For decades, companies have relied on partnerships with contact center outsourcing providers to handle customer questions and resolve issues quickly—but the times, they are a changin’. As the tidal shift toward digital, non-voice methods of communication continues, no channel has resonated more strongly with customers than live chat; in fact, a recent report found that demand for live chat features on company websites grew by 8.3% in 2017.1
Live chat allows businesses to connect in real-time with visitors on their website. This robust channel meets online users where they are, providing instant assistance while the customer is immersed in that online ecosystem. The ability to get information quickly without leaving the keyboard is a key benefit; of those who utilize Live Chat, 79% do so because of the efficient nature of the platform.2
In fact, chat has the highest satisfaction rating among all customer service channels, with 73% of online consumers giving it the thumbs up.3 Why so beloved? Here are four great reasons why customers embrace this customer service channel.
#1: More convenient than drive-thru coffee
Average customer wait times are generally much shorter in live chat than when calling in to a support line, and customers can multitask while waiting for a response. The average response time is 2 minutes and 40 seconds, with the fastest response time being 7 seconds4—compared to nearly 7 minutes of wait time when calling in to a contact center.5
#2: More connected than an Instagram Influencer
Customer service reps using Live Chat can co-browse (view a customer’s screen); this lets them see in real-time what they need to in order to troubleshoot the customer’s online issues with speed and efficiency.6
#3: More accurate than a laser-guided missile
Live chat makes it easy for agents and customers to share SKU numbers, general account information, confirmation codes and other important textual data—reducing the likelihood of errors.
#4: More proactive than a devoted butler
Live Chat lets agents serve up special offers to loyal customers or offer assistance; meanwhile a live preview of what the customer is typing provides agents with in-depth insights—before the customer has even finished typing!6
Research shows that customers are as equally receptive to chat as a marketing tool as they are to use it for online support, and chat has been shown to drive customer loyalty. Consider these facts:
- 44% of online consumers7 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.
- 79% of customers say they prefer live chat purely because of the immediacy it offers compared to other channels.8
- 63% of consumers say9 they are more likely to make another purchase from a website that offers live chat.
Live chat offers several 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 can reduce average interaction costs. Equally important, offering live chat can increase conversion rates and reduce abandonment, since 77% of customers won’t make a purchase on a website if there’s no live chat option available.10
Chat is increasingly relevant and valuable as a support and sales channel; not only does it enhance the customer journey (leading to increased efficiencies and streamlined handling), it provides an opportunity to maximize the customer experience by engaging visitors who might otherwise have left your website without making a purchase or ever asking for help.
And that’s something worth talking about.