With the rise of online shopping, live chat has become a powerful tool for many businesses. While live chat is a user-friendly method of communication that is accessible to almost everyone, it comes with its own set of limitations that should be taken into consideration before implementing it as an online business marketing tool.
Here’s what you need to know about the pros and cons of live chat.
What is Live Chat?
Live chat is an online communication method where consumers can communicate in real-time. The most common use of live chat is for customer support, wherein a company’s representatives respond to your questions and resolve your issues through a one-to-one chat session. Live chat software gives your customer service a human touch, so your customers have a more pleasant and satisfying experience with your business instead of feeling frustrated.
Live chat can also be used for marketing. When used for marketing, you can use live chat to communicate with potential customers who are interested in your products or your business. You can use live chat to let prospective customers know when you have new products available or provide assistance with your products. Going that extra step can secure sales and boost customer loyalty.
Types of Live Chat
There are different types of live chat depending on the purpose of your website or business, so consider your specific needs to determine which option would suit your requirements best.
Types of real-time communication include:
Standard live chat
Live chat as most people know it allows real-time communication via a customer service representative and a user. It may begin with a chatbot that will attempt to resolve basic queries, before handing over to a human member of staff who will manage the conversation from there.
Unified messaging is a feature of live chat that allows you to send messages and create conversations across different platforms like email, messaging apps, and social media. Unified messaging is a convenient way to seamlessly communicate with your customers. You can create a conversation across various channels and send a copy of the conversation to customers. This is often a highly cost-effective way to communicate.
A chatbot is a computer program that engages in conversations with humans. It’s a highly interactive and engaging method of communication that eliminates the language barrier. Chatbots are designed to deliver information, fix problems, and interact with customers. A chatbot can be programmed to respond to any number of requests, enabling businesses to save time and resources by automating repetitive processes.
The pros of live chat
Live chat has a wide range of benefits that make it worth considering as an online tool. With the right implementation you can improve customer experience and help resolve problems much quicker.
The pros of live chat include:
Live chat can be a quick way of managing customer problems or queries. Instead of going back and forth via email, instant messaging over live chat can speed up the process without the long wait for replies. Often, screenshots and attachments can also be sent via live chat to provide extra information with the click of a button.
Convenience and reliability
Since you don’t have to write or send emails, or make calls, you can resolve issues quicker, which in turn saves time. Real-time communication is very convenient for both the user — who can quickly get the answers they’re looking for and therefore feel much more satisfied — as well as customer service teams, who can respond in just a matter of seconds. Quicker processes mean happier staff and customers.
A good first impression
If your customer service isn’t up to scratch, this will not go down well with anyone. Long wait times, having to repeat information, and not receiving any responses will only create a negative impression of your company, but live chat can help to mitigate these issues. Simple problems can be resolved in half the time, leaving customers much happier and more fulfilled.
Customer service should extend beyond the sale. Beyond this point, live chat is a great way to retain loyal customers, acting as a hub for resolving post-purchase queries, troubleshooting, or gaining more information on the product or service they’ve received. Going the extra mile will be noticed.
Provides a human touch
Customers can be irritated when they receive an automated response when they communicate with you via email. In comparison, live chat adds a more human touch, demonstrating to customers that there is someone behind the screen who genuinely cares about resolving their issue. In the long run, this can improve your customers’ perception of your company.
The cons of using of live chat
Live chat also comes with its own set of limitations that need to be considered. Some of the cons include:
The primary goal of live chat is to communicate with customers in a timely and convenient manner. However, while this is typically the case, the ease of real-time communication may result in lengthy and drawn-out conversations. Of course, the goal should be to resolve problems as quickly as possible, but you should be mindful of how this may affect overall efficiency.
Time zone issues
The Internet operates 24/7, and so do users worldwide. If you’re an international business, then you may need your live chat to operate at any time of day or night. For those who don’t have the resources for this, it could make live chat only a semi-useful tool if those in particular time zones cannot make use of it.
May not work for everyone
Not everyone likes using live chat, so you need to consider the makeup of your consumer base and decide whether the tool is an appropriate method of communication. Although trends have shown that live chat is a favored tool, having a range of alternative communication methods (including more traditional options like email or phone) will ensure all your customers have a channel through which to contact you.
Things to consider before implementing
Before implementing live chat, it’s important to take a step back and assess if it’s a worthwhile investment for your needs as a business and the needs of your customers. This can be done by asking the following questions:
- Are potential customers looking for live chat support? If so, are they looking for help with a product or service you provide? Consider the commonly asked questions that you are getting via other channels such as email, and how live chat could be a great way to engage with your target audience.
- Will live chat help you generate more leads? Assessing the number of leads you’re getting via other methods, and how much you’re spending on them. That way, you’ll be able to identify whether live chat can be an effective lead generation tool.
- Is the time required to set up and implement live chat worth it? Think about whether setting up and implementing a live chat program is worth the time, effort, and cost. Most live chat software solutions can be installed and configured fairly easily, but they don’t always come cheap.
Which industries use live chat?
Over the last few years, live chat has been rolled out across almost many major industries. The convenience of being able to contact a customer service representative in just a few seconds works wonders, and for the businesses themselves, it’s a great way of generating leads and keeping existing customers satisfied.
Businesses that commonly use live chat include:
The fantastic thing about live chat is that the concept works for many types of businesses. If you’re looking to improve your customer service, it could be the ideal solution to achieve the results you’ve been aiming for.
Live chat can be a great tool, but it comes with its own set of pros and cons. If you’re looking to improve efficiency and give your business a more human touch, then live chat could be a great choice. Consider your business goals carefully and you could make great improvements in your customer service department.