Consumers want options more than ever before and, more importantly, they want them quickly. If you look at the three biggest customer service trends for the future, they all point toward automation and AI handling simpler tasks, and human agents dealing with complex issues.
Our buying trends have evolved too. More people prefer to shop online and have their packages delivered right from the comfort of their own homes, rather than travel to a physical store. Digital natives have also grown up with technology, and interacting with this tech has essentially become second nature. Consumers are used to getting the answers they need in an instant, and they expect online businesses to fulfill these expectations. In fact, Kustomer research indicates 89% of consumers now think contacting customer service should be easier and more convenient.
Unfortunately, businesses are slowly adapting to this online trend and, even if they do incorporate some form of live chat, they’re only using a fraction of its full functionality. If you’re looking to get ahead of your competition, then providing a business live chat service directly on your website will be one of the key strategies to help you stand out and convert skeptical buyers into happy fans.
The simple fact is: email is too slow, and very few people want to be put on hold and wait to speak to a customer representative when they can quickly ask the question in a chat widget right on the site. Chat allows consumers to get help directly on the platform they are using, while also allowing them the flexibility to continue browsing the internet while having a customer service conversation. Phone wait times can vary, and many people don’t like having one ear ‘on’ as they wait for customer support.
Millennials report feeling less stressed and pressured when they interact with a live chat feature, and users who engage in a chat and quickly get the answers to their questions are also more likely to spend more money. This means a business could be losing 30% of additional customer buying power just by not having a chat feature!
Live chat is definitely here to stay and it’s in every organization’s interest to adapt to the changing times of what their customers prefer.
What Is Live Chat?
Live chat is when a customer support agent is helping a customer in real time through a chat widget on a company’s website. Agents can quickly answer a customer’s questions based on their needs and provide a more customized experience. This live chat experience is somewhat different from an automated chatbot experience because chatbots already have a pre-determined and pre-filled response repository for them to use and can quickly recall commonly asked questions. Live chat is a step up, for when a customer needs individualized support and wants to talk to a real person.
Live chat offers a competitive edge because customers feel like the company they are doing business with cares about their time and needs. The biggest source of frustration for many customers is the inability to speak to a live person. The chat box provides a low-cost way to deliver that experience to their customers, and it’s incredibly simple to use, both for the customer and the agent.
How Does Live Chat Work? A Quick Walkthrough
For those who might be unfamiliar, a live chat interaction would look something like this: there is a popup on the client website, usually located at the bottom of the right-hand side of the webpage, that appears when a user or customer lands on that page. Within this automated chat popup, you will typically see a friendly customer agent profile picture and they will ask the user, “Hey there, how can I help you today?” This allows the user to quickly engage within chat if they are having trouble finding the right information they’re looking for. After that, the conversation with the customer has started and a personalized relationship with the customer gets built with a live agent.
On the back end, what the live agent sees is slightly different: They should have access to a single, holistic timeline view of the customer where the agent can quickly view aggregated data particular to that individual, and provide a personalized service to that customer.
Your live agents will actually have insights into what their potential customer is interested in, how long they’ve been a loyal customer, and utilize templated responses within the system to help respond faster to multiple customers asking for similar things.
When using a customer service CRM, businesses can integrate different apps and platforms into one central workspace, making it quick and easy for agents to service a customer on chat. Customers can be intelligently routed to the most appropriate representative at the beginning of the conversation, spam bot conversations can be automatically flagged with the help of AI, and customer feedback can be measured directly within the chat conversation.
What Are the Benefits of Live Chat on Your Website:
The biggest live chat benefit: it’s the most convenient channel for customers. They don’t have to switch platforms or switch ‘contexts’ in order to get the information they’re looking for. For example, if they’re forced to call a customer service agent, they’d have to get out their phone or switch applications on the phone (if they’re already on mobile), and wait in a queue for an agent to help them. For the average user, that’s a lot of frustration and wasted time. The same applies to e-mail. Although you don’t have to talk to someone, waiting 24 to 48 hours to get a response to a simple question can sour their experience.
Increases Purchase Conversions
Customers love to get an answer to their question within a few minutes, not hours and often hop on chat to get what they’re looking for right away. This means the role of the customer service agent has changed. They no longer simply provide solutions to problems, but instead are offering upfront advice to customers and clearing any roadblocks they might have with the product or service. After having their queries answered, customers are more likely to make their purchases right then and there, leading to more purchases.
