Breaking down Live Chat Support
The Pros and Cons
Did you know? Live chat has emerged in the last few years as one of the most popular and innovative channels of customer support for the digital marketplace. Most studies show that over 50% of U.S. online businesses are now using chat support to not only deal with customer questions and complaints, but also as a tool to engage, upsell and enhance business revenue.
So what’s all the fuss about? With an estimated 2.3 billion active internet users, we thought that it might be worth taking a closer look at the Live Chat phenomenon from both sides of the fence. So we have compiled some interesting arguments and facts on the pros and cons of live chat so you can decide for yourself.
Convenience – for you & your customers. Like a tour guide, chat agents can direct users to information or give step-by-step instructions on accomplishing goals, without the delay of composing an email or picking up a phone.
Time & Cost-Efficiency – chat agents can handle multiple cases simultaneously, saving valuable time by decreasing escalations. Livechat setup & maintenance costs are usually offset by the savings from this improved productivity.
Proactive Interaction – some chat applications can initiate conversations with new visitors, or can be triggered by specific behaviour. Enabling proactive customer greetings, inactive user assistance & product promotion.
Instant Feedback – answers in real time provide instant customer gratification. More importantly, chat keeps visitors engaged, not lost in a labyrinth of phone menus or cooling off as they wait for an email.
- Quality of Support – chat transcripts & logs provide easy monitoring of customer service quality. Agents can also use the combined knowledge of their colleagues & resources while chatting without inconveniencing the customer.
User Lack of Know-How – many internet users aren’t yet tech savvy when it comes to using livechat and hence they might prefer to stick to other more traditional forms of communication out of familiarity, thus creating a queue.
Hours of Coverage – your customers could be anywhere on the globe and will usually expect chat services to be available 24/7. The logistics of this can be tricky, or may incur additional expense if you hire extra personnel to facilitate.
Limited Mobile Compatibility – with more web traffic from smartphones and tablets, you may need to adapt your chat software to be compatible with various devices & platforms or run the risk of frustrating a large section of your visitors.
‘Prank Chats’ – these can become all too common and aside from being annoying, can divert attention away from real customers causing response delays, while the counter measures can be an obstacle for legitimate users.
- Security of Information – sharing personal information through live chat is a definite security risk, and one that some companies forget to consider when thinking about their data protection.
There are, of course, many other factors besides those listed here, and a unique set of advantages and disadvantages specific to each business. Overall, it is hard to deny the power and potential of live chat, and with customer engagement paramount to success in today’s marketplace, live chat may be an essential component in delivering quality customer service to your customers and gaining a crucial competitive edge… but only if you do it right.