If you could learn all about customer experience from only one person in this world, we’d recommend Jeff Bezos. Here’s what Amazon’s founder has to say about it –
We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.
Let’s break this analogy down with one basic question. How can you be a good host for your guests?
The first answer that comes to mind is to keep them engaged.
Of course, you need to cover the fundamentals – tasty food, decent amenities and a friendly ambiance. Yet, typically the only thing your guests will take away from a party is how well you interact with them as a host, check on them time and again, see if they’re doing well.
And most importantly, they expect you to LISTEN. Really listen to what they want, need and feel, and respond to that.
In the world of business, live chat allows you to be a good host. It helps you check on your customers, interact with them, and listen to what they need. Do this well, and chances are your customers will leave your website feeling they had the best time of their lives.
This philosophy of being a good host is at the heart of customer service success. However, if you believe that we are oversimplifying this analogy, here are six well-founded reasons, backed by examples, why your business needs live chat support.
1. Live Chat Support Shows the Human Side of Your Brand
A brand is nothing, but your business personified, and any brand communication – from a promotional flyer to what your customer representatives are saying – shows the character of this person. Live chat falls in this category too.
With the right guidelines, your live chat support team has an opportunity to show every human trait of your brand. It could be empathetic, it could be inspirational, or as illustrated by Netflix – it could be outright hilarious.
Netflix has a reputation for being cheeky and conversational in all their marketing, from emailers to tweets. What’s remarkable is that their on-ground live chat support team also maintains this brand image in real-time. Here’s a glimpse of one such instance – a conversation between a customer named Norm and a Netflix representative who calls himself “Captain” Michael.
Now we don’t know if Lt. Norm’s issue ever got resolved and whether or not he could catch the whole Parks & Recreation episode. Irrespective of the outcome, we know that Lt. Norm valued this experience far more than a flawless product.
This is the power of an engaging, personable live chat.
2. Live Chat Support Caters to the “I Want it Now” Audience.
We live in the times of instant gratification. Liked a product? Prime it. Need to get somewhere? Call an Uber.
Technology has changed consumer behavior to this extent that users are constantly looking for their needs to be fulfilled in a matter of minutes.
This is no different for customer support. If the entire purchase process could be over within minutes, why should the customer browse through several pages to get all the details they need? They’d rather finish it in the length of a conversation.
Research shows that a shopper will spend a maximum of 5 minutes on their shopping cart, before deciding to abandon it.
This could be owing to a multitude of reasons. However, as per Baymard Institute’s research, 28 percent of the shoppers abandon their cart just because the checkout process is complicated, while 20 percent of shoppers abandon it just because of website issues. A robust live chat support team can guide shoppers through both these issues and reduce cart abandonment substantially. With live chat support, product FAQs, billing inquiries, delivery timelines are all available within a matter of seconds.
You may believe that customers may want to get these issues resolved over phone calls for their convenience and speed.
You’d be wrong.
Studies have shown that millennials prefer taking the help of chat support for any issues. It makes sense too. No multitasking millennial can afford to have their phone stuck in the caller queue as they wait for the customer support to answer their call.
3. Live Chat Support Fulfills the ABC of the Business
The markets for businesses may have shifted from an offline world to an online one, but the mantras of success haven’t changed. Companies have and will continue to rely on these three aspects – Acquiring leads, Boosting sales and Customer Retention.
If integrated strategically, live chat support can focus on these A-B-Cs that make any business a sound one.
For small businesses, lead generation campaigns play a crucial role in building their customer base. A marketing campaign can, at best, only bring them as far as till the website. Getting the lead converted depends on the strength of the website.
In the case of a budding business, when a prospect enters the website, they have little to no prior information about the products and their USPs. Getting this information quickly is important, as they may not want to spend too much time on a new website. A live chat support agent can give this prospect all that they need to know when they are browsing the product page.
In the case of an established business, a genuine, high-quality lead may browse right up till the pricing page. At this point, having a live chat support agent communicate with the lead about product or service specifications, warranty or validity can be the tipping point that converts them into a customer.
Studies have shown that visitors are 45% more likely to convert on pages where the intent to purchase is high. A good rule to follow – put in a live chat on any of these intent-to-purchase pages, and you’ll see you an enormous growth in your customer base.
Sales in live chat can be tricky but effective, if executed intelligently. Sales representatives have to walk the tightrope where they don’t interrupt and hamper the customer experience, but at the same time, help customers identify the product they need. This means engaging with only those customers who are legitimately interested in purchase and need help.
