5 signs your support really needs live chat software

Great customer support is all about going the extra mile to ensure your customers get their questions answered easily and instantly. And when you think about all the support channels available at your disposal, the one that really helps you achieve this objective is live chat. Between email, phone, social media, and chat, live chat happens to be the simplest, most unobtrusive, and the fastest. No wonder then that more and more consumers expect live chat to be available when they are looking to contact a business. In fact, as per a report by Forrester:

“Online chat adoption among customers has significantly risen in the past few years, from 38% in 2009 to 43% in 2012 to 65% in 2015.”

The use of phones as a customer support channel has been steadily declining and is expected to continue doing so as more and more people adopt digital channels. In fact, voice support is quickly transforming into an escalation tool and doesn’t happen to be the primary service channel anymore.

The reason most consumers are gyrating towards chat is a direct extension of the fact that we all enjoy a chat in our personal lives— it’s fast, familiar, respects our privacy, and above all, is convenient. It’s the least obtrusive of all other support channels and consumers can carry on working, checking their email, and even having their lunch while carrying out a chat conversation. Live chat is the only customer service channel that seamlessly fits into their lifestyle.

Chat offers several benefits to consumers. Businesses can instantly connect their website visitors to chat operators with the appropriate skills to answer their queries without making them navigate arduous IVRs. Questions can be clearly resolved in almost real-time and operators can make use of added insights, like customer behavior on the website, to move conversations forward in a proactive manner.

The benefits of live chat support are not limited to consumers alone. Businesses have realized that live chat can increase conversions and boost revenues while helping gather valuable consumer insights. They can use the insights to further strengthen other self-service support channels like a knowledge base and save even more time and costs. 

That said, and despite being aware of the fact that live chat adoption is growing at a fast pace, many businesses are still not sure if they need to add live chat support to their day-to-day operations. Many still believe, and perhaps incorrectly so, that email and phone support are sufficient enough to handle their customer queries and keep their business competitive.

If you are a business that’s grappling with the idea of introducing live chat support for your consumers, read on. This article will help you decide whether you should get live chat software for your business. Look for the following 5 signs that indicate your support really needs live chat software. 

1. Your support team is often overwhelmed by “too many emails.”

When it comes to customer satisfaction, an important metric to look at is the FCR (First Contact Resolution) rate. FCR not only helps measure customer satisfaction (the higher the first-call resolution rate, the more satisfied your customers tend to be), but also drives customer loyalty. FCR is also a measure of your support agents’ efficiency and, ultimately, acts as an important factor in the overall business profitability.

And of the support channels, email happens to have the lowest FCR. No surprises there, considering the fact that it may take up to several email exchanges just to understand the grievance that the consumer has. Most email support agents face the challenge of not having enough information to process a customer’s request for support. So, they need to get back to customers requesting additional information, which wastes valuable time. The emails keep getting piled up as more of these unfruitful conversations happen.

On the other hand, if this interaction were to happen in real-time, getting to all the necessary information would not take so long. That’s where live chat can really help resolve the problem and reduce the number of email requests.

2. Your customer satisfaction level isn’t too good

As a business, if you believe that customer satisfaction is important, then you are probably looking for ways to improve it. An often-cited statistic in biz circles states that over 90 percent of unhappy customers will never talk about their discontent (to the business, that is). They will prefer to simply move their business elsewhere – and rant about their grievance in all of their social circles.

This fact alone should be enough to convince any business of the need to take customer satisfaction even more seriously. Especially if they are to flourish in this intensely competitive arena of the modern marketplace.

If you are consistently getting poor customer satisfaction ratings, it’s time for all your alarm bells to go off. Try to break this down further and you will realize that poor customer satisfaction ratings stem from one of these two primary reasons: either contacting customer support takes way too long, or it takes too much effort. Long delays, automated queuing systems that make customers wait before they can be heard, as the irritating ‘you are on hold’ music blares unapologetically in the background makes it worse, doesn’t it?

