Why Live Chat is the Future of Customer Service
- What is Live Chat?
- Benefits of Live Chat for Customer Support: The Why, What, and How
- Build solid relationships
- Enhances team productivity
- Serve your customers 24*7
- Gives insights about your customers
- Use Cases For Live Chat: Industries That Can Leverage Live Chat
- Pros & Cons Of Live Chat
- How Does AI-powered Live Chat Improve the Productivity Of Customer Support Agents
- Live Chat Best Practices for Customer Support
- How Does AI Help Automate Customer Support Through Live Chat
- Live Chat: Key Metrics To Track
- Final Thoughts: Why Live Chat Is The Future Of Customer Support
Imagine this. You are in an online apparel store trying to find your favourite pair of jeans. You are in a time crunch, and you need this to be delivered in a few days. There’s absolutely no time to step out and pick it up from a brick-and-mortar store, and this specific pair of jeans isn’t available in any other online store. Yikes.
The entire situation gets a tad bit complicated because the product page screams “Out of stock.”
The obvious next thing to do is write to customer service, right? But is it going to be through an email? Nah! Firstly, that’s a lot of work, and second, it takes a ton of time. Then, would you ring them up? The answer is, well, no - again! Calling up the customer support agent has a fat chance of a delayed response owing to endless re-routing to the “right person.”
The easiest path to solving this would be interacting through the live chat by firing quick questions and getting instant answers.
The reality is customers are always on the lookout for answers, and they need it real quick. This is because purchase decisions are not easy. Customers consider a million things before choosing a product or service. Not just that, even after the purchase, they expect to have a seamless brand experience.
It becomes a pain if you have to handle hundreds and thousands of questions through countless chains of emails and endless calls. A simple and effective solution? Live Chat.
What is Live Chat?
Live chat is a communication tool that enables website visitors to interact with a customer support agent or a business representative in real-time to get their queries answered or issues resolved. The conversations can also be between bots and customers with highly curated, personalized, and human-like responses. It is the easiest way to improve customer experience and build meaningful and long-lasting relationships.
📖Recommended Read: Here’s a complete guide to chatbots and how they elevate your CX
Benefits of Live Chat for Customer Support: The Why, What, and How
It’s simple, quick & easy
The most significant benefit of live chat is its simplicity. It saves customers hours of time in navigating through the website, scouring through dozens of help articles, being redirected through phone calls, and follow-ups on emails. They can get instant answers and solutions to their questions without breaking a sweat. It is also the most cost-effective channel compared to the staffing requirement for managing customer support via phones and emails.
Here are some examples of FAQs that can be answered through chat live:
- Return Policies
- Order tracking
- Payment methods
- Pricing information
- Shipping information
- Delivery status
- Refund information
- Product exchange
Build solid relationships
Unlike emails, live chat gives a support agent more scope to make the interaction personalized as they can show genuine concern and interest in the customers’ needs. Empathizing on a deeper level and showing urgency to help the customer out can help in boosting morale and loyalty.
Enhances team productivity
The average wait time for live chat support is 46 seconds. As discussed at the beginning of the post, customers need answers, and they need them fast. In the absence of automated responses through live chat, it becomes difficult to improve customer experience. With live chat, the frequently asked questions can be answered through instant and automated responses, thus saving time and boosting customer support agents’ productivity
Serve your customers 24*7
There’s a cut-off time for everything - emails and phone calls. But, live chat is the only channel that can break the timezone barriers and contribute to continued customer service and engagement regardless of the hour and time of the day. Through automation and leveraging the gains of AI and GPT, you can engage with your customers 24/7.
Gives insights about your customers
Live chat data offers valuable insights about customers and the product or service. Based on the chat analytics, you can deeply understand what causes the customer the most issues, what features they are typically happy about, and what products or services they least appreciate. These insights can help in shaping up the product and tweaking customer experience on an ongoing basis
Use Cases For Live Chat: Industries That Can Leverage Live Chat
Live chat is not just for Ecommerce. The use cases and applications of live chat span a lot of industries, including SaaS, healthcare, finance, hospitality, and more. Let’s look at some of these use cases:
- Live Chat for E-commerce: One of the most popular use cases for live chat is for E-commerce businesses. All of us have experienced chatting on an online store, typically enquiring about a product and seeking help with orders, delivery, and shipment. Live chat on online stores helps in improving the shopping experience and increasing conversions
- Live Chat for Hospitality: In the hospitality industry, live chat can be very handy as customers tend to have many questions about the hotel - the stay, cost, amenities, and more. Automating the responses on live chat for these frequently asked questions can help save time and reduce the workload to a great extent
- Live Chat for Travel: In the travel industry, live chat can be used to help customers out with real-time support for booking. The travel agents can increase customer satisfaction by catering to the customer’s needs via live chat. They can answer all their travel-related questions, recommend hotels, tourist spots, and more
- Live Chat for B2B and B2C: Another popular use case for live chat support is the B2B and B2C industry, where customers can get instant answers to their questions about the product, features, issues, bugs, pricing, upgrades, and roadmap
- Live Chat for Healthcare: In the healthcare industry, live chat can be used to provide guidance on the best healthcare centers, medication for non-emergency medical issues, etc.
