When consumers want answers, they want them immediately. That’s why many turn to the Internet as their first means of contacting you. Thus, if you’re not offering online chat, you are not meeting the expectations of your customer base. Worse, you may be costing yourself revenue, retention and positive business results in the process. While online chat should not replace your traditional phone support offerings, it should serve as an effective complement. Here are some powerful reasons why online chat is good for your customers and your business:

oneIt improves the customer experience: Wait times for online chat are considerably less than for phone calls. In addition, online chat can often be accessed with the press of a button while phone calls require dialing a 1-800 number and navigating through a maze of numbers and options.

twoIt makes a better first impression: Customers hate waiting on the phone. Online chat ensures they don’t have to by enabling rapid contact with customer service specialists. There are no hold times, dropped calls or frustrating transfers to deal with.

threeIt enhances the quality and reliability of communication: Phone calls are great for handling simple requests. However, when complex queries occur, problems can arise. Level 1 phone representatives often have to transfer complex issues up the ladder, which requires the customer to input his or her details and your agents to ask the same questions over and over again – a process that can be considerably frustrating and hurt your satisfaction scores. On the other hand, online chat allows multiple agents to participate in a single conversation, there is a written record of the issue, and everything can be quickly reviewed in order to offer the fastest resolution.

fourYour agents can handle more customers: While phone representatives can only engage in one phone call at a time, skilled online agents can engage in several chats at once. This is a win-win for your customers and your business; they enjoy reduced wait times while you lower your expenses by reducing costs-per-interaction, decreasing phone costs and eliminating the need to hire and train additional agents.

fiveIt’s a great way to drive: Many customers are uncomfortable purchasing goods or services over the phone. However, they have no such reservations with shopping online. After effectively resolving a customer’s initial inquiry, chat agents are in the perfect position to recommend related products and offerings. They can guide the customer to a specific link on your website or make a direct sale via chat.

Your Customers Want It

sixYour customers want it: This is, perhaps, the most important reason of all for implementing online chat. According to eDigital’s Customer Service Benchmark Survey, live chat has the highest satisfaction level of any customer service channel – 73 percent. This far exceeded email (61 percent) and phone (44 percent) satisfaction ratings. Two-thirds of respondents indicated that they like live chat because it provides quick answers to questions while roughly one-half believe that it is the most efficient communication method.

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