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Pros and Cons of Live Chat Customer Support

Customer service plays a critical role in every business. It builds a sustainable customer base and allows companies to thrive. As customers have become more tech-savvy, they expect brands to do the same. That is why several companies must keep up with the trends and prioritize their customer support services for an excellent customer experience.

The greatest challenge in serving your customers is the response time. Clients demand speedy responses and a response time of “within 24 hours” is not acceptable. 

How do businesses adapt to this challenge?

Live chat.

Communication channels have emerged and companies find themselves engaging with more customers. Implementing live chat through a broad range of digital platforms should only come naturally. Doing so unlocks the possibility of a substantial transformation that impacts both your operations and customers on a positive note.

Knowing the pros and cons firsthand gives you a clearer perspective on whether to implement it in your business or not.

What is Live Chat?

Live chat is a messaging tool that enables businesses to connect with customers through their websites or digital platforms. It allows visitors to engage with your company in case that they need assistance or want to learn more about your services. 

Live chat customer support provides real-time communication and its features are really useful, it can share links, collect customer data, and save a full transcript for future references. Indeed, it is an ideal online support for customers who need immediate help.

In addition to its features, live chat is also well-suited to resolving customer issues or queries at a faster pace, thereby resulting in heightened customer satisfaction. The speedy response and intuitive nature of live chat make it an ideal channel for flexible customer assistance.

Pros and Cons of Live Chat

You’ve likely chanced upon this article because you have trouble converting website visitors into customers. This pain point can be truly obliterating for any company.

Study shows that live chat is the most preferred choice and is loved by many customers. It highlights ease of use and it has the potential to improve your customer support strategy if you take careful thought and effort.

On the other hand, live chat also has its fair share of pros and cons. It is vital to do your research when you decide to implement it on your websites. 

Below are some of the possible barriers that you have to consider: 

Does your business need live chat? 

Is it cost-effective or practical? 

Is it ideal for your sales and marketing teams?

Outweighing the pros and cons of live chat support enables you to pinpoint whether this contact channel is the right choice for your business.

Pros

Efficient Use of Employee Time

Live chat saves time for employees. Before, customer service agents could only communicate with customers via phone. Each agent was limited to handling one query at a time. In contrast, a live chat software can help your staff to manage multiple chat conversations. It is more efficient compared to engaging a customer within a single phone call for an indefinite amount of time.

Guaranteeing that you have the required resources to support live chat from the beginning ensures that your business reaps live chat’s advantages for sales and customer satisfaction.

Improves Brand Image

Live chat can do so much for your brand reputation. In order to appear relevant and aligned with customer pain points, companies simply need to have a live chat tool. Also, the said messaging platform makes it easier for customers to access your company. Hence, your chances of showcasing genuine interest in customer needs becomes more apparent.

Businesses opt for live chat functions because they want their customers to receive exceptional experience at all times. They believe that providing outstanding customer service can only improve their brand reputation both digitally and in the real world.

Live Chat is Affordable for Businesses

Live chat regularly comes out as the least costly alternative for businesses. Whereas client fulfillment ought to be the priority, most businesses appreciate that the finest alternative too ought to be reasonably priced. You should weigh this carefully especially if you own a startup. Leveraging your possible gains with the costs of including a live chat platform is said to be like having the best of both worlds: You score highly on both customer satisfaction and overall affordability.

Faster Response

Fast and real-time response is a significant factor in serving customers. Using live chat takes less than a minute to resolve customer queries. The benefit of sending quick answers to queries helps to prevent cart abandonment and even lead to customer retention.

Cons

Time Zone Issues

The Internet operates 24/7, and so do users worldwide. They might need customer service at any time of day or night. As a result, you may need to address time zone differences and accessibility to decide whether you can deliver round-the-clock service. If not, you may leave some customers who need assistance outside of your business hours baffled.

If your business only intends to operate during your business hours, this will result in issues involving accessibility and real-time response. You wouldn’t want to risk disappointing new customers.

To counter this dilemma, you can equip your business with chatbots or outsource chat operators so that you can deliver 24/7 support regardless of where your customers are located. 

May Feel Impersonal to Some Users

Some customers, particularly senior citizens, prefer to receive customer service help over the phone. Why? Live chat might sound impersonal or even robotic to some users. Some customers may have also had negative experiences with bots with other business websites. As such, they become reluctant to use live chat options a second time.

So, it is very important to choose and apply the right tone in your live chat messages. Choosing a suitable tone in your canned messages makes customers feel that they are getting personalized attention even through live chat.

May Not Work on Mobile Platforms

Live chat functions don’t always work properly on all mobile platforms. This could be a problem for some businesses considering that an expanding number of customers at present depend more on their smartphones rather than on desktop computers or laptops. 

