Your customers have questions, and if they can’t get those questions answered quickly, they’ll move to the competition. The internet moves quickly. Whether you’re building a web app or software, you need to make sure your customers are happy and supported every step of the way.
How do you actually do this? How do you accommodate for ongoing customer questions that need instant answers? The solution is simple: live chat. Amongst any customer service channel, live chat is the preferred option for 73% of users. Live chat allows customers to get their questions answered quickly without needing to pick up the phone, write an email, or any other time-consuming tasks.
Why is live chat so important for web apps? In this guide, we’ll break down the individual reasons why live chat is no longer optional so you can leverage it for your own business.
The role of customer service
First, before we can dive into the benefits of live chat, we need to talk a bit about customer service. Whether your business is small or large, customer service is of the utmost importance. Great service is a way to build relationships with customers, encourage repeat business, and land positive referrals.
Customer service is evolving. In fact, 54% of all American customers say that they have a higher expectation for customer service than they did just a year ago. So why should you value customer service so highly? Here are the main reasons:
- Brand loyalty and trust – First and foremost, customer service helps you build trust. It’s a way to show your customers that you want to help them and be there for them through any concerns they might have. You value their time and want to solve problems quickly, and that’s invaluable.
- Competitive – Brands that focus on customer service are more competitive. In a world where big-name businesses reign supreme, a way smaller businesses can stand out is through their customer service such as by providing a live chat feature.
- Increased sales – Finally, one of the primary reasons people ask questions is to place orders, ask about products/services, or get help with the checkout process. Solving these problems quickly will cut down on customer abandonment.
These are just a handful of the ways customer service plays a role in the buying experience. The bottom line is that if you want to stand out in today’s competitive market, you can’t slack on your own customer service.
What is live chat?
Now that you know the role of customer service, let’s define live chat. You’ve likely experienced live chat in some form during your own internet searches, but they’re still a relatively new software. Live chat is also known as live support, and it’s a technology that allows customers to interact with users when they visit a website or application.
Visitors to these websites can initiate a chat session by typing a message, usually a question, into the chat window. This chat might be staffed by representatives of the organization, or it might use chatbot software. Chatbot software uses robotic process automation (RPA) to automate answers to any questions that are pre-selected.
Live chat can be used for a number of things, from answering questions to helping with customer concerns to placing orders. All types of industry teams from marketing to customer support use live chat to better meet customer demands. It’s an updated way to really make a difference in the buying process.
Who uses live chat?
There are two distinct groups of customers who use live chat. They both need help, but they’re not the same. First, you have your potential customers. These are people who haven’t made a purchase yet, but they’re still on the customer journey. They might need help with any of the following:
- They have product questions
- They’re looking for something specific
- They want to compare products
- They want to make a purchase
A positive, efficient live chat experience can push these customers in the right direction towards a sale. Lack of responsiveness can do exactly the opposite, pushing a customer towards the competition.
Who is the second group of customers? The second group is your current customers. These are individuals who already made some kind of purchase. They want to use live chat for the following:
- Learn their order status
- Ask about returns
- Reports bugs or any problems in service
- Ask about shipping
If you have a customer who is experiencing a problem, it’s important to address these quickly. The clock truly ticks fast when it comes to customer experience. Handling a problem quickly is the best way to ensure this customer shops with you again or reports highly on their experience.
The advantages of live chat
We’ve now outlined both what live chat is and who uses it, so now let’s talk about why it matters. Why should your app invest in this and not something else? Surely there’s still value in “traditional” forms of customer service such as phone or email communication, so why start a whole new process of integrating a new service?
Let’s break down each benefit one at a time so you can see why it’s so powerful compared to other types of online support.
- Live chat saves your business money
First, live chat is a way to save your business money. This might come as a surprise, but it’s true. It makes your customer support process much more efficiently. You can have multiple chat windows open simultaneously with a single chat agent. You don’t need to hire several customer service people if you’re experiencing a normal number of chat questions.
In addition, it increases your order value. Because customers can get real-time advice and feedback, it helps you match customers to the right products or services the first time around, reducing the need for returns and lost sales.
- Competitive over other companies
As we said before, live chat helps you stay competitive. It’s never been more important to stand out amongst other companies in your industry. Small businesses can be recognized as just as influential as large businesses. In fact, this is their time to shine.
Offering real-time customer service puts you on par with big brands like Apple, Expedia, and Virgin Airlines. It’s an easy way to up the playing field so you don’t have to worry about the big-name competition helping your customers faster.
- Get key insights
Data is a powerful tool of its own nowadays. Consider that your customers might all have the same common problem or error during the checkout process. How do you get this issue solved if you don’t know about it? With a live chat, you make it easy for customers to report problems and errors as they happen, and that means you have more time to solve them.
If you’re able to combat these questions in the first place, you’ll experience fewer user problems across the board. You can’t afford not to have access to the data live chat gives your business.
- Build better relationships
You need to focus on building real relationships with your customers if you want to earn their loyalty. With a live chat feature, you have another way to show you care about your customers, their problems, and their orders. When customers feel their voices are heard, they’ll feel a stronger connection to your brand.
- Increased sales
Live chat is proven to lead to more sales and conversions. Companies who have live chat experience much higher conversion rates and more ROI on the cost of the service. Customers who interact with a live chat agent or chatbot are more likely to make a purchase than those who don’t.
It’s clear that live chat is effective at generating more leads and making sales. Visitors always want instant access to support features, so why not turn them into paying customers? Easy is always better (and more profitable).
- Proactive approach
Last but not least, many live chat software solutions allow your agents to reach out to your customers just as they can reach out to them. This is a proactive approach to customer problems that really makes a difference. Of course, your website visitors can always click on the live chat feature to reach an agent, but what about if the agents did the same?
Live chat platforms today can alert agents to visitors arrival to help initiate conversations. These messages can also be sent automatically to help visitors know they have assistance if they need it. It’s all about making it simple for buyers to ask their questions quickly.
Convert more customers with live chat
If you’re not already using live chat, it’s time to join the revolution. You can see why so many other companies are already taking advantage of the benefits of live chat. It’s simply changing the way users interact with businesses, and there’s no going back from this new normal. AccuWeb hosting has a list of live chat services and platforms to get you started today.
There are no limits to what your brand can accomplish when you give customers the tools they need to communicate clearly. The old ways of providing service are in the past for good. It’s time to embrace the future.
As you can see, when you embrace these changes head-on, you enter a new age of increased conversions, proactive communication, and brand relationships. You show your customers how much they matter, and that means everything to your business. What are you waiting for? Have you observed any other live chat benefits you don’t see above?