Cart abandonment is one of the biggest challenges an online store has, but if you have a live customer service agent ready to answer any questions, you give customers a real-time incentive to buy from you.
You can also check out our guide about The Undeniable Benefits of Live Chat, if you’re looking for more information on how to deliver superior customer service through the use of live chat, chatbots and more.
According to recent consumer research conducted by Kustomer, 79% of consumers get frustrated when they can’t contact customer service on their preferred medium or platform, and 81% of consumers would abandon a purchase due to a poor service experience.
Low Cost … and It’s Personalized
It’s become rather inefficient to have a CS agent answer a phone call live: it doesn’t allow them to service more than one customer. After all, you can only speak to one person at a time on a call. With chat, this is no longer the case. An agent can manage multiple conversations at the same time while they’re waiting for customers to find their order number or look up additional information for the agent.
The power of personalized service also goes a long way for the customer; it gives them a sense of confidence and trust when they know there’s a real person on the other side of the conversation. When you have an increase in customer satisfaction, customers are more likely to buy from you again.
Removes Language Barrier
According to the U.S. Census, roughly 21% of the American population are non-native English speakers. That means a large swath of your customer base may not feel 100% confident in their speaking and writing ability. Emails can appear too formal and nerve-wracking for someone who speaks English as a second language and they may be overly critical of incorrect grammar. The same can happen with phone calls.
With the right customer service CRM, AI can identify the language the individual is speaking during the live chat and route them to a native speaker. It gives non-English speakers a better, more informal way of communicating with a customer representative. If you don’t have a representative that speaks the customer’s native language, that’s okay too. Through technology, live chat can take translatable snippets of typical questions and answer it in the customer’s native tongue. Chat provides a more relaxed way for a non-native speaker to communicate, and it’s also very forgiving of any grammar mistakes too.
How Effective Is Live Chat?
We know the benefits of live chat, but what does the data say on its effectiveness? Based on research conducted by Econsultancy, live chat has the highest satisfaction levels compared to any other customer service channel at 73%. This compares to 61% for email and 44% for phone.
According to data collected by Invespcro, 63% of consumers are more likely to return to a website that offers live chat, and 42% of customers prefer giving their contact information within chat, which is higher than any other lead generating method. People who engage in chat are also spending about 60% more per purchase than those who do not.
Do you have high shopping cart abandonment rates? Live chat can help fix that. According to Baymard Institute, the average cart abandonment rate is 69.57% And another report from Barilliance shows that cart abandonment rates are even higher on mobile devices, up to a whopping 85.6%.
This research is further confirmed by Forrester: 57% of participants said they’d abandon a purchase if their questions weren’t answered quickly enough and 44% of consumers said that having their questions answered by a live person was “one of the most important features a company can offer.”
Business Benefits of Live Chat
Study after study has shown that live chat is an effective way to prevent cart abandonment and increase customer satisfaction and loyalty. By having a live person on the other line, your buyers can have their complex issues fixed and you can give your customers a more personalized experience based on their unique challenges and needs at one of their most critical times: when they’re ready to buy.
Despite all the benefits of live chat, there is also a huge business disconnect happening right now. Only about 25% of customer service organizations are currently using chat, which means 75% of businesses are not leveraging the power of it, resulting in money and opportunities slipping through the cracks.
Cart abandonment is a huge problem for online merchants. A live chat agent is like having a personalized salesman to talk to your prospect and give them the boost of confidence they need in order for them to buy. It answers their questions and any objections they have in real time, which means purchases happen on the spot. You have the unique opportunity to guide a user through a roadblock, something that is not always possible with other forms of customer service communication.
Another benefit to providing a service in real-time is that the world is a very busy and distracting place, if a user has to come back later to make a decision, chances are they’ve moved on completely, and once you’ve lost them, you’ve lost them forever.
Think about all the effort that goes into marketing and sales, but what about customer service? You have the people already knocking at your door, it’s just about taking that extra personalized step and leading them to the right place that will help solve their core problem.
Interested in Getting Live Chat on Your Website? Try Kustomer
The behavior of consumers is constantly changing, but lately it has felt like shifts are happening at warp speed. Instead of acting like an ostrich with its head in the sand, customer service organizations must take steps to understand the needs of their customers, how to deliver, and put the tools and strategies in place to do so.