variety of plans from Lite to Advanced and Premium. Zopim offers a multitude of live chat features that help increase customer satisfaction and sales including: triggers, departments, shortcuts, visitor profiles, chat ratings, multi-language support, analytics dashboards and more.
Getting started requires little more than embedding the live chat script into your website and activating Zopim. If you’re using the Zopim-Zendesk integration, you can also add Zopim Chat to your Help Center.
For more bespoke implementations, LivePerson is a solid alternative for larger enterprise customers. LivePerson offers the ability to tailor your digital campaign in greater detail which can be useful for a company with complex targeting needs. The pricing plan is different from most, LivePerson sells LiveEngage by the engagement: one engagement = one active chat (mobile or web) or one banner click.
With affordable—and free—products available, there is little risk to test out a live chat integration in your support solution. If you’re still undecided though, consider these five business benefits:
1. Conversations lead to conversions
Live chat does more than provide on-demand support—it converts customers. A whopping 77 percent of online shoppers want to contact a real person before buying. When combined with customized triggers and real-time visitor monitoring, proactive chats are a powerful measure against shopping cart abandonment.
Especially for the 55 percent of customers who are likely to abandon their online purchase if they cannot find a quick answer to their question. Additionally, recent Forrester research found that 44 percent of consumers 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.
2. Live chat increases agent efficiency
When agents are empowered to handle multiple customer conversations at once, they’re able to resolve several issues concurrently, rather than being forced to handle one call at a time. Chat agents can engage in as many as six simultaneous chats, depending on the complexity of the issues involved.
Additionally, with the use of triggers, agents can save on repetitive typing by setting up time-saving shortcuts like automatic greetings for customer on the site longer than 30 seconds or personalized messages activated by customer behavior such as lingering on a single product or pricing page.
3. Your support team gets more support
Agents can chat each other with helpful tips at the same time they are serving your customers. That means issues are resolved more efficiently because of internal knowledge sharing. If your business offers multiple product lines, you can also set up triggers that will automatically route your customers to the agents specializing in that product before they even start to chat—saving both your agents and customers effort.
Unlike email, chat also allows for in-the-moment support to upset customers. An agent can quickly assist a disgruntled customer via chat before the issue escalates or extends to more public channels like social media—with voice or email support, this opportunity could be lost.
4. More customer insights at your fingertips
Get to know your customers better with data provided by live chat software. Live chat delivers valuable data about customer behavior, location, and devices which can help target your marketing and support efforts.
Live chat also offers an additional channel for collecting customer feedback and a valuable opportunity to ask visitors pointed questions to help you identify the best sales approach. It’s an easy and inexpensive way for visitors to evaluate their experience and offer suggestions for improving your customer service.
5. Increased marketing opportunities
Everyone appreciates being noticed as an individual—online shoppers are no different. As a marketing tool, chat offers new opportunities to push out targeted incentives and offers. By using triggers or alerts that indicate when a VIP or repeat customer arrives on your website, agents can make more relevant marketing offers via live chat.
Plus, using live chat encourages customers to linger on your site, increasing the chance that they will purchase more items. One study showed that live chat increased average order value by 19 percent. On top of all these benefits, live chat is also less expensive—typically half the cost of a call center.
While adding another channel might sound like a complicated undertaking, the truth is that implementing live chat software is simple. In most cases, all you’ll need is a subscription to a live chat platform and some lightweight code on your website. Also, because of the popularity of live chat, online training videos and best-practice guidelines are plentiful.
Within a short time and with relatively little effort, your business can provide high-quality customer service via live chat and reap the benefits that come with increased customer satisfaction.
Image credit: Shutterstock
This article was written by Royston Tay from The Next Web and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.