Have you ever decided to step up from capturing photos on your smartphone to a dedicated DSLR camera? I bet the model you want comes with all the features you need, but also a bunch more that you don’t understand.
For small teams, live chat is a similar proposition. Is the investment of time and effort going to work in our favor? Won’t customers be too demanding? Isn’t live chat for big teams in major organizations?
If you run a small team, you may worry that adding live chat leads customers to ask for more help than you can deliver. Help with purchasing; help with returns; a host of specialized requests – it’s natural to have some reservations. Adding a new channel to your business is meant to create value, not stress. So let’s consider the fundamental question, why use live chat?
Benefits of Live Chat for Customer Service
1. Live chat lets you provide delightful support
The thought of introducing live chat as a customer support offering can evoke fear for many small businesses. It’s easy to see why because good experiences on live chat are hard to come by: 47% of customers haven’t had a positive live chat experience in the last month.
Our live chat statistics research shows customers’ biggest frustrations include:
- Support is offline despite displaying as available
- Disconnections during live chat
- Agents taking too long to respond
These frustrations shouldn’t be taken lightly. Every customer wants to feel like they’re more than a ticket number waiting in line. With live chat, that becomes an achievable goal …you just need to apply some common sense principles.
Whatever platform you use, your app has to mirror customer experience with any other live chat conversation. To do that, your live chat needs:
- A support inbox that has all conversations in one place
- Proactive live chat
- Personal and contextual information
With Journeys and Conversations in Kayako, every interaction your customer has with your business becomes part of your support process. Site visits, purchases, shipping history, plus events from your own product, app, or service. So there’s no need to ask additional questions – the information your team needs to respond quickly and personally is right at their fingertips.
Let’s look at a typical customer service problem using Kayako’s Journeys and Conversations. Here, a customer can’t work out why her attempt to purchase a new coffee machine hasn’t worked, but thanks to Kayako, the agent can see the problem at first glance:
A simple message asking Taylor to try the last three numbers on the back of her card, and her purchase is done. We can see how customer context doesn’t just help the agent solve Taylor’s issue without friction, it offers up the added opportunity to make Taylor’s day with a loyalty reward. It’s the type of CX we all want for our customers.
With all relevant customer journey context gathered in one place, your team can start natural conversations that provide your customers with really useful information when they need it most. Especially if you target customers browsing help pages and FAQs.
No more frustration; just lots of impressed customers.
2. Live chat helps you drive more sales
Most websites provide customers with a relatively passive sales environment. Customers come to your site and then go as they please. And without intervention, they regularly do leave.
Live chat presents an opportunity for websites to interact with customers in a targeted, meaningful way. A good live chat tool is the equivalent of having a sales clerk in your brick and mortar store. It’s a customer-centric channel that shows you’re willing to help when asked. Or if you’d like to push for sales you can setup proactive engagement to message live chat.
Targeting customers is really easy in 2018.
You can see how Kayako completely transforms the quality of interaction that you’re able to deliver to customers, all based precisely on their behavior.
Putting customers in contact with your staff quickly and conveniently like this can have impressive results. According to ecommerce live chat statistics:
Of these high-spending consumers, 63% of people who spend between $250-500 a month online are the most likely to both buy from, and be loyal to, companies who offer live chat.
According to Forrester’s data, 83% of shoppers report needing help at some point during their buying process and 55% of shoppers are likely to abandon their online purchase if they cannot find a quick answer to their question.
Customers who use live chat prior to making a purchase spend on average 10% more per order. In some cases, they spend much more. Intuit.com was able to increase average order value by 43% after implementing a live chat widget on their checkout page and increased sales by 211% by using live chat on their product comparison page. That’s quite a bump!
It’s a simple formula. Proactive intervention = sales growth.
3. Live chat helps you have better conversations
We’re slowly coming to the realization that customer conversations need to blend the best of email, live chat, and social media to achieve the nuance required in customer communications. We’re moving away from the idea that tickets are the only way to support customers.
Unlike one-dimensional traditional support tickets, live chat conversations can be rich and multi-dimensional – just like your customers. By having live chats with your customers, you can deliver a truly personalized customer experience, and you can continue to deliver this kind of personal touch as you grow.
Building a low-friction customer experience has benefits beyond making everyone’s lives easier. By treating your customer like an individual, not just a support ticket, you’re also increasing the probability of your customers returning and recommending you.
If we’re able to look beyond the support ticket and see the customer as the individual they are, your team can really move the needle on customer loyalty and make a lasting impact.
Kayako’s Journeys and Conversation helps both the customer and the support team get exactly what they want:
- The Customer Journey gives the customer what she wants. Their needs are met on the first attempt: personal support with minimal back-and-forth. This will make them more loyal – The Effortless Experience, by CEB Insights, found that the less effort for customers to get support also correlated with an improvement in loyalty.
- The Customer Journey gives the support team what they want. And for the support team, this looks great on your insights and performance metrics: your conversation resolution time just went down, and you’ve created another satisfied customer.
4. Live chat plays to a small team’s strengths
Have you heard of the LEGO experiment?
University professors ran experiments building LEGO structures and two teams comprised of either 2 or 4 people. On average, the team of 2 finished the task 20 minutes faster. It’s known as the Ringelmann effect: large teams may have more capacity, but small teams work harder, faster and better.
Live chat lets your small team really shine.
One of the best things about small teams is the lack of red tape. Small teams are more agile. You can leverage this flexibility to infuse every customer interaction with personality. You aren’t tied down to rigid operating procedures or complex tiers of escalation, so you’re better able to employ common sense and empathy common in order to transform customer experience.
