As human beings, we can never stop communicating. And ever since the invention of instant messaging in 1971, live chat has evolved to connect us to our loved ones, distant friends, and even to different companies for support. In fact, live chat has become so important that by 2022, 85% of businesses are expected to offer live chat support.
Long story short: if you have a business, you need to include live chat in your customer service strategy. In this guide, you will find all you need to know about implementing online chat support.
The Importance Of Live Online Chat Support
There’s something we need to clarify before we start: the difference between online chat support and chatbots. Chatbots are computer programs designed to follow a conversation with customers, while live chat support is operated by humans. The main difference is that chatbots are limited to their programmed answers, while live chat support can help customers with a wider range of solutions to their problems. Although chatbots help cut costs while handling support tickets successfully, the biggest issues for consumers with chatbots are ‘a lack of understanding’ and ‘inability to solve complex issues. Not surprising, since it’s basically a robot with pre-programmed answers, not a person with problem-solving skills. Also, 46% of consumers think chatbots are being used to stop them from reaching a live agent. Definitely not the impression you want to give your clients.
With all this in mind, it’s really not surprising that 60% of consumers would prefer to wait for an agent than use a chatbot. With live chat support, customers can have a real-time conversation with your support agents. Having a personalized and quick answer to their questions will help you build trust, improve how you resolve their problems, increase sales, and much more. Chatbots work best for simple, repetitive questions. But for higher value queries? Live chat is the way to go.
Let’s be honest, human interaction can’t be replaced with technology. A business can get lots of benefits from implementing live chat support in their customer support. Here are the most important ones:
5 Benefits Of Having A Chat Support Service For Your Business
Did you know that live chat has the highest customer satisfaction level of any support channel? With 73%, compared to 61% for email and 44% for phone, it is the preferred choice for many customers, and these are the reasons why:
Faster Problem Resolution
Customers are instantly connected with an agent who helps them solve their problems right away. No more getting “on hold” for hours. With chat support, clients’ queries are resolved quickly and efficiently. Also, another factor that makes this channel so efficient and fast is that agents are able to send and receive links, images, and videos. This makes it easier to explain the problem through pictures or direct feedback and walk users through resolution procedures step by step.
It’s More Convenient & Less Disruptive
Americans are more likely to text people rather than call them, while 75% of millennials prefer texting over talking. In the eyes of consumers, instant messaging is seen as both more convenient and less disruptive. Also, it allows your customers to multitask. If they’re in the middle of a meeting or during a busy workday, live chat support lets customers get on with what they are doing without interruptions.
Live Chat Has A Higher ROI
While other customer support channels can be very effective, live chat support shines through. It’s normally less expensive than other support forms (like phone or email), but with a conversion rate of 40%. If your customer service budget is tight or your company is just starting out, live chat support might be the way to go. Since its cost is lower and it’s easy to use, the return on investment for having live chat support is higher, compared to other customer support channels.
It Increases Sales
Making a sale in person is easy. People can see the product, ask questions, and are confident that they can return it if they don’t like the product. Making a sale online, not that much. 77% of online shoppers say they have wanted to talk to a live person before buying. Live chat can make that happen: support agents can improve the customer experience by answering their questions about certain product characteristics, increase the AOV (Average Order Value) by suggesting complementing products or bundles, and most importantly, reassure the user about their upcoming purchase before the sale even happens.
Build Trust With Buyers
Without trust, transactions cannot occur. It is the most important brand asset, especially in relationships with clients. A study from ATG (now acquired by Oracle) into Global Consumer Trends found that 90% of customers said the “Live Chat” button gives them confidence that they can get help if they need it. This improves the trust your clients have in your website, and it is more likely people will make a purchase from your online shop.
The Key Elements Of A Successful Live Chat Customer Support
If you want to improve your customer experience, or you are planning to implement live chat customer support, here are the top five rules you must follow:
NEVER Keep Your Customers Waiting
The sooner you answer, the better. When it comes to customer support, time is money! We live in an age of near-instant gratification, and most customers hate waiting. Studies show that over half of all customers become irritated if they don’t talk to a live person right away, while 45% of customers will abandon a purchase if they don’t receive an answer from customer support right away. So time is of the essence.
ALWAYS Be Honest
There will be cases where your live chat agent won’t be able to solve your clients’ problems, whether it’s due to company policy or other reasons. But what’s important is that the agent should never lie or deceive the customers just to make them happy. If you can’t help them in the way they want to, you need to tell them straight on. However, you can always provide other alternatives to fix their problem. For example, say one of your customers bought a limited edition item. When they received it, it was damaged, so they asked for a replacement. However, all the inventory for that product is sold out – there’s no way to replace the product. You can offer to replace it with a similar product, or provide the user with a redeemable coupon, or offer a refund.
You MUST have great grammar and spelling
A live chat customer support agent with bad grammar or spelling will make your company look unprofessional, sketchy, and untrustworthy. It is important to ensure that your live chat agents have exceptional writing skills! Also, it is good to provide tools to help them avoid any mistakes, like Grammarly or ProWritingAid; when it comes to customer support, it is better to try to prevent any errors.
Be ETERNALLY Friendly And Respectful
One of the advantages of having live chat customer support is that interactions are real, unlike chatbots, which can’t express feelings or add that human touch your customers love. This is why customer support agents should be encouraged to use a friendly and respectful tone at all times. By being friendly, the whole conversation will change from a cold, boring interaction to an enjoyable one for both the customer and the agent. Who doesn’t like to be treated in a friendly way? Keep it real, but respectful!
ALWAYS Close On A High Note
Having a proper goodbye is also a big part of the chat ending protocol. Your customer support agents must always ask the customer if their problem has been resolved and if they have anything else that needs to be addressed before ending the conversation. Thanking the customer for their time and telling them to have a good day is required for any polite conversation. Also, it’s just good manners!
Bring Your Live Chat To Life
At Boldr, we love people. We strive to help them in any way possible, both for our clients and for our communities. We deliver world-class service in every channel that matters for your customers, becoming their first point of contact. Our Customer Advocates genuinely enjoy helping others, going above and beyond to make your customers feel happy and valued.
“ Personally, I love customer support. I love helping people. There is always a customer that surprises me. Or is really sweet. And you have the opportunity to change someone’s day.”
– Claudia Bueno, Customer Support Specialist at Boldr
While chat support is one of our specialties, we also offer phone, chat, email, and even social media support. We adapt to our client’s needs, tools, and processes to become one with their teams. This allows us to deliver the best possible experience to both our clients and their customers. It’s how we bring live chat support to life.
“Boldr is our trusted partner for customer support outsourcing, not just in our peak months but throughout the year. They really act as an extension of our Customer Happiness team.”
If you would like to start your live chat support journey with us, you can reach out directly or get a free consultation today.