Live chat customer support can be a real convenience for your customers and give your business a reputation for caring about solving problems for your clientele. But before you jump in and start a live chat service, make sure you understand the pros and cons.
Let’s look at live chat customer support and how it can change your business for the better.
Pros of Live Chat Customer Support
Chat support has very high customer satisfaction ratings when customers are surveyed.
Chat is quick and tends to solve problems on the spot, right when customers need it.
It is easy to place a chat button on a site prominently, and this gives comfort to a new customer who might otherwise have been reluctant to try your site-support is a click away.
Fewer abandoned sales occur. Because the chat personnel can walk customers through a transaction, they tend to finish it.
Chat transcripts allow you to analyze what kinds of problems customers have and how good your company is at solving those problems.
Cons of Live Chat Customer Support
You may have to accommodate non-standard business hours if you want to offer 24/7 live chat support. Customers expect help around the clock. If you outsource to a service for this, it not only costs more money, you may not get the level of expertise you would have from in-house staff. Alternatives to this include setting software rules with the chat set-up to ensure it’s only displayed during specific business hours.
Mobile devices can be a problem. Chat is not working that great on smartphones and tablets, and if many of your customers use mobile, your chat could be ineffective.
Poor support on live chat is twice as aggravating to customers. They have an expectation that the chat function will solve their problems on the spot, and if that fails, they may get angry and go to your competition. Perhaps the biggest con is that if a live chat service isn’t properly executed, it can be just as frustrating to customers as putting them on hold on the phone for interminable wait times.
What Does Your Business Need?
There may be more pros and cons, but we have covered the basics here. The question now is how will you make your decision about whether to offer live chat customer support.
The best way to answer that question is to make a plan, test it, debug it and see if it lives up to your expectations.
The plan should include mockups of your chat window. It should also include a list of all the most likely questions you will get.
The testing phase will require training at least one employee to answer chat questions. This can be a challenge, because during off hours, this person won’t have anyone else to ask about difficult problems.
Find some people among your staff to play the role of testers, and have them join live chat with questions.
Notice all the glitches, fix them, then try the test again.
You will know if live chat customer support is for you by the time you work all the bugs out.