Digital customer service is mainstream nowadays, with customers able to contact businesses through more touchpoints than ever before. However, the way in which these channels are used and eventually ranked for preference by consumers seems to change as rapidly as the technology driving them. Social media is more popular than ever with customers, but live chat-whether it be textual, audio, or video-based–remains just as active a channel when customers are looking to make a purchase or need support. Social media and chat functions can also function together, as Twitter as demonstrated with its conversational format and Facebook has implemented with its recent unveiling of its Businesses on Messenger app. Not only is chat here to stay, but there’s plenty of evidence that it’s key to delivering excellent customer service. An ATG Global Consumer Trend study found that 90% of customers consider live chat helpful, while a U.S. Wireless Customer Care Full-Service Performance Study found that chat has become a leading contact source for customers, with 42% of customers using a live online chat feature. Econsultancy further reported that live chat has the highest satisfaction levels for any customer service channel at 73%–far outweighing other channels.Why is live chat so popular with customers? No matter what it is customers are seeking-whether it be technical support or product information–they long for the human touch. Live chat gives customers the reassurance that an actual person will be there to assist them until they get what they need. Customers save time by not needing to look for answers on their own, and they are further able to continue browsing online while chatting with an agent. From the agent’s point of view, live chat typically moves much faster than phone or email, with much shorter queues than the voice channel. This means quicker and easier sales as well as more efficient customer support, making customers delighted with the experience and agents more confident in their support.Contact centers also benefit from greatly reduced costs. Live chat software is easy and quick to implement, with greatly decreased handling costs. Agents are able to communicate with multiple customers at once, which is not often the case on other channels and proves costly. Live chat enables greater agent efficiency, reduces the number of more costly inbound calls (as customers turn to chat), and helps reduce the need for more agents as customer needs are met more quickly-all leading to great savings for a company.For customers who are in the middle of a purchase or considering making one, live chat is often the clear preference over other channels as immediate service is needed and delivered. Agents who are well prepared to handle customer questions are poised to boost sales and prevent customers from abandoning purchases. Live chat can prove especially critical when customers are in the middle of a transaction and need support to finalize a purchase, as having accessing to chat-and a skilled agent-can mean the difference between purchasing or not and even preventing or resolving payment errors. Indeed, Forrester Research reported that 77% of customers shopping online preferred to make contact with a real person before making a purchase, with over half of these customers claiming to abandon the purchase if no interaction was available.The benefits of live chat are numerous for both businesses and customers. Greater confidence, saved time, and saved costs are all important to both customer service and the customer experience. To learn more about excellent live chat software solutions, please visit www.vocalcom.com.
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