As a customer, it is always reassuring to know there is a human being ready to assist me with questions and issues. But often, trying to reach a live human at a company is a colossal task, leading customers to give up and go elsewhere in frustration.
Live chat changes all that – eliminating the wait times, impatience and complication of navigating a phone IVR system to reach a customer service rep or having to wait hours or days to receive a response to an email. Live chat is immediate, requires little effort on both the business and customer facing sides, and offers an inexpensive and simple means to provide customers with a high level of service and support, one that will improve their experience tremendously.
Adding live chat to your website or customer service interface is relatively simple and costs very little compared to setting up a help desk with telephone customer support. According to live chat specialists Provide Support, the average live chat session cost is roughly $1, compared to phone-based customer service, which can range from $6 to $20 per session. Live chat also gives agents the ability to manage multiple chat sessions simultaneously, thereby helping multiple customers in a very short period of time. And that clearly leads to productivity increases as well as more satisfied customers who don’t have to wade through tedious phone queues to reach a live person.
We recently discussed why improving the customer experience yields measurable payback in terms of customer satisfaction, recommendations and reduced churn. Keeping your customers happy gives your organization a huge advantage over your competitors and live chat is a way you can differentiate your company and brand. Forrester Research (News - Alert) has actually analyzed customer experience metrics to determine correlation with positive business factors, and the firm also examined what customers deem important when visiting a website. They found that 44 percent of online consumers rate a website’s ability to answer their queries while in the middle of making a purchase, via a live person, as the most important feature of a website. Live chat does exactly that, extending the convenience of an in-store shopping experience to the Web at a ridiculously low cost comparatively.
Speaking of competitive differentiation and branding, customers will remember you if you provide them with a positive customer experience. It’s really that simple, and one of your main goals as a business should be to deepen your customer relationships. Of course you accomplish this through repeat customers, but also through word of mouth via recommendations and positive ratings and reviews, as well as social media. Live chat makes it easy and inexpensive to maintain and deepen existing customer relationships while promoting goodwill to potential customers. And that’s a major competitive edge.
Finally, live chat gives you a competitive edge and an improved overall customer experience because it’s fast. No one enjoys waiting in line, and phone queues and hold times are the customer service equivalent of standing in line in order to speak to a human. Live chat completely eliminates that frustration, letting your customers know that you care and want to answer their questions quickly and efficiently. Customers walk away happier and your company gets a reputation for quick and friendly customer service.
With all of its benefits, low cost and ease of implementation, live chat is practically a no brainer when it comes to improving the customer experience and boosting support. There are clearly measurable returns from the customer end along with productivity increases and cost savings on the back end. Live chat gives you an edge over competitors as well as major reputation points overall, making it a worthwhile technology investment.
Edited by Maurice Nagle