Businesses can’t survive without good customer service. Companies should always be looking at ways to improve their support and increase the amount of positive customer experiences. One such method is online live chat software - an internet-based customer support tool that allows you to reply in real time to customer questions. In this article, we will explore the main advantages of online chat and how you can use it.

Time is money

Getting the most from your staff and digital workforce is crucial for business success. One of the most effective ways you can do that is by implementing efficient time management. Online chat tools have the ability to improve your team's productivity drastically.

Your time

Many traditional customer service channels like phone calls, online form requests, and email are useful but only allow your customer support staff to deal with one customer at each time. Online chat software can filter each customer request by keyword and send similar queries to the same team member. This allows your staff to handle multiple customer questions simultaneously.

The customer's time

The phrase 'time is money' refers to not only your time but the customer's time as well. Data shows that almost 50% of American customers will switch to a different company due to poor customer service and slow response time.

Consider this scenario. You're a customer who has recently purchased cloud infrastructure for your small business. Unfortunately, you're experiencing technical issues. You contact the company's customer support hotline. You explain your cloud server problem, only to be transferred to another agent. You repeat the explanation, and are transferred again - and are asked for yet another explanation!

This is one of the most irritating things a customer can experience. Statistics show that around 3 out of 4 customers expect support staff to have their required information. Luckily, online chat tools allow staff to access the query transcripts and quickly pull up any additional information about the customer. This helps prevent the customer’s repeating their explanations and allows the agent to see what previous solutions have been tried already. 

Directly improve your revenue 

It is no secret that excellent customer support can drastically improve a business's sales. In fact, statistics show that:

  • The average consumer would agree to pay almost 20% more for the same product if the customer service was exceptional.
  • Over 90% of customers will continue purchasing from a company that offers great customer support.
  • Almost 80% of customers have not completed a purchase due to unsatisfactory customer service. 

The last statistic on the list is the one we're most focused on. 

Let's say that you're a customer wanting to customize their online store by purchasing some BigCommerce themes. But, the template descriptions are not clear, and you're unsure about whether or not they will meet your requirements. Here, the average customer has three options:

  1. Abandon their cart and seek other stores with more precise descriptions.
  2. Email or call the company, but that may take up to 3-5 business days.
  3. Use the online chat option.

One of the most significant advantages to online chat is its ability to convert potential customers into active buyers. This immediate support can satisfy the customer's queries and encourage them to carry out the purchase. Cart abandonment, which is the process of placing items in the checkout basket and leaving the site before purchasing, costs ecommerce companies up to $18 billion every year.

Don’t underestimate data

Transforming a good customer experience into valuable customer data is an important but often neglected task. Resolving a customer's query is all well and good, but your main objective should be to prevent this problem from happening again. This can reduce the overall number of complaints and effort required from your support team. 

Collecting customer support data is a major benefit of online chat software. These analytics can allow you to improve future support and analyze customer behavior by asking for feedback during the final support stages. 

Let's say that you're a company that provides creative collaboration tools for small businesses. In this instance, collecting data can allow you to categorize which type businesses values which kind of collaboration tool. It also enables you to understand your customers more and make business decisions based on this insight.

Proactive invitation

Most customer service practices are reactive. This means that the customer communicates their query, and the customer support team reacts to their request. But, instead of waiting for a visitor to start a conversation on the site, you can set up an automated message so you can start the conversation.

Proactive invitations can be incredibly useful as they show the customer that you care about their wants and needs. But, it is essential to note that proactive invitations shouldn’t be intrusive. This means that there should always be an option to decline, they shouldn’t affect customers viewing capabilities, and most importantly, they shouldn’t feel like an advert. The best proactive invitations use the customer’s journey data to formulate the message.

For example, let’s say you were a bedding company. Your proactive invitation could say, “We see you have been browsing our Egyptian cotton section. Would you like to learn more by chatting with a supervisor?”.

To sum up 

Long online forms, a 42 person call queue, and three to five business day wait periods are things of the past. Customers expect fast-paced immediate support at any time of the day. Online chat has the ability to level up your customer support by saving time, collecting data, and providing positive customer experiences.

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