Online chat technology has been around since the early 2000’s, but there are a shocking number of companies that have yet to adopt this must-have customer service tool.
When done right, it can keep customers coming back for more and help you win and onboard new customers.
It doesn’t matter if you’re B2C or B2B, SMB or Enterprise.
SMBs are built on relationships.
Small to medium size businesses can be slow to adopt messaging because they believe that it will hinder making genuine connections and relationship building.
When in fact, live chat can safeguard their relationships by being approachable and accessible right when their customers need them the most.
Enterprises have legacy systems to deal with. So an Enterprise level chat software must integrate seamlessly into existing systems and processes.
Enterprise web chat can’t be just another app sitting on the computer or mobile device.
The best online chat platforms easily integrate with other tools that sit on the agent desktop. Agents won’t need to swivel between applications. They can manage conversations, send responses, transfer and collaborate with others on their team, and do so from one tab and with a single login.
Live chat can improve your customer experience by providing support that makes you approachable, accessible, and efficient.
There are more reasons to adopt web chat than not to. In this article, we deep dive into 5 ways online chat improves customer experience.
1. Make referencing information a snap
It’s hard to capture all of the details and nuances of a phone conversation.
Managing and referencing emails takes a conscious effort.
Web chat conversations take a lot less work because the complete history of the engagement is right there for the customer and agent.
Agents have the ability to share links and documents to customers during their conversation that customers can easily reference to help resolve their inquiry.
Just make sure your live chat platform supports conversation-based, versus case-based interactions. Meaning, conversations are continuous and customers don’t have to worry about “timing out” of a chat conversation and having to start all over again with a different agent, losing the previous conversation history.
Unlike many chat software solutions which are session or case-based, very few software vendors, allow conversations to automatically resume right where they left off, preserving the interaction from the very start of the conversation, whether that was from minutes, days, or months earlier.
Finally, sending your customer a transcript of their chat conversation makes referencing all the details shared within a conversation easy for the customer.
2. Extend omnichannel and omni-moment support
When your customers need help, they want to reach you when and how it’s convenient for them.
Companies no longer have the luxury to force customers to make the time to call their 1-800 number and engage with them during business hours.
Customers want and expect the ability to reach out on social media, with text messaging, and via your website. The issue they face at that particular moment of need often determines how they reach out to you.
If customers need a quick update on their shipping, they may shoot you a text. If customers are browsing your site and can’t find a particular product, they may want to chat with you for immediate assistance. These situations could happen within hours or months, but it’s important for you to know these needs may change over time and according to what the customer needs to resolve.
Providing channels that make it convenient for your customer to reach you and cater to their unique moment of need naturally improves the customer experience.
3. Get to the point in conversations quick
Phone conversations naturally start with small talk, meant to build rapport.
That’s great, but your customers are focused on getting an answer so they can get back to their busy life – so fast, concise responses are expected.
Most web chat conversations start with “How may I help you”, which gives the customer the license to jump right in.
As mentioned, customers are multi-tasking when they engage in a live chat session. Many live chat agents are trained to cut the small talk because any superfluous questions like “How’s the weather where you are?” can distract the customer from other tasks and prolong a conversation unnecessarily.
4. Resolve issues correctly
Live chat is not only faster and less expensive than phone and email but may offer features that help resolve answers more accurately.
Tools, such as pre-built responses, allow agents to quickly provide answer frequently asked questions like “What are your business hours?” or “Are there any new offers?” A library of responses to questions like these ensures that answers are consistent and up-to-date.
When an agent needs help, having the ability to either transfer the web chat or to collaborate with another agent or manager is a click away.
Agents and managers on the receiving end of the transfer are immediately presented with the history of the conversation for reference, eliminating the need for customers to repeat themselves.
5. Curate insights from existing customers
Today’s connected customer is highly likely to use some version of self-service to try and resolve their issue even before contacting the company.
Help new and existing customers by using insights from your web chat conversations to proactively resolve issues. Web chat agents find that creating knowledge base topics from ready to reference chat conversations are easy to document.
If you observe patterns where customers frequently struggle to find products or continue to request more information, it may be valuable to leverage these learnings to make conscious changes to your website.
Online chat demonstrates approachability, accessibility, and efficiency, regardless of who is landing on your site. It also gives web visitors the confidence that they can reach help when they need it, in the way that’s convenient for them.
Live chat provides a more immediate channel to get questions answered, satisfying the need for instant gratification of today’s digital-first mobile customer. Live chat is there to help your customer answer questions, help them make decisions, and move them forward in the purchase cycle.
Guest author: Marciela Ross is Sr. Content Marketing Manager at Quiq.