When businesses decide to offer live customer chat on their websites they hope that customers will respond in a positive way. Let’s take a look at some of the main pros and cons of live customer chat, so that you can determine if it is right for your business’ website.
It is assumed customers will prefer to receive an instant response via computer chat, rather than speak to a customer service representative by telephone, or have their query answered by email. However this is not always the case.
Pros and Cons of Live Customer Chat
Pro: Offers instant access to customer service staff
The most obvious benefit of live customer chat is the instant access it provides customer (both existing and potential) to your staff.
Any questions your customers have regarding your products or services can be relayed to your customer service staff instantaneously. This provides your customers with the knowledge their queries are being heard, are important, and the reassurance their issue is being dealt with.
Con: Chat boxes can often feel robotic and impersonal to some customers
Some customers will have had negative experiences with chat-bots, and be reluctant to use live-chat options. Web chat can feel impersonal, and some customers will prefer to use the telephone.
Choosing the right tone in your live-chat messages can help your customers feel that they are receiving personalised attention.
Pro: Live chat supports effective and efficient use of employee time
Unlike customer service via telephone, which only allows your staff to handle one query at a time, live customer chat allows your staff to deal with multiple customer chat conversations at the same time.
Be aware that live customer chat is a long-term commitment for your business, and your staff. Many businesses find, over time, live chat can become hard to manage – particularly for small businesses when certain staff are on leave, or as businesses run on skeleton staff over holiday breaks, for example.
The benefit of real-time answers to queries helps prevent cart abandonment and can lead to increased conversions. Ensuring you have the staffing capability to support live customer chat from the outset will help your business enjoy the opportunities it offers for your business to increase both sales and customer satisfaction.
Con: Live chat may not always work effectively on mobile platforms
Not all live chat functions work correctly on mobile devices, and with so many of us relying on smartphones, this may be frustrating for both your potential customers and existing customers alike.
However, there are always adjustments that can be made so that chat functions perform better across a range of mobile platforms, but it is best to research each of your live chat options, particularly in relation to their mobile performance, before you make your selection.
Pro: Live chat presents an affordable option for businesses
Live customer chat presents itself as a far better customer service option in regards to affordability when compared to customer service in person, or over the telephone.
You should weigh this carefully against customer satisfaction; or purely web-based businesses, live customer chat is often the best of both worlds - scoring highly in both customer satisfaction and overall affordability.
Con: You can run into time zone issues if live-chat is only available during business hours
If you are only intending to operate your live customer chat during your business hours, you may find that you run into time zone issues with customers in other cities, states or countries.
The internet operates 24/7 so, if you are not intending to deliver 24/7 service, you will need to address other help options that will remain available outside your core business hours, or risk disappointing your customers.
Pro: Helps your Brand’s reputation for great customer service
Many companies opt for live customer chat functions because they want their customers to view them as accessible and in-touch with modern technology. Many businesses choose live customer chat because they believe providing top-notch customer service can only improve their brand image in today’s digital world.
Con: Can present difficulties for those with disabilities
Live customer chat relies on your customers being literate and comfortable with communicating in this way.
It is worth considering that customers who suffer from physical disabilities which make typing difficult, cumbersome or slow will become frustrated, as will sufferers of dyslexia, poor spellers and others with disabilities affecting literacy. These users may be embarrassed, pressured or intimidated by live-chat’s immediacy. Senior citizens are often resistant to live chat options, as are those who cannot touch type and those with limited or poor eyesight.
Think about your business’ core target market and consider if live chat is likely to be a hit or miss with your demographic.
Kayako decided to survey 400 anonymous customers and 100 anonymous businesses and ask them exactly what they thought of live chat. You can find out what they said here, but if you want the quick take-away of important points, we’ve got it for you:
- Businesses tended to fail to meet their customers’ expectations with live-chat. Be sure to choose a live-chat platform that places your customers first. 47% of customers have not had a single positive live-chat interaction in the past month. Modern live chat should feel as effortless as engaging with a friend using text messages.
- Businesses increased customer loyalty when they met their customers’ expectations. These businesses found their customers were more likely to remain loyal, spend more per month and provide positive word-of-mouth reviews.
- 52% of customers were more likely to repurchase from businesses that offer live chat support, with almost all customers placing a higher value on top-quality support over and above speed. Investing in customer satisfaction will pay off. Ensure your support is timely, personal and of high-quality.
- Great live chat = great word of mouth: customers are more likely to tell their friends about a positive live-chat interaction than they are to relay details about a negative live chat experience. The personal approach in live chat will make interactions with your business memorable for your customers – for all the right reasons.
- High quality live chat pays off: 79% of businesses say providing live chat has positively impacted their sales, revenue and customer loyalty. When you deliver high-quality chat experiences you will see a positive ROI as a result.
- Make it personal: 29% of customers find scripted, impersonal responses the most frustrating aspect to live chat, whereas businesses reported they have found 38% of their users find scripted, impersonal responses the most frustrating element. I think we can all agree, impersonal and obviously scripted chat is mostly always frustrating when we encounter it, it is just whether or not it is the most frustrating factor in the interaction! Be sure to avoid this pot-hole by making the tone of your live chat personal and the responses effortless.
For many businesses, the pros of installing live customer chat far outweigh the cons. If that is you, then the next logical step is to research which platform will suit your business best.
We would highly recommend you consider these three live chat platforms:Zendesk Chat
Zendesk is the live customer chat platform we recommend over and above the others. Zendesk is used by Fortune 500 companies and currently over 200,000+ companies rely on Zendesk for their customer support requirements.
LiveChat is used by all types of businesses from startups, to small and medium business to larger enterprises. Unlike both Zoho and Zendesk, LiveChat does not offer network monitoring, document storage or service level agreement (SLA) management.
There are many pros and cons to consider when it comes to deciding if live customer chat is right for your business.
Live chat, when executed correctly, can increase purchases, boost customer loyalty and increase customer satisfaction. Live chat can also result in poor user experiences that are quite often a mix of customers having to repeat themselves, impersonal scripted responses and long wait-times (or, God forbid, all three!).
If you want to talk to us about the benefits of installing live customer chat on your website, and how you can avoid the common pitfalls, why not get in touch with us today. We’d love to have a chat with you about the right live customer chat option for your business’ needs, and how we can help you achieve your customer service goals.