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Contrary to the current hype in the business world, live chat is not yet dead. It has given way to modern live chat software, but traditional live chat software is still dear to many businesses — despite being dull and terribly ineffective.
Some of these businesses simply aren’t aware that there is a better alternative to legacy live chat. But a big chunk of those who do know about it, are hesitant to embrace the new technology because they’re content with the old one. By keeping the old and ignoring the new, they lose out on huge opportunities to generate leads, improve website engagement, and boost sales.
Their collective reluctance to move to a better platform is reminiscent of how Kodak ignored to cash on the digital disruption in imaging technology. That costly mistake brought down the photography behemoth to its knees and led the company to bankruptcy.
If your business is still using an outdated live chat software limited to customer support, this post will give you something to chew on. You would want to rethink your investment and trade up your existing live chat support for a modern solution that offers cohesive lead generation opportunities, instant support, and increased customer retention.
Here are the top 5 reasons why live chat is obsolete:
1. Live Chat is Broken
Live chat is session-based and fragmented. In many ways, it resembles the primitive era of customer support that took place over analog phone calls. Your website visitors have to identify themselves, specify their query, and go around in circles whenever they interact with a live chat agent. Once they close or hang up the chat window, the conversation becomes a forgotten history.
This works fine if it’s one-off chat support that your customers need, but it’s a frustrating experience for returning prospects. There’s no intelligence built in a traditional live chat tool for your agents to fetch relevant customer data such as names, the region they are calling from, their purchase history, the channel they are coming from, and so on. These are information that helps a support agent build immediate rapport with prospects and serve their needs better.Throwing a form to your website visitors for them to fill is an old lead generation trick that prospects rarely fall for these days. Click To Tweet
2. It’s Ugly
Most live chat software live up to their reputation of being a legacy software because of how outdated their user interface (UI) is. The UI is cluttered, clunky, and confusing not just for the agents who use the tool in the backend, but also for prospects. The business to consumer (B2C) market is already flocking to embrace modern messaging apps instead of archaic live chat tools because they know that their primary target audience – Millennials and Gen Z buyers – have no time to waste on archaic platforms.
Buyers, especially in the mobile realm, have the attention span inferior to a goldfish – a cue that website designers should consider when adding elements on a website. A live chat window that looks no better than the MS Notepad with Comic Sans font is an eyesore.
Contradict this with a modern messaging app that comes with an instant messaging-like interface that your prospects are used to every day. The app is so designed that customers can explore FAQs embedded in the chat window to find answers to their queries on their own. A simple yet visually appealing chat window is a win-win deal for both, your agents and your prospects.
3. Live Chat is Passive
In the realm of traditional live chat, potential buyers take the initiative to reach out to the support center in order to get their issues resolved. That’s still fine as long as there’s someone to handle their issues.
But what happens when there’s no one around? Prospects will most likely hang around your website for a bit before they drift apart to other corners of the online marketplace. It’s like the uncertain days of sending telegrams to your loved ones without a way to know if they received it, if they intend to reply, or if the letter never made it to their mailbox. You’re just waiting there, hoping to hear back, before you finally give up and move on with your life.
That’s not a very responsive way to make your leads happy especially if they want immediate answers to their pressing questions, like what’s the return policy on the pair of discounted Steve Madden stilettos a customer has added to her checkout cart.
A research by Forrester confirms that an estimated 44% of online shoppers vouch for proactive live chat support as one of the best features on a website. Compare this to a modern messaging tool that has bots to engage with customers, answer their basic questions, or point them in the right direction to find relevant answers.
Your business can also set up the tool to automatically display FAQs or other self-help portals to prospects for them to browse on their own instead of waiting for someone to come around.
4. It’s Impersonal
You don’t convert your leads into buyers by asking them to write an email or telling them to call the support desk when there’s no one to talk to them. And even if support agents man your chat helpdesk round the clock, they lack context to offer that human touch prospects crave for.
Wouldn’t it be better to have a system that allows them to talk to prospects on a personal level and build instant rapport? It helps to greet a buyer by name or pick up a chat from where a customer left off last time. It’s even better if buyers can share screenshots to explain their problems, or if agents can send a friendly GIF, or a fistbump emoji to make the conversation more empathetic.
Live chat fails to connect with customers personally; instead, it makes your website seem cold and uninterested.
5. Live Chat is Just Not Enough
A live chat software is effectively a customer support tool. Prospects hop on a website, click on the chat cloud, type their question, and get answered (if they are lucky). This mode of communication is disjointed, abrupt, and limiting.
Because a live chat software doesn’t seem to make a great impact on your business beyond support, it doesn’t stack up well in its ROI to the company. Your business uses it exclusively for support use cases, and they forget about the conversation as soon as they resolve an issue and close their chat windows. There are neither leads nor a feedback loop for other teams to learn from.
You can’t say the same thing about a modern messaging platform because it’s multi-purpose – it captures leads for your sales and marketing teams while helping with customer support. These teams can use the information to send emails or make cold calls, start outbound campaigns, and understand the audience needs better. It also integrates with CRM software and auto-populates the customers’ data into it, so that the sales team can pursue more leads and close more deals.An estimated 44% of online shoppers prefer proactive live chat support as one of the best features on a website, according to a Forrester research. Click To Tweet
Step Up to a Better Platform
Live chat software might not be dead yet, but it’s heading towards a slow and painful death because of how incompetent it is in today’s customer-centric business environment. Just like how online chat support replaced the lethargic handling of customer support through phone calls, a more conversational, dynamic, and future-ready tool is quickly replacing live chat.
Automated, AI-powered tools are offsetting legacy software across industry verticals, and live chat software is not an exception. Unlike a demanding legacy software, modern messaging apps are self-driven and don’t demand nanny work.
Best of all – it’s a tool that can help your marketing team generate valid leads and for the sales and support teams to cash on important data points. Sign up with Freshchat for a free product walkthrough to see how your business can unlock great potential by embracing a modern messaging platform.
Cover illustration and image by Karthikeyan Ganesh