By understanding user behavior from website analytics such as the time spent on the product pages, a chat agent can locate these customers and offer honest-to-goodness advice on which products can satisfy their needs. This also opens a window for them to cross-sell or upsell any products – again done prudently by relying on the previous experiences of other customers. For example, if 7 out of 10 customers when purchasing pasta also buy the sauce, then the rep can ask a new pasta-seeker, “Would you like to check our sauce collection?”
If you’re still not completely sold on the idea of live chat for sales, then here is our last point in the pitch. According to a Forrester report, there is an average increase of 10% in the order value of customers who engage in a live chat than those who don’t.
Bigger order, booming business!
Any businessperson worth their salt knows the value of retaining a customer over getting a new one. Not only is it 6 to 7 times more costly to acquire a new customer, increasing customer retention rates by even 5 percent increases profits up to 95 percent.
- How does live chat support help this?
A good live chat experience can help your customers fall in love with your brand (a quick callback to Capt. Mike from Netflix). Live chat support agents are the brand heroes who solve the customers’ problems. Once they have helped a customer, the relationship is a done deal.
- And there are numbers to prove this too.
According to a study, 52% of consumers are likely to repurchase from a business that offers live chat support. Imagine, the guaranteed loyalty of half of your customer base – just because of a simple live chat integration!
4. Live Chat Support Makes Life Easy for You Too!
Don’t stop at the A-B-Cs! There is more to live chat support than this.
Besides the obvious value addition to lead generation, sales and customer experience, live chat support has a gazillion other benefits for you too.
- It is Cost-effective.
As a single live chat agent can handle multiple conversations at a time, live chat reduces the workforce you need at the end of the day.
Further, according to a Forrester report, live chat costs half as much as traditional phone support.
Add to this the ROI you get on customer retention and the order value; live chat is undoubtedly the friend-in-need to your balance sheet.
- It is an Easy Way to Get Customers to Trust Your Brand
Customers today expect live chat support to be integrated into your website. It builds their confidence in your brand – to know that you are invested enough in strengthening all aspects of customer support. In fact, 38% of customers are likely to shop on a website that offers live chat support.
- It Allows for Faster Troubleshooting
Live chat unlocks features that aren’t available with traditional phone support. With live chat, customers can share screenshots, agents can share links, and so on. While email support also allows for these, the turnaround time is much shorter in live chat support. Faster troubleshooting means more efficient chat agents.
- It Helps You Collect Useful Data About Your Customers
Live chat transcripts are a gold mine of useful information, including customer preferences, product popularity, and so on. They help you bracket the customers into the promoters (who are likely to recommend your brand to others), the passives (who will remain loyal to you, but not recommend your brand to others) and the detractors (who are dissatisfied with your brand). Further, chat transcripts can also help you understand the mindset of detractors and convert future detractors into promoters.
- It Gets You Instant Feedback
You can read through pages of live chat transcripts, or you can get immediate feedback from your customers. Chat agents can get instant information on service gaps, product strengths and weaknesses, and support satisfaction. They can immediately pass on the information to the relevant teams, and what’s more – they can apply the learnings in their next interaction.
- It Helps You Eliminate Operational Redundancies in Customer Service
Chat agents can also identify repetitive patterns and help eliminate redundancies. For instance, if there are too many inquiries on a particular product feature, perhaps it can be highlighted more prominently.
5. Live Chats are Way Better Than Chatbots
Because, believe it or not – humans are better than machines, at least when it comes to connecting emotionally with other humans.
Give us a bot that can interact with Lt. Norm (a second callback to Netflix) with as much wit as Captain Mike did, and we’ll happily eat our words.
If you still need the specifics, here’s a list of reasons why it’s better to put a person, instead of an AI program, behind your chat software:
- A live Chat Agent Can Sense the Emotions of the Customer
Chat support is, more often than not, used for troubleshooting, especially when the resolution is not readily available on the website. In such cases, a live chat agent is far more capable of soothing the frustrated customer than a bot with its perfunctory messages.
- A Live Chat Agent Can Respond Based on Context and Can Engage the Customer Better
Conversations with a live chat agent have the potential to be more meaningful and interactive than those with a bot. Better conversation means better engagement. And as research shows, businesses that engaged more meaningfully with the customers increased the customer spends by 20 to 40%.
- A Live Chat Agent is More Efficient Than a Chatbot in Handling Complex Queries
When it comes to an issue whose resolution doesn’t come from a database, live chat agents beat chatbots. All businesses have a human component and, consequently, human inconsistencies. Live chat agents can identify these inconsistencies for what they are and help in an efficient resolution of complex queries.