It is always conceivable to adjust the chat function so that it performs better on a range of mobile platforms.

May find it difficult for those who have disabilities

Live chat relies on your customers being literate and comfortable with communicating through technology.

It is worth considering that customers who suffer from physical disabilities may need convenient alternatives to ensure that their needs are also addressed. The inability to use their hands to type on the keyword, or accurately read instructions and product details because of dyslexia, poor eyesight, or illiteracy are just some of the realities of customers that  businesses must cater to. 

Incorporating voice-based support in live chat is one way to acknowledge customers with disabilities. By using text-to-speech functions they are able to convey their dilemmas and figure out how they can be assisted accordingly by the business’s support agents.

How Does Live Chat Work In Businesses

Businesses left and right have already jumped on the bandwagon and steer towards communicating with the customers through live chat. When companies decide to offer live chat customer support on their websites, they expect that customers will respond positively. But, that is not always the case.

As human agents are not that perfect, live chat also has its imperfections. Even though the pros of live chat tools outweigh their cons, it still affects the flow of your business to an extent. Meaning, you cannot always ensure that your customers will always respond positively.

Meanwhile, the best part about live chat is it allows you to integrate with numerous tools to improve the customer experience and make the engagement journey consistent and fluid. That way, customers and potential leads can reach out to you wherever and whenever they want to. Live chat guarantees an increase in lead generation since you can also incorporate survey forms to gauge customer experience individually and employ chatbots to answer frequently inquired queries about your business.

Let’s take a look at some examples of how live chat augments different industries.

E-commerce

Say, you have a customer that is looking for a particular product but cannot see it on your stocks. Normally, they would ask for help from your customer support team. But, what happens if no one at the moment answers your customer?

When customers can’t get an answer quickly, they leave your store without purchasing and look elsewhere.

This is exactly what will happen if you don’t have live chat on your e-commerce website. Most customers aren’t keen on waiting for an e-mail response or switch to using the phone just to inquire about the item they want to purchase.

Pros: Live chat offers speed and availability. It is the most effective way to appreciate your customers’ time. It doesn’t require them to wait for somebody to reply to them through email. It can handle inquiries at a higher speed and it also supports real-time responses.

Cons: Chatbots usually lack authenticity and empathy which a human can provide. This can result in the exasperation of some customers.

Finance Industry

Live chat provides quick solutions for banking and financial queries whenever they want to, and it is often beyond business hours. People appreciate it when they have access to their finances whenever or wherever they are. Whether it is a bank, an investment firm, or an insurance company, a live chat is essential. Admit it or not, when it comes to money matters, it is vital to always have an alternative communication tool on standby to respond to their issues.

Pros: Live chat can provide support 24/7. It increases the efficiency of customer agents by using automated routing and delivers better, more secure banking support. Moreover, it can guide customers over their finances, and your support representatives can offer assistance to them remotely through screen sharing.

Cons: Live chat also collects customer data. With live chat securing account data, it opens up the potential for another road of phishing attempts. It could potentially be a hassle for some bankers who need to verify the identities of people messaging their office through chat. 

Food Industry

Food services especially skyrocketed amid the pandemic. As consumers want convenience in the services and products they need, businesses belonging in the food industry have to innovate and stand out. Therefore, having an online presence has become crucial for most restaurants. 

The food industry knows the importance of providing an exceptional customer experience. People like to check feedback from previous customers first before they order something. That is why implementing live chat in your business is the best way to gather feedback. This will help you gain insights and implement relevant changes in your business.

Pros: Live chat helps businesses to manage a plethora of orders and minimize irate customers by updating them if there is a delay. Through live chat, it is easy to record special instructions, and even ask clients to give their feedback and review the food they ordered and use their reviews for future strategies.

Cons: Live chat can result in poor user experience because of impersonal scripted responses. When there is a delay with the food delivery or if there is a mix-up with the food, most clients want to talk with a human agent. 

Bottom Line

While there are both pros and cons to consider before you decide to implement live chat, the pros clearly dominate and benefit a broad range of websites, businesses, and platforms. Analyzing both the pros and cons of using live chat allows you to avoid the common pitfalls.

Live chat, when executed correctly, can increase revenue, boost customer retention and heighten customer satisfaction. Take time to consider the benefits enumerated above and compare it with the potential risks that it can bring to your business. It must suit your business’s distinct needs and augment your strategies and goals for your customer support operations.

The right live chat support software will allow you to combine real-time chat support with a more in-depth form of customer assistance. When paired with a well-versed customer support agent, it brings a more natural conversational experience for customers, while a chatbot-powered response reduces the time it takes for customers to receive clarifications and answers to their queries.

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