Live Chat Pops Up as a Preferred Customer Service Channel

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section trying to solve a problem, there is the ability to pop up a chat window where it's needed most. There are quite a few things that differentiate live chat vendors; one of them might be tracking how long a customer spends on site sections.

SCS: You also talked to small and midsized businesses that employ live chat. Did they pass on any tips about using live chat?

CB: Companies are starting to recognize that their customers want live chat and realize that it can improve the customer experience.

Software Advice offers these best practices:

  • Respond to new chats as quickly as possible--don't leave customers waiting.
  • Disable live chat when the business is closed or whenever agents are unavailable.
  • Make a list of model responses for the most commonly asked questions.
  • Train agents to use the brand voice whenever possible.
  • Have management review chat transcripts to improve agent interactions.
  • Experiment with where and when the live chat button appears on the Web site.
  • Consider using automatic triggers to proactively offer live chat.
  • Recognize the limitations of live chat and be prepared to switch to email or phone when necessary.

SCS: Businesses may not want to pull the trigger because they think implementation costs are prohibitive. Is that true?

CB: That's not the case at all. The majority of live chat providers are on cloud-based platforms, so this is software as a service. It doesn't require any infrastructure changes from the business. It's about implementing it into the Web site and into a CRM platform that's used on the back end. I wonder if vendors could do a better job at getting that point across.

SCSWhat do you think is the biggest takeaway from the survey?

CB: Most customer service departments--people in the industry--understand that great customer service begins with an effortless interaction. You're trying to make things as easy as possible for your customer. Live chat has demonstrated that it's one of the most effortless forms of customer service and has huge potential. It seems as though the public has really latched on to some of those uses of live chat. It's starting to become a preferred customer service channel rather than something that's off on the fringes of customer support.

Live chat will become a much stronger channel in the future, and as a subset of that, mobile live chat will start to take off as well. Companies will be able to provide a positive mobile experience through live chat, and it can become a natural interaction for customers.

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