Pros and Cons Of Using A Live Website Customer Chat

Jul 18, 2019 | Website Design

Kevin Fouche

Pros and Cons Of Using A Live Website Customer Chat

Posted by Kevin Fouche, Pixel Fish Director

Kevin handles the planning, design, launch and training of every website that Pixel Fish creates. He ensures that every website is highly engaging and aligned with our client’s goals. With over 20 years of design and web industry experience to draw upon, Kevin aims to pass on his knowledge to our clients and like-minded businesses wanting to grow their online presence.

When businesses offer live customer chat on their websites, they hope that customers will respond positively. Let’s take a look at some of the main pros and cons of live customer chat to determine if it is suitable for your business’ website.

It is assumed customers will prefer to receive an instant response via computer chat rather than speak to a customer service representative by telephone or have their query answered by email.  However, this is not always the case.

Pros and Cons Of Using A Live Website Customer Chat

Pro: Offers instant access to customer service staff

The most obvious benefit of live customer chat is the instant access it provides customers (both existing and potential) to your staff.

Your customers’ questions about your products or services can be relayed to your customer service staff instantaneously. This provides your customers with the knowledge their queries are being heard, are important, and the reassurance their issue is being dealt with.

Con: Chat boxes can often feel robotic and impersonal to some customers

Some customers will have had negative experiences with chatbots, and be reluctant to use live-chat options. Web chat can feel impersonal, and some customers will prefer to use the telephone.

Choosing the right tone in your live-chat messages can help your customers feel that they are receiving personalised attention.

Pro: Live chat supports the effective and efficient use of employee time

Unlike customer service via telephone, which only allows your staff to handle one query at a time, live customer chat allows your staff to deal with multiple customer chat conversations simultaneously.

Be aware that live customer chat is a long-term commitment for your business and your staff. Many businesses find, over time, live chat can become hard to manage – particularly for small businesses when certain staff are on leave, or as businesses run on skeleton staff over holiday breaks, for example.

The benefit of real-time answers to queries helps prevent cart abandonment and can lead to increased conversions. Ensuring you have the staffing capability to support live customer chat from the outset will help your business enjoy the opportunities it offers for your business to increase both sales and customer satisfaction.

Con: Live chat may not always work effectively on mobile platforms

Not all live chat functions work correctly on mobile devices. With so many of us relying on smartphones, this may be frustrating for both your potential customers and existing customers.

However, adjustments can always be made so that chat functions perform better across a range of mobile platforms. Still, it is best to research each of your live chat options, particularly their mobile performance, before you make your selection.

Pro: Live chat presents an affordable option for businesses

Live customer chat presents itself as a far better customer service option regarding affordability compared to customer service in person or over the telephone.

You should weigh this carefully against customer satisfaction; or purely web-based businesses, live customer chat is often the best of both worlds – scoring highly in both customer satisfaction and overall affordability.

Con: You can run into time zone issues if live chat is only available during business hours

If you only intend to operate your live customer chat during business hours, you may find that you have time zone issues with customers in other cities, states or countries.

The internet operates 24/7, so if you do not intend to deliver 24/7 service, you will need to address other help options that will remain available outside your core business hours or risk disappointing your customers.

Pro: Helps your Brand’s reputation for excellent customer service

Many companies opt for live customer chat functions because they want their customers to view them as accessible and in-touch with modern technology. Many businesses choose live customer chat because they believe providing top-notch customer service can only improve their brand image in today’s digital world.

Con: Can present difficulties for those with disabilities

Live customer chat relies on your customers being literate and comfortable with communicating in this way.

It is worth considering that customers who suffer from physical disabilities which make typing difficult, cumbersome or slow will become frustrated, as will sufferers of dyslexia, poor spellers and others with disabilities affecting literacy. These users may be embarrassed, pressured or intimidated by live chat’s immediacy. Senior citizens often resist live chat options, as are those who cannot touch type and those with limited or poor eyesight.

Think about your business’s core target market and consider whether live chat is likely to hit or miss with your demographic.

Kayako decided to survey 400 anonymous customers and 100 anonymous businesses and ask them exactly what they thought of live chat. You can find out what they said here, but if you want a quick takeaway of important points, we’ve got it for you:

  • Businesses tended to fail to meet their customers’ expectations with live chat. Be sure to choose a live-chat platform that places your customers first. 47% of customers have not had a single positive live-chat interaction in the past month. Modern live chat should feel as effortless as engaging with a friend using text messages.
  • Businesses increase customer loyalty when they meet their customers’ expectations. These businesses found their customers were more likely to remain loyal, spend more per month and provide positive word-of-mouth reviews.
  • 52% of customers were more likely to repurchase from businesses that offer live chat support, with almost all customers placing a higher value on top-quality support over and above speed. Investing in customer satisfaction will pay off. Ensure your support is timely, personal and of high quality.
  • Great live chat = great word of mouth: customers are more likely to tell their friends about a positive live-chat interaction than they are to relay details about a negative live chat experience. The personal approach in live chat will make interactions with your business memorable for your customers – for all the right reasons.
  • High-quality live chat pays off: 79% of businesses say providing live chat has positively impacted their sales, revenue and customer loyalty. When you deliver high-quality chat experiences, you will see a positive ROI as a result.
  • Make it personal: 29% of customers find scripted, impersonal responses the most frustrating aspect to live chat, whereas businesses reported that 38% of their users find scripted, impersonal responses the most frustrating element. I think we can all agree, that impersonal and obviously scripted chat is mostly always frustrating when we encounter it; it is just whether or not it is the most frustrating factor in the interaction! Be sure to avoid this pot-hole by making the tone of your live chat personal and the responses effortless.

Overwhelmingly, the takeaway was that customers value high-quality support over speed. A personal interaction at a slower pace beats fast, low-quality, scripted support every time.

For many businesses, the pros of installing live customer chat far outweigh the cons. If that is you, then the next logical step is to research which platform will suit your business best.

We would highly recommend you consider these three live chat platforms:

Zendesk Chat

Zendesk is the live customer chat platform we recommend over and above the others. Zendesk is used by Fortune 500 companies, and currently, over 200,000+ companies rely on Zendesk for their customer support requirements.

Zoho

Zoho offers industry-specific and job-specific apps (HR, Sales & Marketing, Help desk and Finance). Zoho Desk is used by businesses and can be used by companies of any size.

LiveChat

LiveChat is used by all types of businesses, from startups to small and medium businesses to larger enterprises. Unlike both Zoho and Zendesk, LiveChat does not offer network monitoring, document storage or service level agreement (SLA) management.

There are many pros and cons to consider when it comes to deciding if live customer chat is right for your business.

Live chat, when executed correctly, can increase purchases, boost customer loyalty and increase customer satisfaction. Live chat can also result in poor user experiences that are quite often a mix of customers having to repeat themselves, impersonal scripted responses and long wait times (or, God forbid, all three!).

If you want to talk to us about the benefits of installing live customer chat on your website and how you can avoid the common pitfalls, why not get in touch with us today? We’d love to have a chat with you about the right live customer chat option for your business needs and how we can help you achieve your customer service goals.

Further Reading
10 Great Ways To Improve Your Website Inbound Leads Management
The Rise of Mobile eCommerce
What’s the true cost of an online store vs a physical shop?
What Is Domain Authority and How To Improve Your Ranking?
Vimeo vs YouTube: Which will work best for your business?
Top 15 Benefits Of Guest Blogging
Facebook Reviews vs LinkedIn Reviews vs Google My Business Reviews
3 Small Business Competitive Advantage Strategies for your website

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