Today’s customers expect to receive support where they want, when they want, and how they want. As customer expectations have changed and grown more demanding, companies have struggled to keep pace by adding new service options to their catalog. Now it’s very common for a company to offer customer support via several channels, such as email, text, phone, and chat.
Out of those, chat is the newest support channel. Many business leaders are intrigued by the thought of adding chat as a support option for their customers but wonder if the return would be worth the investment. However, research and experience indicate that when live chat is properly integrated into an organization’s overall customer support strategy, the returns justify the investment.
Here are 3 positive impacts that chat support can have on your other service channels:
1. Fewer Phone Calls
Deploying a chat support option will likely have a significant impact on the incoming call volume to phone-based agents. There are many reasons for this. For instance, many millennials prefer chat to phone. Customers can easily initiate chat sessions from their PC, laptop, or mobile device. In addition, responses over chat are generally much faster than over the phone.
The reality is that live chat sessions offer many advantages that phone interactions cannot provide. This is due to the different nature of live chat compared to phone support. For example, many customers may prefer to speak with an agent over the phone for complex issues. They may feel more comfortable interacting with an agent in real-time conversation when clarity of communication is needed. However, for routine requests or frequently asked questions, many customers may prefer chat support. In these situations, a customer’s primary concern may be a speedy resolution to his or her issue, instead of in-depth support.
Live chat often lends itself to such quick customer support. With support agents spending an estimated 90% of their time constantly repeating the same answers to commonly asked questions, the live chat option is a wonderful way to enable such basic support without eating up all of the agent’s time on “assembly line” phone calls. In addition, integrating live chat into your support strategy allows for the possibility of chatbot integration at a future date — another excellent way to reduce the volume of routine support tickets through automation.
2. Reduced Costs
Reduced resolution time means reduced costs. While the industry-standard average handle time (AHT) for phone interactions is 6 minutes and 3 seconds, most live chat issues get resolved in 42 seconds or less — a huge difference! In addition, live chat agents are often able to handle multiple customer interactions at the same time without sacrificing quality of service. For example, many chat software programs allow agents to type in pre-defined or “canned” messages that assist customers in resolving common issues.
It’s only logical that such optimization of an agent’s time would ultimate lead to significant cost savings. Consider this: when an agent is interacting with a customer over the phone, he or she is tied to that customer for as long as the call lasts. If the customer has a complex issue, then the agent may be “stuck” on one interaction for several minutes. On the other hand, a live chat agent may be able to work on a more complicated customer issue while still providing support for multiple routine requests.
3. Increased Customer Satisfaction
More and more customers consider live chat to be their preferred support option, over channels like phone and email. One study found that a whopping 92% of customers prefer live chat over all other forms of communication, and that 44% of customers think that the ability to initiate live chat with an agent in the middle of an online purchase is one of the most important features that a website can offer.
Why is there such a strong inclination towards chat support among consumers? One reason is the speed that such an option typically provides. In our age of instant gratification, customers want answers to their questions — and they want them now. The real-time capabilities of live chat make it a much more attractive option than email, which could take hours (if not days) for a response.
On the other hand, many consumers prefer to limit the extent of their interaction with company representatives. Even a phone call may be undesirable for many customers in need of assistance. Add to that the extra effort it takes to call a support center (and the often-interminable wait times) and it’s easy to see why chat support is the preferred option for many customers.
Enlisting the Aid of the Chat Support Experts
As the above information clearly demonstrates, chat support can have a profound and positive effect on a company’s other service channels. It can:
- Reduce costs by freeing up support agents to handle multiple tickets at the same time, and quickly resolve routine tickets
- Result in fewer phone calls, especially among customers that want a quick resolution to their issue instead of in-depth assistance
- Increase customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores by providing a preferred support channel that allows for minimal agent-customer interaction and real-time communication
If you are looking for ways to streamline and optimize your customer support strategy, then you should consider the benefits of chat support. At GlowTouch, our customer experience and outsourcing experts can help you to weigh the pros and cons of a live chat solution and implement your decision to maximum effect. If you’d like to learn more, reach out to our team of friendly professionals today to start the conversation.