Outstanding customer service can help your company outshine your competition. Your first thought might be the more ways you provide for customers to contact you, the better off you’ll be, but you must ensure those ways are high-quality and that you’re providing a consistent experience across all customer service contact points.
Eighty-nine percent of consumers indicate frustration when having to repeat issues to more than one customer service representative. When you offer service via multiple channels, this can become a real problem. There are both pros and cons to adding live chat to your website. Below, learn about four benefits of live chat pros, as well as a couple of cons to be aware of.
Pros of Live Chat
1. Consumers Like Live Chat
There are many reasons to consider implementing live chat on your website. Ninety percent of consumers indicate they find live chat helpful, and 63 percent stated they were more likely to visit a website with a live chat feature. Consumers like having the option to instantly chat with a customer service representative without going through dozens of phone commands or dealing with an accent they might not understand very well.
Nordstrom, which has a reputation for outstanding customer service, offers a live chat option for their customers. They allow you to sort through a variety of categories, so they can connect you to a representative who will be able to solve your issue. This pre-screening partially helps alleviate the issue of omni-channel service. In addition, there is a field where you can enter your order number. This information allows the rep to look up the history of your account, especially if you’ve previously contacted them about the issue.
Using live chat may save a lot of time because you could train the representatives to identify specific problems and fix any issues quickly. In fact, live chat may be more efficient than a phone call for resolving minor issues. In addition, people on both sides of the live chat could work on other tasks while waiting for a response. Even though multitasking isn’t the most efficient use of time, it does allow for less wasted time in some circumstances.
Sam’s Club live chat gets right to the point by asking, “What is your question?” This setup allows the system to filter the question to an available agent and have an answer ready almost immediately — saving time both for the agent and the consumer.
3. Capturing Leads
You can set yourself above the competition by answering questions potential leads might have about your product or service. Even though an FAQ might cover basic questions, not every site visitor will take the time to find and read your FAQ page. Or, the person might have an obscure question you didn’t cover in your FAQ.
Nolan Painting does a good job of allowing potential customers to ask questions by offering the option from their landing page. The live chat box is over to the right and offset with orange to draw the site visitors’ attention. Because the orange CTA buttons are different than the other colors on the page, it draws the eye.
4. Higher Sales Numbers
Implementing live chat could help your company see a spike in sales. One company saw a 300 percent increase after adding live chat to their website. The reasoning is that people trust a site that answers their questions. By installing live chat, you can ensure you’re answering your customers’ questions almost instantly.
Cons of Live Chat
If you want your live chat to be effective for the consumer, you need to staff it with people who are well-trained and -versed in your products and policies. In addition to needing that training, the person must be skilled at creating a positive experience for the consumer, even via a medium that doesn’t allow for expression or tone.
If you understaff your chat and force people to wait for a response, they may bounce away from your site, resulting in lost sales. The faster a representative connects with the site visitor, the better your chance of selling to that customer.
Live chat costs your company both time and money. Using it requires you to install software and spend time and resources training representatives. Another option is to delegate the task of responding to live chat to your current employees. However, doing so can create a situation where the employee must drop other tasks to prioritize answering live chat questions.
This isn’t the most effective way to run a live chat, but for smaller companies, it might be necessary until the online revenue grows enough to justify hiring full-time service reps to handle live chat only.
The statistics clearly show live chat can increase your bottom line for online sales. However, consider the drawbacks mentioned above. One way to get started is to offer limited hours for your live chat, such as when your most knowledgeable salespeople are in the office and may be able to help answer such questions. You can always add representatives and expand your hours as you grow.
Customers expect to be able to contact your company in a variety of ways. Live chat is just another option that elevates your customer service to that extra level above the competition.