For decades, companies have relied on contact center support to answer customer questions and resolve issues quickly – but the times, they are a’changing. And while the tidal shift toward online communications has added email and social media support to the mix, no channel has proven more efficient or resonated more strongly with customers than live chat.
Live chat meets online users where they are, providing instant assistance while a customer is contained within the online ecosystem. Given that 77% of consumers look for answers online before calling1, the ability to get quick information without leaving the keyboard helps to improve the customer experience. In fact, chat has the highest satisfaction rating among all customer service channels, with 73% of online consumers giving it the thumbs up2. Why so beloved? Let’s take a look at the benefits:
- Convenience – Average customer wait times generally are much shorter than when calling into a contact center, and customers can multitask while waiting for a response.
- Connectedness – Tools like co-browse and co-view that let agents see the customer’s screen can help them troubleshoot issues and move users past a sticking point more quickly.
- Accuracy – Live chat makes it easy for agents and customers to share SKU numbers, account information, confirmation codes and other important data via text, reducing the likelihood of errors.
- Proactiveness — Serving up special offers via chat to loyal customers or offering chat assistance when a customer needs assistance demonstrates a high level of care.
Research shows that customers are equally receptive to chat as a marketing tool as they are to using it for online support, and chat has been shown to drive customer loyalty. Consider these facts:
- 44% of online consumers3 say that having questions answered by a live person while in the middle of an online purchase is one of the most important features a website can offer.
- 77% of e-commerce shoppers4 say they have wanted to speak with a live person prior to making a purchase online.
- 62% of consumers say5 they are more likely to make another purchase from a website that offers live chat.
Live chat offers a number of benefits to e-commerce businesses and other companies. Online support tools enable the capture of valuable consumer data, such as last page viewed and common questions, that can reveal opportunities to improve the user experience. In addition, agents’ ability to handle multiple conversations simultaneously reduces average interaction costs. Equally important, offering live chat can increase conversion rates and reduce abandonment, since 57% of online consumers say that they are very likely to walk away from their purchase6 if they can’t quickly find an answer to their questions.
Chat is increasingly relevant and valuable as a support channel; it provides an opportunity to maximize customer experience by engaging users who might otherwise have left your website without ever asking for help. And that’s something worth talking about.