6. Live Chats Allow Brands to Innovate
Live chat has given many brands an opportunity to show their fun, witty and empathetic side. Brands earn their reputation with these traits, and live chat offers plenty of room to do so.
Here are some examples of live chat, which we thought were impressive!
Snap Engage’s Oh Snap! Page
When a customer lands on a 404-error page, most brands leave an apology and expect the customer to find their way back. Snap Engage found a window to converse. If a customer somehow comes across their 404-error page, a live chat agent talks to them and guides them on where they need to be.
Not only does the customer feel cared for, but it also gives Snap Engage a chance to lead the customer to their purchase points.
ASOS’ Live Chat Agents/ Fashion Experts
This is why customers love shopping on the ASOS website – you have fashion stylists on live chat! By employing a brilliant, conversational technique, not only are these chat agents turning prospects to patrons, but they are also enabling cross-selling and upselling for the brand.
If a single query can result in such a detailed, passionate response, wouldn’t all shoppers naturally flock here?
Canyon for Every Language!
While many brands look at chat support as a supplementary facility, Canyon Bikes doesn’t shy from being an at-your-service brand. Its chat support is prominently located on the homepage. What’s more, it allows for multilingual preferences to cater to a diverse group of audiences.
This attention to detail and commitment to care makes the customers instantly trust and love the brand.
A Bonus, Before You Go – 9 Best Practices for Your Chat Support Team
Now that you’re aware of the host of benefits that live chat support offers, we are sure that you’re all excited about setting up your own in-house chat support team.
However, before they get chatting, share with them these best practices to follow at all times.
- Engage, don’t Interrupt!
This, according to us, is the golden rule of chat support – to not interrupt when the customer is in the shopping zone. Identify, at which point should you initiate a chat – e.g., signup process, checkout pages, returns and refunds, and so on. In all other cases, wait for the customer to start the chat.
- Lower TATs are good
Customers appreciate instant responses. Once the customer initiates a chat session, don’t keep them waiting beyond 48 seconds. Otherwise, they may leave the website altogether and go to your competitor. Lower the turnaround time, the better.
- Greet when you meet!
Manners are everything in live chat support. Show your positive, personable side by greeting the customers with their name, and maintain this tone throughout the conversation.
- Know the who and what
Customers respond well if the chat agent is already prepared with the necessary information. Make sure that you have the current transaction details along with the purchase history of the customer before the conversation starts. “I see you wanted to buy Whisker’s bristle comb for your cat. Are you facing any issue with this?” is a more considerate opening than a generic “How can I help you?”
- Listen, then Respond
Customers like being heard. Be patient and let the customer state the entire question, instead of jumping the gun. Read the whole issue carefully, understand, and only then attempt to ask for clarification or answer.
- Talk about Time!
In certain cases, you may have to wait for inputs from other teams. If you cannot resolve an issue immediately, inform the customer beforehand. Customers are sensible. They know that some matters will take time. They’d like you to reciprocate the same thoughtfulness by letting them know about the amount of time needed.
- Keep it Simple and Accurate
Make sure you answer clearly and correctly. If the problem is a complicated one, break it down into multiple smaller problems, and provide resolutions accordingly. Get it double-checked if you’re uncertain of the resolution – practice it in a test environment, to be on the safe side. And proofread before you submit!
- Share the know-how
Customers like to be self-reliant. Sometimes, they’d rather search for the answer in your website’s FAQ. So, document all your experiences into articles to aid customers in the future. Also, share related articles, videos and external links pertaining to the issue at hand with the customer, so that they know what to do when they face a similar problem again.
- End it Well
Irrespective of whether or not you were able to resolve the issue, end the conversation with the customer politely – if possible, on a personal note. Ask if they need any further clarification and if they have any feedback to share with you. Do let the customer know that you hope to hear from them again.
Outsource Live Chat to Experts!
Live chat should be implemented intelligently and diligently. If the strategies are not followed with care, not only will live chat prove to be ineffective, it will also lead to a poor customer experience and can cost the brand its reputation.
If you’re apprehensive of starting your own live chat support team, why not outsource it to the experts at Expert Callers?
At Expert Callers, we start by recognizing your brand needs, assess and select the platform that works best for you, and deploy our team of skilled chat agents. Our team of experienced and driven agents excels at understanding the brand persona, communicating with customers in an approachable and effective manner, and even facilitating sales.
Based on your requirements, we tailor packages for live chat support so that you can achieve cost reductions to the range of 40-50%. To measure this, we offer a host of qualitative metrics that show marked ROI.
Partner today with Expert Callers and unleash the power of live chat support for your brand.