Nowadays, consumer expectations of customer service have reached new heights—providing support via phone and email has become the default standard for most companies. To differentiate your business and improve the customer experience, it’s important to also give your customers access to on-demand support. How do you make sure your customers are getting their needs addressed as quickly as possibly? Enter: live chat support. While chat may seem like yet another complicated channel to install and manage, in reality, implementing live chat software has never been easier and more effective. Here are a handful of ways your customers and you can benefit from live chat support.
1. Allow customers to multitask
No one wants to spend their lunch break on hold with your company (or any other). With live chat support, customers can carry on with their day-to-day lives while waiting for that “ping” sound to assure them the agent has replied.
2. Provide chat logs for transparency and proof of contact
When customers engage with your company’s customer support via phone, they don’t typically receive a recording of the verbal conversation. The majority of live chat software gives customers the option of receiving a transcription of the conversation afterwards for their records. This gives them a point of reference in case any issues arise in the future.
The transcriptions can also be used by chat agents to help repeat customers. Instead of the customer wasting time rehashing their support query, the chat agent can simply look at the previous chat and continue the conversation.
3. Make customer service available 24/7
Your customers want to be able to reach you whenever they encounter a problem, and frequently, that happens outside of normal work hours. Live chat gives your business the opportunity to provide 24/7 support, reducing response times and backlogged requests while boosting customer satisfaction.
4. Prevent unnecessary costs
Calling support hotlines costs money, especially when customers are put on hold for extensive periods of time. Live chat comes at no cost to the customer—that way, negative feelings aren’t exacerbated and your agents have a better chance of being treated in a calm, respectful manner.
Your business saves, too. There is no complex wiring or infrastructure required to install live chat software—a simple piece of code and a subscription to the right package is usually all you need. Your business probably already employs a receptionist, call center staff, or sales team to man the phones. Why not assign each of them a time slot to monitor the live chat platform? It’s a low investment method that increases your customer reach exponentially.
5. Gather important data
There is no such thing as too much data. Live chat software provides an additional layer of data to your current tracking and attribution tools. The data you receive varies according to platform, but in general live chat delivers:
- Referring link: Find the link that directed the customer to your site. You can use this to gauge what they might be looking for and to initiate conversation if they haven’t already.
- Operating system and device: This tells you if the customer is viewing your site from a mobile, tablet, or desktop, as well as which operating system they are using. This information lets you tailor your support according to the technology your customer is using, and promote relevant products or services.
- Active or idle: You can find out if the customer is currently reading pages or idle, i.e. not actively moving their cursor or scrolling.
- Time on site: You will be able to see if the customer has just come onto the site or has been browsing for some time and therefore more likely to require your help.
- Number of visits: Monitor how many times the visitor has been on your site or see if it’s someone new. Repeat visitors might be rechecking the status of a product or service, which would present a good opportunity for your chat support agents to proactively start a conversation.
- Number of chats: You can check to see if this is the first chat the visitor has had or if they’ve been served by your agents before.
- Location: Using the customers IP address, the majority of chat platforms will tell you the city and country the customer is chatting from.
6. Increase sales
Salespeople love live chat because it lets them nudge customers towards certain products or services without having to resort to the “hard sell.” A customer that visits your website is probably already interested in your product or service—instead of wishfully hoping they make a purchase, you can engage them by using proactive triggers. By initiating contact during the crucial decision-making stage, you increase the chances of your customers making a successful purchase.
A version of this post originally ran on the Zopim blog. Col Skinner is an independent digital marketing consultant with broad agency and client side experience. He started www.Profoundry.co to provide digital marketing advice and consultancy services to businesses and agencies looking to enhance their online offering.
Still not convinced? Check out this infographic for even more reasons why your customers want to chat
This is a blog post about how to use live chat as a channel for customer service and/or sales support. Please visit www.zopim.com if you’d like to learn more about Zopim Live Chat by Zendesk, a live chat software tool that is used by tens of thousands of customers worldwide.