Customer service is the new marketing.
If you’re in doubt, a 2011 American Express survey cited in this infographic from Help Scout makes the assertion that seven in every 10 Americans were willing to spend more with a company that provides excellent customer service. This study also shares that three in every five Americans, which is 59% of the population, were willing to try a new company or brand for a better customer service experience.
These are just two of the reasons why company executives continually strive to find ways to improve and differentiate their customer service initiatives.
Live chat for better customer service
The live chat feature is one additional feature that some companies have recently been tapping. Below are some of the reasons why you should, too:
“Several vendors estimate the cost of an average live chat session of about $ 1 compared to estimates of average telephone customer service calls ranging from $ 6 to $ 20,” says an article on Provide Support.
Installing a live chat option is easier and more affordable than a live call help desk service, as far as saving on phone and VoIP installation, maintenance, and usage costs are concerned. Also, agents can manage multiple chat windows and serve multiple customers at the same time, decreasing notorious and dreaded queue times.
In a sea of similar products and services, differentiation is key. Forrester’s study entitled “Making Proactive Chat Work” finds that 44% of online consumers say that one of the most important features of a website is its ability to service their queries, through a live person, when in the middle of an online purchase.
This turns the virtual site into something akin to a brick-and-mortar shop. Just like any customer can walk to a sales attendant for help when they need it, a website with live chat support extends real-time assistance to any customer in need of it, especially when they’re making online purchases, which effectively keeps your cart abandonment scores to a minimum, if not nil.
3. Real-time customer assistance
It pays to have customer support immediately available once needed. Luke Richards of Econsultancy has this to say: “Time is a key factor to chat fans. Of those who prefer live chat, 79% said they did so because they get their questions answered quickly and 46% agreed it was the most efficient communication method.”
Real-time capability is important for customers who prefer live chat on websites. Whenever potential customers have doubts or misconceptions, you will be there, immediately available to dispel reasons they may not buy your product or service. Nothing says awesome customer service than getting your customers’ problems solved right away.
4. Deeper customer relationships
Goodwill can mean something personal and emotional on an individual basis, but in business transactions, goodwill, as Investopedia states, is an intangible asset arising from the value of a brand name, good customer relationships, proprietary technology, patents, and a solid customer base.
In acquisitions, a company’s goodwill is looked at and projections are made regarding its possible financial value. Customer relationships may be difficult to price, but the good ones come with positive financial repercussions. Deepening customer relationships, therefore, is one way to increase business value.
Gregory Ciotti of Help Scout maintains that goodwill is built on emotional reactions. And that is where the focus should be – on guaranteeing customer satisfaction and memorability. While live chat conversations can undoubtedly catalyze your goodwill-boosting customer service initiatives, remember that a package that provides customers with fast, knowledgeable, and personalized service is the only package worth remembering and coming back to.
5. Improved customer service
Speedy problem solving is a consistent aim for most companies, but a surprising revelation can be gleaned from a KISSmetrics article about actual customer preferences. Supported by a Gallup study and RightNow’s 2010 Customer Experience Impact Report, the findings suggest that customers place a higher premium on quality than speed.
Speed is important, but it’s hardly what represents excellent customer service. According to a research report on live chat effectiveness by BoldChat, 20% of respondents find interactions memorable because of the knowledge and speed of a human agent. Speed has to be coupled with knowledge, going above and beyond what your customers expect.
Also, with live chat, you can have transcripts available right after a session to review for quality assurance and pinpoint areas for improvement.
6. Increased conversion
To get to a website, customers need to take some proactive steps. They can do a keyword search via the search engines, follow social media links, or type the site’s URL in their browser’s address bar. With this in mind, it’s easier to convert a visitor into a paying customer if he/she is already contemplating to make a purchase.
A study by Nancy Pekala quoted Insite Software’s Rachel Rodenborg who suggested three reasons why B2B marketers should seriously consider adding live chat support in their customer acquisition strategies, one of them being live chat boosts conversions by 20%.
Virgin Atlantic Airways, in a 2012 Internet Retailer article, reported conversion rates reaching up to 23% for consumers using its proactive live chat. John Giddings, Virgin Atlantic contact centers’ general manager, also noted that “customers who chat convert at nearly 3.5 times the rate of those who don’t.”
If you want to save on costs, get the most bang for the buck, differentiate your business early in a demanding market, and provide improved, personalized, real-time customer service that your customers can rave about, integrating live chat into your various marketing campaigns is a worthy goal.Digital & Social Articles on Business 2 Community