Eight Advantages of Customer Service Chat and How You Can Make Full Use of it

In the digital age, customer behavior has changed rapidly, and companies have been scrambling to keep up. The channels that customers use to reach out to brands are no longer the same. From conventional mediums like phone and email, there’s been a shift to channels such as social media that offers public accountability and chat that offers instant assistance. 

So, what is it about modern support channels like chat that make it so popular in customer service? The reason chat has been a unique disruptor in the customer support space is that there are multiple advantages offered to customers and customer support agents, alike. In this article, we’ll take a look at the advantages that come with extending your customer service to the chat channel and also discuss some tips that can help you make full use of it. 

Advantages of using chat for your customers

#1  Offer support on the most preferred channel

In the recent past, messaging has gained more popularity over channels such as email or phone among customers. In fact, a survey conducted revealed that for 41% of consumers, live chat is the preferred channel for contacting support teams while 32% prefer phone and 23% prefer email. 

Being easily accessible is a precursor to delivering a good experience and improving customer satisfaction. It’s important to be available on your customers’ channel of choice. Businesses have already started including chat in the list of channels they support and 71% of businesses believe online chat would come on top by 2021

Here are different ways in which brands offer support on the chat channel:

Website support: Since your customers are likely to first look up your website in order to gather your contact details, you can embed a chat widget on your website to make it convenient for your customers to reach out to you. Including a chat widget on a website has improved the customer experience so much that more than 30% of customers now expect live chat on your website

In-app support: Having in-app support is the best way to ensure that you’re providing a seamless experience to your customers. When your customers can reach out to you via the app they’re using, you’re saving them the trouble of going to your website to create a ticket. For instance, the food delivery app Swiggy knew that customers interacted solely with the app and they would find it inconvenient to raise issues via email or website. That’s why their entire customer support process – from tracking orders, to raising tickets, to final resolution – happens within the app. 

Messaging apps: With the launch of messaging apps like Apple Business Chat, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and WeChat, it also makes sense to offer support on any of these apps. In fact, the top 3pps WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and WeChat combine together more than 4 billion active monthly users. By integrating with your support software with a messaging tool (or tools) you can get a 360-degree view of your customers and deliver a unified experience. 

#2 Resolve issues faster

Customers today no longer have the time or patience to go through a lengthy waiting time for a response, whether on-call or on email. This is why customers prefer the chat solution over other support channels. With chat, there’s no wait-time involved and issues can be resolved at a faster pace when compared to other channels. In fact, 79% of consumers prefer live chat because they offer instant responses

Since chat conversations happen in real-time, customers can just reach out, type their issue and get an instant resolution. On the other hand, even though support over the phone also technically happens in real-time, a customer has to wait until the call is assigned to an agent. 

The other perceived similarity between a call center and a live chat contact center is that both require human agents to attend to customer requests. However, where a call center requires the customer to stay on the line and wait for an agent to get free, chat allows for asynchronous messaging. Asynchronous messaging is a communication system that does not require an immediate back-and-forth conversation. The customer can raise a question or request as they need to (even outside of office hours), and the agent on the other end will have the context of the issue and can continue to assist the customer when they are back to the office.  

Pro tip: In cases of complex cases, when you aren’t able to convey what you’re saying effectively to the customer, you can also quickly share your screen and help them understand the solution better. As an agent, doing this can help you can travel the extra mile to provide better experiences with minimal effort.  

#3 Offer assistance in multiple languages

If your customer base is spread across the world, then providing support in local languages helps in offering a more personalized experience and improving customer satisfaction. However, employing a team of linguists capable of communicating with each customer in a different language might not be possible. 

On the other hand, with chat software, you can localize your tool’s interface into the language of your customer’s choice. Plus, you can translate your knowledge base into different languages and offer localized self-help too. This is an effortless and cost-effective way of providing a better customer experience. 

#4 Make it easy for your customers to reach you

Oftentimes, when customers want to reach out to you, they have to go the long way around to gather your details from your website and then contact you. However, when you offer support on chat, you can embed your chat widget’s code on any and all pages on your website. This reduces friction and ensures that you help you deliver consistent customer support experience across the website. You can further improve this by proactively reaching out with unique nudges based on the page they are visiting.

