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Are website or app-based live chats better for customers?

Published August 11, 2021
Last updated August 11, 2021

According to Econsultancy, “73% [of customers were satisfied with their live chat support], compared with 61% for email and 44% for phone”. Clearly, live chat software is the way to go.

However, there is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to your customers. Some may not have reliable internet connections, and others, particularly amongst older generations, may not understand how to use the technology needed for them to access website or app-based chats to resolve their issues.

There is clearly still a place for real time customer support over the phone. Could this be enhanced by modern technology however? Here we look at whether website and app-based chats could be better for your business.

Pros of using online chat platforms

Website based live chats provide customers with an open communication channel where they can voice any concerns or queries and get an almost immediate response.

Not only does this significantly decrease customers’ waiting times when compared to phone queries, but it also means that support agents have more time to deal with the customers who do need to call in.

This can save you money as you may need to employ fewer staff, and allows for your call centre operators’ training to be better tailored to the queries they need to deal with, enabling them to offer an improved level of service.

RELATED: Creating an FAQ page? Here’s what you need to know

Live chat tools are a great way to encourage customers to purchase your products or sign up for your services. If customers are in 2 minds about an element of your services, a pop-up chat window can encourage them to ask these questions beforehand. Giving yourself the opportunity to allay any concerns in this way greatly increases your chance of converting sales.

Cons of using online chat platforms

Technophobic customers may be averse to asking questions in live chats online, and may prefer to speak to a customer service representative by phone instead.

There is also the worry that pop-up chats might deter some website visitors. Pop-ups on websites can be an irritation to some people and can even make your page run slower.

RELATED: Customer expectations have changed. Here’s how to keep up

These are definitely factors you will want to consider when employing a live chat option on your website. Monitor your web traffic closely when investing in a new website based live chat. Consider surveying customers about their customer experience and even utilising tracking pixels.

Best live chat apps

The best live chat apps all have the same range of features.

First of all, they must be easy and straightforward to use for both you as a company and your customers. The whole point of being able to live chat your customers is that you want to streamline their buying process, not make it more complicated.

Similarly, if your support teams are struggling to get to grips with the software, you may need to consider whether it is actually cost and time effective.

Ideally we’d all like free live chat apps. Although some out there are available for free, to find a package that truly meets your business needs, you may need to invest in a subscription service to get the live chat software that best suits you.

RELATED: Customer self-service: what it is, why it’s important, and how to get it right

An app that has the right management tools for your company is also worth considering. This can allow you to assess how successful your team are when using your support channels.

With this knowledge base of data at hand, you can then look at rolling out whole team staff training on relevant issues, tailored to your team’s individual needs. This will help them conduct more proactive chats with your customers, which in turn will most likely convert more sales.

Once you’ve found live chat software that works for you, use the data provided to monitor your performance. This can then be used to decide upon any improvements or changes you might want to make to your operations. Our blog The future of customer experience: how VR, AR and 5G are changing customer service may have some interesting suggestions about future proofing your business.