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8 benefits of using Live Chat customer service

Customer service can come in many forms as I have mentioned in an earlier post about the 6 channels to provide customer service, but here we will focus on Live Chat, which from the research I have done seems to be very powerful and yet underutilised.

So I’ve said Live Chat is great but you need to know more, you may be asking why you should use Live Chat if you can do the same thing over the phone and email? For starters Live Chat has a 73% customer satisfaction rate making it number one for customer service satisfaction according to Zopim.

You can provide customer service via email but usually the response time is much higher for both sides and this can mean the issue might not be solved before the customer moves onto a competitor.

Whereas with Live Chat if the customer asks you a question but you need more information from them you can ask and get an instant response, and if the person manning the Live Chat doesn’t know the answer they can quickly ask a colleague without the customer noticing, unlike with phone calls.

How long does it take?

Eptica carry out a study on customer experience every year, this year they said that the average conversation duration on Live Chat had nearly doubled since last year… to a whopping 7 minutes 13 seconds, that isn’t very long even though it has doubled.

The duration for a response on email on the other hand has halved since last year… to 29 hours 27 minutes.

What are the other benefits?

Whilst Phone and Live Chat are quite similar, there are some areas where Live Chat shines far brighter.

Both offer the fastest support, but while phone staff handle one customer at once, Live Chat staff are able to talk to multiple and all without having to decipher an unfamiliar accent, or deal with a bad phone line.

1. Multitask Multi-chat

Sometimes the conversation has to be put on hold until either the customer or staff member has gathered the right information. When this happens on phone chat, the customer might have to explain their perhaps complicated situation all over again.

This is obviously not what is best for the customer’s experience. However on Live Chat the previous conversations are archived and ready for your customer service reps to refer to if they need any background information, instead of frustrating the customer more.

2. Proactive Chat

Because Live Chat is often embedded right in the website itself, it opens up an opportunity for cross-selling and upselling. Live Chat is closer to a physical salesperson than any other channel in this respect.

You have the option of approaching the customer as they browse your products, you can ask them if they want help instead of the other way around, you can suggest better alternatives to the product they are viewing based on their needs and you can suggest complimentary products that go well with what they have added to their basket.

Create stages

If you are familiar with something like Google Analytics, or are just very intuitive, you might want to split up the customer’s journey on your website into stages, if they hit a stage where many leave that’s the time to start a Live Chat.

Just ask if there is anything you can help with and you might find that the customer was stuck and considering asking for help. Customers can vary in mentality, some think they are entitled to everything from the company and so will not hesitate to contact customer services for any reason; others will be more modest, they don’t want to bother the customer services team for small matters and some of the rest will be too lazy to send a slow email or wait on hold on the phone.

Live Chat is perfect for this, if a customer is modest and doesn’t realise how important they are to the company you can approach them through proactive Live Chat; if a customer is lazy the highly visible Live Chat box on your website should be little enough effort, especially if you use proactive Live Chat for them too.

If you want to have a general guide to proactive Live Chat then you should save this infographic from LiveChat.

This graph shows where certain greeting were made why they were made and how successful they were, so visitors on the main page were approached with a greeting based on them being a returning customer, resulting in a 6.54% conversion rate and if you know anything about conversion rates you’ll know 6.54% is pretty good.

And just one more explanation so you really understand how this graph works; customers were approached at the stage where they were viewing a product and were chosen based on the current URL, meaning that out of all the product pages on your website this URL is one of the popular places people leave, approaching the customer at this stage on this URL yielded a 7.92% conversion rate.

You can use these engagement points as a guide or even make your own based on these and your analytics data. There are so many opportunities to convert customers using this technique.

3. On the go

Something you may think Email has over other customer service channels is the ability to reply from your smartphone, an on the go option that offers unrivalled flexibility; but of course Live Chat can do that too, so you don’t even need to be at the office to guide customers through the checkout.

Live Chat really is special; I was trying to think where it lies in relation to other customer service channels and doodled some diagrams because I felt that words on their own wouldn’t be good enough. Though they are far from perfect, I am proud of them.

These three diagrams are called Venn diagrams, don’t worry if you haven’t heard of them, I just wanted to give my “doodles” some credibility.

The first two diagrams show that a combination of text based Email and public Face to Face customer service results in Social customer service, which is another very powerful channel with potential.The only reason there are two diagrams is because I couldn’t decide which was a better way to show Live Chat.

It fills so many roles, it can be a faster alternative to Email because of archived conversations, it can be a faster version of Phone because operators can handle multiple customers at once, and with proactive chat it can provide opportunities to sell which are close to those which Face to Face offer through salespeople and it’s not as risky as the selling opportunities offered by phone… urgh cold calling *shudders*.

After I made these I thought if I was looking at the bigger picture and zoomed out a level it might be able to show the main benefits of each really well.

So this is what I came up with, three simple aims of customer service and as they overlap it displays the channel which covers those aims.

Live Chat is the only channel which appears in the middle because face to face customer service isn’t exactly convenient, Social and Phone don’t give you  the same scale of selling opportunity as Face to Face or Live Chat, and Email is not quick at all.

Hopefully my Venn diagrams have helped to stress how powerful Live Chat is and why implementing it will save money, increase customer satisfaction and open up opportunities for making money and more.

It doesn’t stop there though, those were just the benefits for the business, what about the benefits to the customer? These will more indirectly benefit the business too.

4. No additional cost

Sometimes when a customer tries to call a customer services line they have to pay to complain, however recently in the UK premium rates on customer service calls have been banned, so the cost has dropped; still Live Chat has no additional cost to use, so essentially free to the customer.

5. Low waiting time

As I mentioned at the beginning other customer service channels take a long time, customers may not have the time or patience to stick with their original complaint, meaning customers will just look elsewhere as this snippet of an infographic from bluewolf shows.

6. Low effort for customers on your website

If 17% of customers will leave after just one blunder in customer service then some will be leaving before even complaining. Having Live Chat on your website provides a highly visible way for customers to contact you without having to put in hardly any effort.

7. Usable in noisy places

If your customers are not at home and want to solve a problem with your customer service team they won’t always have to option to pick up the phone and ring.

Noisy places or busy places mean you can’t hear what the customer service rep on the phone is saying or vice versa and your attention is being drawn away and back frequently; the customer can easily multitask with Live Chat, no need to turn down the TV to contact customer services.

8. For general queries when buying a product Live Chat is King/Queen

Customers who are just about to buy a product may have a small query which they would not put much effort into finding out the answer and may end up abandoning their shopping basket. Live Chat is perfect for quick access to answers and will help reassure that customer about their purchase.

The whole customer service industry is shifting towards Eservice as convenience becomes more sought after. If you want to test the water before diving in, LiveChat inc offer a free trial, just follow this link and enjoy. If you want any more help with setting up or running your Live Chat we are a full service digital agency, so contact us at iD30.



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