Also, by embedding your chat widget in your mobile app, your customers can get assistance when they run into a problem without exiting the app. 

Advantages of using chat for your customer support team

#5 Handle multiple conversations in one go

Spending time delivering a personalized experience to a single customer is a great thing to do. What’s even better is handling multiple conversations at once with the same degree of personalization. With chat, agents can engage with 3-4 customers at a time. This goes a long way in improving your team’s efficiency and productivity.

While this can be achieved on email too, the cognitive load of switching between conversations is heavier since it takes more time for an agent to gather context about the conversation. Also, when you’re speaking to a customer over the phone, you spend your entire attention and energy on having a single 1-1 conversation with the customer. 

Pro tip: Assigning the tickets to agents based on their expertise will help your team stay at their productive best. With IntelliAssign, you can automatically route tickets to agents who are most skilled in handling them. This way, agents can help customers with issues that they are best equipped at solving in one go, and customers can get better experiences too. 

#6 Be more proactive with providing assistance

To keep up with customer demands, brands are going out of their way to deliver great customer experiences. However, the secret to delighting customers lies in being proactive. 

A proactive approach to customer service involves predicting customer issues beforehand and offering a solution. For instance, Amazon sends its customers periodic updates when there are shipping delays. By informing the customer in advance, Amazon is preventing the customer from getting frustrated and in turn, having a bad experience. 

On chat, providing proactive support can be as easy as creating different buckets for chat threads. Each bucket can represent a common issue that your customers might face. Here’s an image of a company being proactive by having different buckets for billing related questions, scheduling demos, and more. 

Through these buckets, you can also automatically route tickets to relevant teams or agents. This way, customers aren’t rerouted and can get a solution effortlessly as opposed to repeating their issues over and over again.

#7 Boost self-service with your messenger 

Most customers today prefer finding answers on their own. So, customers tend to reach out to you only they aren’t able to find relevant FAQs that can help them or when their issue is too complex and requires human assistance. 

To make your self-service more accessible to your customers, you can create a knowledge base with FAQs and help-guides and embed it in your chat-widget. So when customers hit your chat widget to reach out to you and see the commonly asked questions, the chances of them finding the answer to basic how-to questions are higher. 

So bringing your knowledge base and messaging experience together, you can increase chat deflection and free your team’s time to take on more challenging questions.

#8 Scale your support effortlessly

As your business expands, you might have to grow your team in order to keep up with the growing demands of your customers. An effortless way of scaling your support team is by leveraging chat as a support channel. Here’s how:

– Agents can multitask and handle multiple conversations in parallel. Instant resolutions offered on chat is an easy way to ensure that your customer satisfaction is at an all-time high.

– Using chat as a channel of support can also keep costs in check since agents have the bandwidth to take on more at conversations at once as opposed to spending 1-1 attention over the phone. 

– With a growing customer base, the volume of customer conversations that come in also increases. In such cases, keeping support personalized might be challenging. However, with intelligent routing, you can route the right tickets with the right agents.   

Bonus point: Get assistance from a support sidekick

Chatbots go a long way in improving both the agent and customer experience. They play great assistants to support agents by taking on basic questions that customers might have and free up agents’ time to help them focus on issues that are more complex. In fact, nearly 27% of live chat scenarios in 2018 were handled by chatbots from start to finish, without the need for an agent.

On the other hand, 51% of consumers in a survey saying that they expect a business to be available 24/7 for support. Chatbots offer instant support round-the-clock by pulling out relevant resources from your knowledge base. In case the customer isn’t satisfied with the solution presented by the chatbot, he or she can further raise the issue and get assistance from a human agent. Chatbots allow for a graceful handover since the agent handing the ticket already has full context about the issue. 

Summing up

Chat has become an integral part of customer service strategies today. So, if you haven’t incorporated chat in your strategy today, it’s high time you join the wagon. Start here by signing up for a free trial of Freshchat! 

If we missed an advantage, you can add it in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you! 

Cover image illustration by Kalaimaran Jeyagandhi