- Live Chat for Education: Live chat can be used in the education industry to provide students with real-time support for academic-related questions. The students can also shoot questions about administrative chores, course requirements, sponsorship policies and financial aid, and also direction on career development
Pros & Cons Of Live Chat
Here are some fast facts about the pros and cons of live chat.
Pros of live chat:
- Live chat helps in catering to customer needs without delay and in real-time
- It is easier than lengthy emails and difficult phone calls
- It is context-driven and has the highest scope for personalization. It can be within your product (app), so you have the most context of the user
- It builds rapport long-term customer relationships, and loyalty
- Increases conversions and reduces time to purchase
- Enhances productivity through automation and makes multitasking a piece of cake
- It is cost-effective as it does not require many resources
Cons of live chat:
- Customers can run into technical issues while trying to contact support
- Needs a lot of text-based explanation, which can be difficult if the issue is complex
- It is not a very secure channel if there are no stringent policies
- A lack of tone can lead to miscommunication and frustration
How Does AI-powered Live Chat Improve the Productivity Of Customer Support Agents
Customer support agents are caught up in a cobweb of support tasks -answering calls, writing emails, helping users with feature adoption, resolving burning issues - the tasks are endless.
However, AI-powered live chat can free up the time of a customer support agent and can massively enhance their productivity. For instance, in a typical online apparel store, customers tend to frequently ask about product exchange policies and the restocking of their favorite pieces. Imagine if the support agent has to respond to hundreds of customers with the same question.
Automating repetitive tasks helps free up the time of the support agents so that they can focus on more complex issues. Live chat has become smarter than ever with the support of AI. This means you can resolve queries 24/7 and significantly eliminate waiting and queue time.
Live Chat Best Practices for Customer Support
Managing live chat is no piece of cake. It takes a lot of skills to be able to communicate with customers and get their queries resolved. Here are some best practices for seamless customer experience management:
- Always be on your toes: Be proactive and resolve customer queries as soon as you can. Customers expect and appreciate quick responses. Enhance efficiency by prioritizing urgent requests
- Try not to sound like a robot: In the digital age, personalization is still inadequate and does not make the cut. Customers expect hyper-personalization. So, understanding the complete context and knowing the customer thoroughly helps you standout
- Create a repository of resources: The scenario of routine questions is quite common. Hence, it is only reasonable to prepare ahead by equipping yourself with resources like - answers to FAQs, help articles, videos, etc.
- Make yourself clear and concise: Make your responses crip and non-ambiguous so that the customers are not confused
- Ask for feedback: Make sure that you ask your customers for their feedback so that you can closely them and improve the quality
- Make sure to follow up: Follow up with your customers to make sure that their needs are being addressed and offer assistance as and when needed
How Does AI Help Automate Customer Support Through Live Chat
AI can help automate live chat support by using Natural Language Processing (NLP) to understand and respond to customer queries in a conversational tone. Here are some ways AI can automate live chat support:
- Chatbots: AI-powered chatbots can provide instant responses to frequently asked customer queries. They can handle simple queries, such as order status and product information, without the need for human intervention
- Automated routing: AI can route customer inquiries to the appropriate agent or department based on their query, reducing wait times and improving customer satisfaction
- Personalization: AI can personalize responses based on customer data, such as their purchase history and preferences. This can provide a more tailored experience for the customer and saves their time from going over repetitive data
- Predictive analytics: AI can analyze customer data and predict potential issues before they occur. This can help proactively address customer concerns and improve the overall customer experience
Live Chat: Key Metrics To Track
There are certain metrics to be tracked for live chat that can help in improving customer experience and enhance engagement. Let’s now look at some of these key metrics:
Abandoned chats are when customers exit a chat session before getting their queries resolved. A high chat abandonment rate indicates bad customer service
Duration of the chat
This indicates the time spent by an agent during a chat session. This can help in finding the average time taken to resolve customer queries and improve customer experience
Average time to respond
The sooner a support agent gets to the customers’ query, the better the customer service. The data on average time to respond helps in understanding the gaps and taking steps to improve it
Volume of chat
This refers to the number of chat sessions customers initiate in a given period of time. This helps in planning and allocating the resources
Customer service score
Customers are asked to rate their experience with the chat support agent. These scores help in identifying areas of improvement
Final Thoughts: Why Live Chat Is The Future Of Customer Support
Customers crave top-notch service and a breezy experience. They do not have the patience to wait for replies or be redirected to the right person. AI-powered live chat is slick, futuristic, and instant - the winning formula for customer success.
With intelligent tools coupled with best practices, you can elevate your customer experience to a whole new level. Right from real-time support, multilingual support, and human-like conversations - the future of customer support looks bright with the enablement of live chat!