Most people who have used live chat as a customer know its biggest advantages: it’s quick, convenient and fits your need for instant communication when you can’t (or don’t want to) pick up the phone.
Nowadays, customers expect to be able to choose how they contact your business, in ways which are convenient for them. Imagine if your bank only provided information over the phone – it would be in trouble very quickly as phone lines get swamped and customer’s finances go haywire.
Because of this, the demand for real-time service within industries of every kind is driving the need for businesses to modernize their service and offer convenient, low-effort options for customer contact.
The data doesn’t lie – 79% of customers now prefer service through online chat. Consumer expectations and generational trends are certainly driving its popularity. But besides these, there are other reasons why more and more customers are making choice to chat. Here are four top reasons why:
- Chat encompasses all three phases of engagement
While a hallmark of chat is its real-time communication capabilities, live chat also has the ability to allow customers to communicate asynchronously as well as allow them to self-serve through bot interactions and inbuilt KBs.
There are times a customer may not want real-time service (understanding new releases or learning a new feature) or have a quick question that can be solved more easily and quickly with a bot. The beauty of chat is your customers can choose what suits them. But if your strategy calls for a particular type of engagement, then you can also configure your chat system to encourage customers down a particular route.
Rather than offering different channels to satisfy different needs and expectations, chat can do all in just one single platform – saving time and effort on the customer’s part and for your business.
- Chat offers rich media options
In one of my first jobs as an agent, I troubleshooted IT problems over the phone. You’ve never known frustration until you’ve tried communicating complex visual information via voice – without a shared screenshot to refer to, confusion often abounds. A problem that might take 5 seconds to solve via cobrowsing can be spun out to tens of minutes over voice.
A robust, modern live chat program empowers customers to connect with companies through rich media like audio, video and co-browsing, giving agents the choice to choose the right media to convey information in the quickest and easiest way.
Telemedicine is a use case that takes full advantage of these functions. Thanks to audio/video chat, patients can see a doctor and receive a diagnosis or prescription within the comfort of their own home, on their own time.
Offering these functionalities is also a great way to boost your organization’s customer satisfaction scores. According to our 2019 Benchmark Report, interactions that include co-browsing – which allows the agent (with permission) to view and interact with a customer’s web browser in real-time – show customer satisfaction rates that are more than six points higher than the average, at 89.3%.
- Chat can handle every ask
From answering simple FAQs to processing transactions to technical troubleshooting and complex conversations, live chat is equipped with the functionality to handle high-touch interactions anytime, anywhere.
It also makes your agents’ lives easier. Thanks to canned messages, agents can fire off quick answers to customer queries without needing to repeat themselves over and over again. Greetings can be automated, and customer information can be displayed from a CRM at the point a chat begins. Customers get fast service, while your agents cut down on their handle time, it’s a win-win for everybody.
Customers also don’t need to switch out of the platform for transactional asks. With PCI-compliant forms, visitors can check out, transfer money or place an order right in the chat window without ever needing to toggle screens.
- Chat is the basis of a good omnichannel strategy
One of my biggest CX hates is having to repeat myself to multiple departments or teams. I’m not alone – CCW’s latest report shows that the biggest pet peeve for customers is also repeating information they’ve already given to a company previously.
Live chat takes care of this by seamlessly integrating into any technology stack with its flexible API. Your agents get a 360-degree view of the customer with information from your CRM, web analytics platform, previous interaction history and more at their fingertips thanks to chat.
Customer-centric by nature, live chat has all the capabilities needed for good first contact resolution (FCR) and can be an excellent cornerstone of an effective omnichannel customer experience strategy.
As we move from analog to digital it’s important for organizations to consider how their channel mix meets their customer engagement strategy. There’s a need not just to offer customer-friendly channels but ones that also offer improvements and efficiencies to businesses too, as well as the ability to adapt to organizational growth over time.
Live chat really does have it all – a modern engagement channel that meets customer and business needs today, with the ability to automate and use AI to deliver the scalable, smart customer interactions of tomorrow.
Originally published here.
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