So you’re ready to introduce live chat support to your business. Outside of your support job, you might even be one of the 41% of consumers who prefer live chat over any other support channel – phone, email, Facebook or Twitter.
You’re probably looking for a seamless live chat tool for your modern business. It must be fast, reliable, and not resemble a relic of the stone age.
Sounds basic in theory, right?
But before you dive deep into searching for your perfect live chat solution, it’s important to consider some of the pitfalls of traditional live chat tools, and what to look out for as you begin eliminating contenders from the running.
The low-down on 100 websites with live chat: It must be better
It would be easy to assume that in 2017, most live chat providers can meet these standard requirements. But during our customer feedback sessions with new Kayako customers, we heard stories about where past live chat tools had failed them:
- Unreliable chat connections
- Traditional helpdesk “ticket thinking”
- Clunky UI leading to robotic, outdated customer experiences
Having a website with live chat might be preferred by your customers, but we started to notice a disconnect between customer expectations and business offerings.
Rather than speculate on what makes live chat support effortless or frustrating, the Kayako team surveyed 100 businesses anonymously who all use live chat, and then put their answers against 400 anonymous consumers. We wanted to understand the breakdown in this critical relationship.
Here’s what we found.
Customer experiences are compromised by average live chat tools.
Live chat is the support channel most loved by consumers – but don’t assume it’s an enjoyable experience for them.
The realities of common live chat experiences are startling.
Consumers have come to expect support to be offline, despite live chat being displayed as available. And when live chat is online, 21% of all live chat requests are ignored according SuperOffice.
They’re frustrated but not surprised when they get disconnected from a live agent.
They anticipate spending their time and energy repeating the details of the problem they just relayed to someone else on phone support. Amid all of the disruptions to support, context is soon lost. It’s no wonder 20% of consumers remember recently telling friends and family about a memorably negative live chat experience.
From a team perspective, you cannot introduce live chat assuming that most conversations can be dealt with by using scripted responses as a quick crutch:
- Almost 40% of consumers find scripted, impersonal responses the most frustrating.
- And 43% of businesses confirm their customers cite this as the most frustrating thing.
Our survey also found this to be true: It pays to be personal.
When customers are treated like real people instead of just a ticket number, they remember. They know what feels genuine and natural, and not forced or contrived to fit into company policy.
Teams and customers alike benefit when your agents can leverage their own voice during real-time conversations. That might mean your conversations take a bit longer to complete. That’s okay though – because 95% of consumers reported placing higher value on thorough, high-quality support over speed.
Your live chat customer experience should be friction-free. It needs to be effortless and personal if it is to be a valuable investment in your time and energy as a support team.
Are businesses meeting customers where they want to receive help?
As you’re searching for live chat tools, consider what the industry says you need and what your customers really want.
Are they the same? Although support offered through social sites like Facebook or Twitter are popular, live chat reigns as consumers’ preferred support channel.
Do you know where your customers want to be supported?
In our survey, we learned that whether it’s by phone or live chat, consumers want to talk with a real person. They do not want chatbots or robotic, scripted responses. They value personal and instant means of interaction.
Younger consumers love live chat because it’s like talking with friends through messaging apps. Baby Boomers prefer traditional, offline channels like picking up the phone and calling for support. Understanding your customer is paramount during your search.
If you are confident your customers want to receive help via live chat, then the tool you choose must offer immediate help with minimal effort required.
How do you become a business that offers the best live chat support?
Let’s say you’ve decided that live chat makes sense for your business. It’s a channel that makes sense for your customers, and you’re inspired by the prospect of exceeding average expectations for live chat experiences. How do you make it happen? There are three key aspects to remember:
1. Choose a live chat solution that puts people first
Scores of live chat tools will woo you with promises of automated conversation and saved time. Do not be fooled. Consumers need to believe they’re speaking with real people in order to even consider your business eligible for a top satisfaction rating.
In customer service, context is everything. If you choose a chatbot to handle the bulk of your conversations, you will sacrifice the opportunity to show your customers that you understand them—that you understand what kind of help they truly need. You will be opting out of the chance to be remembered for your team’s personal touch, which is better for your business in so many ways. Choose a tool that enables you to give the best answer first. Customer context should be at the forefront of its design.
2. Invest in live chat customer satisfaction
84% of businesses say that memorable customer experiences and customer satisfaction are a priority to them. And yet, 56% of consumers cannot remember a positive live chat experience, and a whopping 83% of consumers have given up on a live chat due to frustration over poor replies.
Support teams that focus on a quick fix for heavy live chat queues may notice a short-term benefit of time saved day-to-day, but they’re more prone to unhappy customers, lost revenue, spiked churn, and displaced burden on other support channels.
3. Find a tool that grows with your business
As you continue your search for the best websites with live chat, you’ll find a few that stand out. They offer beautiful customer experiences – to a degree. The best live chat tools scale as your business grows – from both customer and team perspectives.
For example, a beautiful but lightweight live chat tool might be perfect for a small team of two agents supporting 100 customers without much plan for growth or expansion. But if you plan to grow your customer base, and thus, your team, you’d have to ditch the lightweight tool and implement something that can handle complex workflows to keep your business efficient and organized.
Memorable chat experiences create positive ROI
If done right, live chat will help to grow your company’s sales revenue and customer loyalty.
But that won’t come from rushed, sloppy responses or chatbot auto-replies.
It comes from growing personal relationships with your customers – making them feel genuinely understood and listened to – and using an approach to support that scales with your business over time.
The best live chat tools directly contribute to the positive word of mouth being spread about your business. Imagine using live chat to win new customers and grow your business.
- Consumers are 38% more likely to buy from a company if they see live chat help on a website.
- And 79% of businesses reported that offering live chat has had a positive effect on sales, revenue, and customer loyalty.
Even for small teams, this type of support offering can yield positive returns.
And if you’re an ecommerce business, you’re especially in luck. Of 63% of people who spend between $250-500 a month online, they are most likely to buy from, and be loyal to, companies who offer live chat.
So the question isn’t if you can afford to invest in the right live chat tool for your business but can you afford not to?
Next steps and action items for your live chat software search
As you continue your search for the best live chat tool for your business, keep in mind the learning from our survey. We hope it helps you in deciding what to look out for and what to stay away from in the world of traditional live chat software.
Frictionless, memorable customer experiences will be your ticket to a thriving business – so remember to pick a tool that scales with your growing team.
Looking for more tips on how to choose the right live chat tool for your business? You can access the complete results of our live chat survey here, or sign up for our free email course to become an expert in live chat best practices yourself.