So, why not empower your support team?
Give agents the authority to make decisions, and autonomy to take action quickly. Small teams all over the world are learning how proactive live chat can help grow revenue, improve customer service and inspire brand loyalty by engaging visitors more intelligently with relevant, personal, timely messages.
Benefits of Live Chat for Sales
If you take a look at Kayako’s website and blog, it’s obvious that we know live chat customer support is a big difference-maker for businesses large and small. Our study of 500 consumers and businesses proves it. After all, more than 41% of the consumers we talked to said they prefer live chat over email, phone, and social media support.
But the biggest takeaway from our study isn’t a particular statistic—it’s that live chat (when done right) has the power to drive sales and boost customer loyalty. Why? Why does live chat reign supreme over every other customer support channel, even while 47% of consumers haven’t had a positive live chat experience in the last month?
Let’s talk about the 4 main reasons live chat is so powerful for driving revenue and boosting customer retention—and how your business can capitalize on them.
1. Customers Buy from Companies That Offer Live Chat
Our study turned up one piece of data that I find the most intriguing. We found that nearly 4 in 10 consumers say they’re more likely to buy from companies that offer live chat. Just offering live chat alone means that 38% of consumers are more inclined to do business with you. That’s big, right?
The bottom line is that customers want to buy from people who value their time and concern. They want to work with businesses who create an effortless experience for customers. Offering live chat support is a tell-tale sign that a company is committed to their customers.
A small chat box is just one of the ways you can communicate that commitment. Live chat tells consumers that your business is approachable and driven by customer needs. Communicating your customer-centric focus says a lot to potential customers. It can make them feel more secure in their decision to do business with you—leading to more conversions and higher sales.
2. Real-time Support Boosts Loyalty and Creates Upsell Opportunities
When we talk about trends in consumer behavior, it’s a study in sociology. Consumers are all of us, so big shifts in technology and culture affect our habits and desires as consumers. Nowhere is this more evident than in the mentality of instant gratification.
Thanks to technology, we can get almost anything on-demand—entire seasons of TV shows, groceries delivered, 2-day shipping on millions of products… on and on.
That expectation of instant gratification doesn’t end when it comes to customer support. Gone are the days of filling out a support form and waiting days for an email reply. Customers expect support to be effective, efficient, and in real-time.
That’s where live chat comes into play. We know that customers who receive instant support are more likely to be satisfied and loyal customers. Seamless and quick, live chat support can help to foster that loyalty and retain more customers, for longer. And customer retention has an outsized effect on revenue—with a mere 5% improvement in retention spurring 95% higher profits.
Loyal customers are worth their weight in gold. They stick with you for the long-haul and are also more likely to trust your business and recommendations, making them much easier to upsell to.
3. Proactive Live Chat Can Turn Browsing into a Sale
Sometimes when we talk about customer support, we get a little tunnel vision-y about immediate post-sale support. But customer support and experience begin long before the sale is made, and they continue long after.
In fact, the time leading up to the sale might be the most important time to get customer support right. After all, Forrester found that as much as 55% of shoppers will abandon a purchase if they can’t find quick answers to their product questions.
That’s part of the reason consumers who engage with your company are more likely to become customers. Proactive live chat has gained popularity as a way of capitalizing on that. Proactive live chat gives customers a little nudge to engage with your business—making it easier for your team to help them along the path to a sale.
The best live chat tool (in our totally unbiased opinion, that’s Kayako) works with your ecommerce solution to empower support agents with the knowledge and context they need to knock proactive chat sessions out of the park. By giving reps valuable information about where customers have been and what might have them stuck or hesitating.
That context gives your team a leg up when the time comes to strike up a conversation and turn it into a sale.
4. Real-time Feedback Means a Better Product and Customer Experience
If there’s one thing that drives customer loyalty and retention above any other, it’s a feeling of reciprocity. Customers want to feel like their loyalty is mutual. They need to feel that your team is as committed to their success as they are to your own.
Truly customer-focused businesses are driven by one thing above all: customer feedback. There’s simply no substitute for hearing your customers’ wants and challenges—directly from them and in their own words.
That feedback is invaluable to your team because it empowers you to create a better product and more seamless customer experience. That’s why we always recommend building a customer feedback loop into your sales and support processes.
Gaining access to that feedback in real-time means you can continuously improve your offering, ensure customers feel heard and supported, and demonstrate your commitment to customers—boosting their loyalty in return.
Live chat support creates the perfect channel for gathering this feedback.
One of the biggest issues with building a customer feedback loop is getting customers to actually give you feedback. Since you can reach out to customers proactively via live chat, you can create a trigger for that exchange. And unlike email or phone support interactions, live chat sessions leave your team with a clear and comprehensive record of the conversation.
With all the context of integrated live chat, your team is left with an informed view of the customer’s problem—making it easier to find and implement a more holistic solution for all customers.
Live Chat is Your Competitive Advantage
By now, it’s pretty clear that live chat holds incredible power to grow your sales and inspire customer loyalty and retention. So why aren’t more companies offering the kind of live chat experience customers are looking for?
Our study found that 56% of consumers can’t remember having an exceptional live chat experience. Eighty-four percent of consumers have given up on a live chat because they were frustrated with slow or inadequate responses.
That disconnect between customer preferences and the reality most businesses are offering is your opportunity. Turn stellar live chat experiences into your competitive advantage, and your bottom line will love you.
Maybe now is the right time for your business to start reaping all the benefits live chat can offer?