If the Customer Service Benchmark Report from eDigitalResearch, released in July 2015, is anything to go by, less than half of the customers (45% to be precise) admitted to being satisfied with phone support as the primary touchpoint. More surprisingly, only 26% of those interviewed found it easy to use. The report also highlighted live chat as the support channel with the highest customer satisfaction rating (73%) of all channels, due to its ready availability and ease of use.

So, take a moment and figure out if your team is overwhelmed with phone support, social channels, and emails. It might be the right time to compliment your support channels with live chat support. Also, with 53% of the consumers expecting a phone response in under 3 minutes, it makes sense to start answering queries instantly with live chat software as opposed to leaving them hanging, and eventually disgruntled.

3. You don’t know your website visitors as well as you should!

Of the myriad other advantages offered by live chat software, the one that clearly stands out is the ability to collect and analyze important information about your website visitors. Most modern live chat systems allow you to collect all sorts of visitor information during a chat with the customer, including their environment and about the chat itself. Any additional information that’s needed can be collected via a pre-chat form. All this information can be used to communicate with the customers even more efficiently.

By adding a small snippet of code on your website pages, you can see who’s on your website in real-time. Chat operators can see the current web page that the visitor is currently on, as well as the page they landed on when they first came to the website and from where. They can see which page the chat was launched from as well.

With all this real-time visitor monitoring, it’s possible to get closer than ever to your customers. Combined with advanced reporting and analytics, it makes it possible for your customer support team to delight website visitors in a number of ways. Invaluable data like this can give you some great insights into your customer service and marketing planning.

4. You think you ought to be more proactive

When you are looking to offer support to customers on your website, there are essentially two ways you can go about it doing it. You can either sit back, waiting for your customers to connect with you with their queries via phone or email (and even chat, but you are still contemplating whether you should have chat support after all, right?). This is an example of reactive customer service.

Or, you can take the initiative and offer help even before your customers ask for it (without being intrusive, of course). This is an example of proactive support.

Proactive customer support requires that businesses make the first move when it comes to helping customers. These underlying philosophy mandates that support agents go out of their way to first figure out any potential problems that a customer might have and then proactively offer to resolve them even before customers ask for help.

The demand for proactive support is also not just an option anymore. It is a fast emerging trend in the customer service industry, if a 2016 report concluded by Forrester is to be believed. And as a business, it makes sense to shift your support philosophy towards one that is more engaging. 

Proactive Live Chat is being employed with a lot of success on many websites that are looking to offer targeted assistance to the visitors when they need it the most. This makes sales and customer service processes vastly more scalable, user-friendly, and productive. For example, a chat invitation can be initiated when it’s seen that a visitor is spending too much time on a product specification page or a specific section of the website with complex information about a product or service. Similarly, it’s a good idea to initiate a chat when a visitor lands on a 404 page.

Data from the e-tailing group reveals that proactive chat yields extremely good results with over 65% of respondents being appreciative of proactive invitations sent through chat.

5. Your Budget Starts To Exceed Your Customer Service Expenses

As businesses grow and expand, so do the associated service costs. There are more and more customers and prospects who start contacting you, looking for support. With time, you realize that you need even more people you need to handle these customer engagements. And then, one fine day, you start to ask yourself if there is a better way to manage your resources so they are more efficient.

This is when you might want to consider investing in live chat software. The cost of offering live chat support is among the lowest, compared to other support channels. As per the study conducted by Gartner, it was found that live chat support costs less than a quarter of a phone transaction. On average, a single live chat interaction costs about $10 per session as opposed to a cost of $33 for every phone service interaction. Further, a single chat operator is able to handle multiple chat sessions at the same time. This results in less manpower being required to provide live chat assistance.

Concluding thoughts

If you agree with one or more of the reasons mentioned in the article, or if you notice some of these signs in your own business, then it’s probably time to invest in a good live chat software application and an added customer service channel. In case you are already using one, and agree with the ideas mentioned above, we would love to know about your experience.