Why live chat is important

Strong customer service is the backbone of any business, and in an increasingly digital world, live chat has become a key feature of many organisations’ customer service offering. But what is it about this messaging software that makes it so important to companies? Here, we explore how live chat slots into a comprehensive approach to customer care, and why it has become such an essential tool for many businesses.

How does live chat work for customer service?

A live chat tool that connects consumers with customer support representatives is often used as part of a broad customer service package that combines everything from telephone and email answering to dealing with comments and questions on social media. Live chat offers a quick and easy way for consumers to get answers to a wide range of questions in real-time. A big part of its appeal stems from its sheer convenience. People don’t have to search for email addresses or telephone numbers, and they can expect answers to their queries immediately.

Customers can use live to chat to ask anything they would by email or phone. For example, they can request pricing or delivery information, ask for further product or service details, or make queries regarding existing orders. However, live chat functionality extends beyond this. Because it’s available on your website in real time, consumers can use it if they need help navigating your site or are having difficulties at checkout. For this reason, it can play a critical role in driving conversions and reducing your website’s bounce rate.

Live chat also provides an ideal opportunity to elicit feedback from customers. It gives you the chance to ask questions directly after a customer interaction, and the responses you get can help you to shape your offering moving forward.

Why do companies use live chat?

It’s clear that there are many potential benefits associated with live chat. Here are some of the specific reasons why companies choose this technology.

  • Preferred by customers

Research shows that live chat is increasingly becoming consumers’ preferred support channel. Highlighting this, figures from eDigital’s Customer Service Benchmark suggest that live chat has the highest satisfaction level of any customer service channel at 73%. This compares with 61% for email and 44% for phone. Many people simply find using live chat to be easier and less stressful than speaking to someone on the phone, and of course it’s instant too – meaning no queuing on the phone or waiting for an email response.

  • Frees up call centre agents to handle more complex queries

It remains the case that more complex questions are sometimes better suited to a telephone call. However, live chat also plays a role here. It can help to free up call centre agents to deal with these more complex queries.

  • Provides a rich source of customer information

Live chat software can be a mine of customer information, helping to give you a 360-degree view of your customers. You can use it to glean data-rich insights that help you to hone your offering, and it’s also an effective way to identify navigational problems and other issues with your website.

  • Builds trust

Customers want to feel supported throughout their shopping journey, from when they’re researching your products or services to when they’re making a purchase and beyond. Live chat can play an important role in this. Using specialist outsourced live chat services means you can ensure your business is available to respond to questions outside of your working hours. By being there at all moments for your customers, you can build trust and loyalty. 

Does live chat increase sales?

For all the reasons mentioned above and more, live chat can help to increase sales. According to market research experts Forrester, consumers who use this messaging software are 2.8 times more likely to convert than those who don’t. In contrast, half of adults will abandon their purchases if they can’t find a quick answer to their questions.

Meanwhile, a poll carried out by human resources consulting firm Anderson Consulting found that nearly 62% of online customers would purchase more products if live chat support was available.

The figures speak for themselves. When used effectively, live chat can have a powerful impact not just on sales, but also more generally when it comes to enhancing your customer service offering.